Vermont's Official Legislation On The 'Optimal' Way To Eat Apple Pie

Vermont is known for a number of things in the food world. It's the state that gave us Ben & Jerry's ice cream. World Atlas includes Vermont in the top ten cheese-producing states in the nation and given that three of Vermont Creamery's cheeses won gold medals at 2022's World Cheese Awards, that cheese is officially world-class. On top of all this cheese production, every year, Vermont farmers produce roughly 1,000,000 bushels of apples, according to the Vermont Tree Fruit Growers Association. This is all to say that Vermont takes its food pretty seriously; so seriously, in fact, that it's even legislated how you eat some of its most notable foods alongside apple pie.

Apple pie legislation might sound like one of those downright puzzling laws that are said to still be on the books — according to Contact Senators, for example, it's illegal to tie a giraffe to a lampost in Vermont — but in fact, these stories are usually severely stretching the truth or just completely false. According to Law Haha, that tall tale probably comes from a law that did make it illegal to tie any animal to a light post in Vermont, which technically includes giraffes (and bears, storks, komodo dragons, wombats, and all manner of other animals) but doesn't actually name them. 

Vermont legislators signing a bill to address three of the state's most important food industries — apples, ice cream, and cheese — might sound like one of those internet tall tales, but in 1999, that's precisely what legislators did.

In 1999, Vermont declared the official state pie and state fruit

In February of 1999, House Bill 302 was introduced by Edward Paquin proposing that the apple pie be declared the official pie of Vermont and the apple be declared the official fruit, according to The Vermont Legislative Bill Tracking System. Before the bill was approved by both legislative bodies and signed into law by the governor, language was added specifying the way in which apple pie should be served in Vermont.

House Bill 302, § 512 reads, "The state pie shall be apple pie." In Section 2, the lawmakers continued, specifying that people serving apple pie in Vermont should make "a good faith effort" to offer the pie with at least one of the following accompaniments: milk, cheddar cheese, or vanilla ice cream. And Vermont isn't playing around; legislators were specific in their demands, stipulating the milk should be cold, the cheese must weigh at least half an ounce, and that it should be a large scoop of ice cream. 

While the practice of serving apple pie with cheese has long been fraught with adamant advocates and vocal critics, Vermont has settled the matter, at least within the confines of the state. Tasting Table has been unable to determine whether a pastry police division has been established to enforce the serving requirements, though New England Today does cite the traditional saying from the area: "Apple pie without cheese is like a kiss without the squeeze!"