Archive for the ‘Food & Wine’ Category
Friday, November 15th, 2013
With the hectic summer season now over, the tasting room crowds have thinned but the wineries are still open in Leelanau County. Traverse City Tours is offering “buy-one-get-one-free” fall and winter wine tours on Sundays through December.
If you’re looking to get some holiday shopping done or maybe just a fun fall and winter activity with friends, check out the details of this great deal.
[Photo credit: LPWines]
When it comes to friendliness, service and knowledge of area wines, few area tour companies get more excellent ratings than Traverse City Tours. But this season, the company also gets the nod for the best wine-tour deal of the year.
“From Sundays now until December, Leelanau County wine tours leave from the Holiday Inn in Traverse City at noon,” says Traverse City Tour’s Kathleen McAndrew. “We visit four to six wineries and return the group around 4 pm. Normal cost for the trip is $50 per person, but with this special buy-one-get-one-free deal, half the people in the group ride free.”
In addition to a safe and comfortable ride in a totally clean and detailed shuttle van, every Traverse City Tour offers snacks in all of the vehicles plus free pictures of your group that are emailed to you within a few days after your tour.
Looking for a unique holiday gift idea? Traverse City Tours is also now offering gift certificates for 2014. Contact Kathleen McAndrew at 231.620.8687 for more information and to book your reservation.
Sunday, October 13th, 2013
The season of pumpkins and decorative gourds is here, and right now there’s not a farm stand in Leelanau County that isn’t piled high with them. But what can you do with a pumpkin besides carving a goofy face on the thing? Glad you asked.
From unique party games to creative dinner ideas, here are some great ideas for some pumpkin inspired fun this Halloween season.
“Find the roundest pumpkin you can and remove the stem,” say the folks over at Organic Authority, “and then use it in place of the ball in a kiddie bowling set at your Halloween party for kids or adults.” For pins, use empty two-liter pop bottles painted orange and black with ghosts and other spooky designs.
Use the Guts
The stringy innards of a pumpkin make great stock that can be added to soups and casseroles, according to an article by Earth911 writer Mary Mazzoni. After you separate the seeds from the guts, says Mazzoni, place your guts in a pot filled with water and boil. After that, you can add celery, onions, and pieces of carrot. Treat like and other vegetable stock by boiling at least 30 minutes, or until the water begins to change color. Strain and reserve the broth or freeze for later use.
A small pumpkin with its innards removed, lightly coat with oil, season with salt and pepper and baked for 30 to 60 minutes can help turn an ordinary stew into a memorable fall meal. While any stew will present beautifully in baked pumpkin bowl, a cold autumn day really calls for something thick and hearty like this recipe for “autumn beef stew in a pumpkin” over at CookWomanFood.
Organic Authority offers yet another pumpkin inspired kid’s game for your next Halloween party- the pumpkin piñata. What they don’t tell you is how tricky the thing can be to hang after you carve a hole through the back, clean out the insides and fill it with candy. At this point, you’ll need a little creativity (and a little bit of cordage or twine). To stand up to the assault of a couple of kids with baseball bats, use the cordage to tie the pumpkin up like a Christmas package. You know how the game is played from there.
Sunday, October 13th, 2013
What do antique pop bottles and ancient apples have in common? If you think absolutely nothing, then you’ve clearly never been to Northport to check out one of the coolest roadside attractions in Leelanau County.
With over 220 varieties of heirloom apples (you can buy) and the world’s largest collection of antique bottles (you can stand and be amazed at), Kilcherman’s is a farm market like no other. But don’t take our word for it. Check out this roundup of recent news stories from throughout the region along with a video of John and Phyllis Klicherman dishing about apples on local TV 7&4.
Visitors are always stunned by the John Kilcherman’s collection of antique bottles (somewhere over 10,000) writes Traverse City Record-Eagle reporter Nathan Payne earlier this month. But make no mistake: most of the happy customers at Kilcherman’s Christmas Cove Farm are there for something else – the apples.
Visitors come from overseas, from Canada, downstate, and just down the road. They come for the mindboggling variety of apples with names that harken back to the very distant past: Golden Russets, Orange Pippins, Spitzenbergs, and Grimes Golden.
