Be Sure To Read The Menu Before Ordering A Vermonter Sandwich

For a small state, Vermont is well-known for many things: Maple syrup, skiing, Ben & Jerry's ice cream, and beautiful fall colors. It's also home to a lesser-known sandwich reflective of the state's culinary resources, affectionately called the Vermonter. Perhaps one of the most notable attributes of the Vermonter is how greatly it varies between restaurants. Some versions include ham, while others are stacked with turkey (or both). Perhaps the reason the Vermonter is so eclectic is that the sandwich is a relatively new invention, likely first crafted by a man named Jason Maroney, who owned the restaurant Sweetwaters American Bistro in Burlington, Vermont, which has since closed, according to The Takeout

Often, the Vermonter has some maple syrup element, such as maple mustard, which can be made by combining maple syrup and grainy or brown mustard, according to the Boston Globe. A recipe from Butternut Mountain Farm contains more than one element of maple with maple white bread, maple herb compound, maple quick pickled red onions, and oven-roasted maple turkey. 

However, not even maple is a make-or-break component of a Vermonter. For example, there is no maple in sight on Kir's Cuisine sandwich. And while mustard is a frequently applied condiment for this hearty sandwich, Spoon University opts to simply go with 2 teaspoons of golden maple syrup. Despite all of these variations, there is one ingredient that is an essential part of Vermonter, and it's a fruit commonly found throughout the state.

Crisp apple slices

To make sure you are eating a true Vermonter sandwich and not simply a grilled cheese with ham, it needs to have apple slices. A theory about why apples were first incorporated into the Vermonter is that Maroney wanted to use a Vermont product that was not well represented in the state's culinary scene, reports The Takeout. And apples are plentiful in the Green Mountain State. Each year, the New England state produces 1 million bushels (equivalent to about 40 million pounds) of apples in more than 150 varieties, per Vermont Tree Fruit Growers Association

Most frequently, a Vermonter will feature a slightly tart apple, such as the Granny Smith in Spoon University's take on the sandwich. Both The Boston Globe and the Butternut Mountain Farm recipes call simply for thinly sliced tart apples. Kir's Cuisine doubles down on the taste of apples in its Vermonter with apple slices, as well as apple butter spread on the bread. If a softer texture is preferred, Spoon University recommends cooking the apple slices in butter, maple syrup, and cinnamon.

To make it a meal, consider drinking a glass of fresh Vermont apple cider with the Vermonter and finish with a scoop of Ben and & Jerry's ice cream.