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Food with an international flair at Craftsbury General Store - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Food with an international flair at Craftsbury General Store

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CRAFTSBURY, Vt. -

Inside the Craftsbury General Store on a weekday afternoon, you can find Emily Maclure behind the counter serving pizza, sandwiches and other lunch to customers. The Orleans native was living in Los Angeles a few years ago when she says she knew she had to come home.

"Just kind-of waiting for the right thing to come along, and this store came on the market and I'd kind-of fallen in love with Craftsbury," she says.

So she moved back to Vermont in 2012 and dove into the business.

"Didn't have a background in owning a store, so I really just had to turn to the public to get a sense of what they wanted," she says.

What they wanted, she says, was to keep their dollars local. She says a recent survey done by the town showed about 70 percent of people felt supporting the local food movement was important. But she also knew the favorite brand names had to stay.

"So I use the example we have Slim Jims next to kale chips a lot -- I think we have a balance of stuff that we all crave once in a while and the stuff that's really good for you and supports our local economy," she says.

But one of their specialties is preparing local ingredients with international flavor at their Wednesday night Globe-Trotting dinners that people can take home to try.

"That was -- I like to call it accidental genius," she says.

It's an idea that customers have gobbled up.

"The following right off the bat, was like 50 dinners our first week. And that was like two and a half years ago -- we launched that April 2013," she says.

Just walking in the store you can see just how far around the world their dinners have gone. For example, a map shows pinpoints for every single place where they've featured new cuisine.

That new cuisine is a fun challenge each week for chef Kit Basom. She says, it keeps her job fresh.

"Having the opportunity to do something really different -- as a chef, that's really exciting," she says.

And she says the community is full of adventurous diners, eager to try something new.

"We have a really amazing dialogue with the community I think. We are constantly getting feedback from the folks who come in here, and that's so important to us," she says.

Their dual roles as shop and community gathering space, Maclure says, is what makes country stores so essential.

"It's the kind of environment that I want to walk into where everybody knows your name and you're greeted with a smile and the food is delicious," she says. "You need to be able to run down and find a loaf of bread, but you also need to be able to find out what time the town meeting is that night or who won the basketball game."

The changes aren't done yet. Right now, they're planning to renovate their front porch to make it an even better spot for people to have a seat, relax and share the talk of the town.

The Wednesday Globe-Trotting dinners cost $11, and their website is usually updated with the featured dish.

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