Some of the best pie in Vermont


It’s been a tradition for years: climb Mount Philo then stop by the big red pizza barn and grab a Growler. You can’t miss it along route 7, about 10 minutes on the way back to Burlington.

Folino’s and Fiddlehead – “Pizza and Beer –” declares the large wood placard on their shared building. It’s here you realize the two were meant for each other.

This time there are four of us spitting two small (12 inch) pies­­ – four modest slices each. As soon as I bite into the Surf and Turf­– scallops, bacon, lemon zest, and three cheeses on olive oil– a zinging reminder is sent from my taste buds to my brain: This. Is. So. Good.

Folino’s has my endorsement as some of the best pizza in Vermont. You’ll especially enjoy it if you’re into the wood-fired style of cooking. Their pizza has a light, fluffy crust that slightly chars with oven flavor.

The scallops are thinly sliced and tender; each ingredient tastes fresh as if it were shipped daily. The saltiness of the bacon blends with the slight lemon tang perfectly. I imagine the menu creator(s) trying various versions of the pie before deciding on perfect proportions.

Folino’s will remind you that pizza can be art; that the term “flavor explosion” shouldn’t mean one ingredient overpowering others, but a delicate balance between complementing flavors.

For our second pie we choose Prosciutto Di Parma, the “di Parma” denoting the high quality of the ham. According to their menu: fresh bufala mozzarella, prosciutto di Parma, basil, and a suggested add-on– artichokes. The ingredients lay on a sweet, red sauce. By the time we’re digging in we already have a Growler of Fiddlehead I.P.A. at our table. This is the busiest I’ve seen Folino’s and we don’t wait more than 20 minutes for our food.

The thinly sliced prosciutto is salty and light, the basil and satisfying tomato base reminds me what pizza should taste like. The artichokes are cut small and their texture is butter. With the basil they add a slight aromatic, bitter flavor that goes well with the layer of melted mozzarella.

The entire experience is enjoyable, from the banter of others around dinnertime, to the wide windows letting in evening sun that glows atop the wooden tables.

Along the tall ceilings are dim lighting fixtures; closer to the roof are large, shiny tube-like vents. They are clean and industrial, yet easy to ignore. I’m appropriately reminded that Folino’s shares the building with a brewery.

If you haven’t yet tasted Fiddlehead I.P.A., do yourself the favor. It too is exceptional, with its golden allure, crisp hops and citrus undertones. They offer a couple other beers too.

The entire building has a comfortable feeling that calls customers to kick back, relax and get buzzed because this is where the best stuff is made. It calls tourists and locals alike.

Unique to Folino’s is what decorates their walls. The one large television has a muted, live feed of their sponsored water project. It shows a little town in Uganda. Mothers, fathers and children pump the well. I’m reminded of another time I went when intimate portrait photos of Ugandan children hung from wire along the walls.

This serves as a reminder to not take for granted the food and drink in front of you.
It’s almost a shame to watch the slices disappear. If there is one complaint, I’m still a bit hungry. However, maybe my tummy is a larger pizza vacuum, as two of us leave saying we could eat more, and two of us leave full. We are all happy and thankful for the Fiddlehead buzz.

Despite being attached to a brewery, Folino’s is BYOB, so feel free to bring in your own six-pack. They offer complimentary grab-your-own frosted glasses. They serve pies daily from 12 p.m. to 9 p.m. and offer to first-come first-serve seating. Folino’s is located in Shelburne on 6305 Shelburne Road.