Maine has some of the most punishing winters in the country, with bitter sub-zero temperatures, freezing gales and Nor’Easters that can dump mountains of snow over a matter of days. But Mainers are famously proud of their heartiness and resilience, even defiance, against the frigid winter months. So we asked two of our favorite Maine chefs—both of whom rely on fresh and foraged ingredients in their restaurants—how they survive the long winter. Here, they reveal the best ingredients they find under the snow.
At Vinland, chef David Levi famously only uses ingredients found in Maine—not even olive oil or black pepper or cane sugar. “Maple sugar and syrup, along with honey, are our staple sugars,” says Levi. He uses maple sap and syrups in desserts, cures and cocktails, like the bourbon-y Catmint Julep.
- Searching for Pasta in the Heart of Sicily
- Ali Larter’s Guide to Eating and Drinking in Maine
- Best Recipes for Winter Produce
Justin Walker, executive chef at Earth in Kennebunkport, digs under the snow to find this versatile, menthol-flavored herb. “One of the things that we can still get in the winter are teaberry leaves," he says. "If you know where they are, you can rustle down and they’re fine frozen. The leaves are very tobacco-y, but you can steep them and make great ice cream with them or you can use them to roast fish with.”