There are plenty of Gala, Golden Delicious and Honeycrisp to go around. But the Kilchermans’ specialty is growing the kind of apples once enjoyed by emperors, kings, early American pioneers, and our nation’s forefathers hundreds of years ago. There’s even one variety, the Lady apple, that was around back in the days of Christ.
Today, Kilcherman’s Christmas Cove Farm is a destination for bakers, chefs and everyday apple lovers looking for something with a truly unique taste. And the farm’s fame is spreading, writes Ross Boissoneau in the October 2013 issue of the Traverse magazine, thanks to a surging local food movement that holds up as trending hot heirloom varieties of fruits and vegetables.
In the current issue of Traverse (available now on area newsstands), Boissoneau writes about the history of the Kilcherman’s turned what was a dilapidated Leelanau County farmstead into the apple lover’s Eden it is today. And, of course, he also talks about John’s massive bottle collection. The story features some great photos and it worth the read.
The Kilcherman’s were also recently featured live on TV 7 &4. In the four-minute segment that you can check out here, John and Phyllis Kilcherman talk about the amazing variety (some 1,400 different species) of apples in the world. Kilcherman’s farm grows roughly 220 different varieties, and they highlight some of their favorites – talking about the unique tastes and history of each – in this fun little clip.
Kilcherman’s Christmas Cove Farm is open now for the 2013 apple season. Hours are 10:00 am – 5:00pm daily. Check out their website for other news stories, directions, and – of you can’t squeeze a visit in the year – online purchases of heirloom apple gift boxes that offer a sampler of their best heritage apples (and their histories) in a decorative box.
Saturday, September 28th, 2013
Fall colors and Leelanau County go together like great art and wine. With that in mind, don’t miss one of the coolest fall hoorahs in Leelanau County – the annual wine and art walk is happening again in Sutton’s Bay on October 18th.
Here’s the scoop on this one night event offering some great deals for local art lovers and a chance to win a $250 village-wide shopping spree.
Visit participating shops, meet award-winning local artists and sample Leelanau County wines during 7th Annual Suttons Bay Artwalk.
This year, the Suttons Bay Chamber of Commerce is providing “artwalkers” with a free guide for all participating galleries and businesses. Not only does this special handout include the names of the participating merchants along the route (including the artist they are hosting and a winery, if they so choose to sponsor one), it will also serve as your ticket to a special random drawing for a really cool prize – a $250.00 Suttons Bay shopping spree. Make sure to pick up your copy when the artwalk kicks off on Friday, October 18th from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
For more information, check out the events page of the Suttons Bay Chamber of Commerce.
Monday, July 8th, 2013
Sharing a little Northern Michigan flavor used to mean buying a pound of fudge to share with family and friends. Nowadays, the region is known as a culinary epicenter of specialty delights you can’t find anywhere else.
From topnotch distilleries to artisan cheese and bread, Leelanau County has entered a bold, new age of awesome food. Here’s a shortlist of the most unique specialty items you might not want to share but you just have to try.
Northern Latitudes Distillery
Lake Leelanau, MI
Northern Latitudes Distillery began offering hand-crafted vodkas, whiskeys, gin and limoncello liquors just this year from their tasting room facility along M-204, between Suttons Bay and Leland. Owners Mark and Mandy Moseler use local ingredients whenever possible (their signature Ice Dunes Vodka, for instance, is made from 100-percent Michigan grains). The result is a line of spirits as tasty, fresh and unique as the super cool and creative labels that adorn each bottle.
Suttons Bay, MI
One of the most unique stops on the Leelanau Wine Trail, Tandem Ciders is owned by Dan Young (a former brewer and restaurateur) and his wife, plant biologist, Nikki Rothwell. Oak-barrel aged, Tandem Ciders are made with locally grown Michigan apples and are available on tap, in bottles and growlers at their Sutton’s Bay tasting room.
Suttons Bay, MI
John and Anne Hoyt are the cheesemakers and the owners of Leelanau Cheese. Together with their staff they produce award-winning traditional European-sty cheeses from pure, fresh, local cow’s milk, adding no color or preservatives.
They specialize in crafting varieties of Raclette cheese and French-style Fromage Blanc cheese spread. Leelanau Cheese is made three to four times per week at the creamery visible through large windows in the Black Star Farms wine tasting room, where you can actually watch the cheesemakers at work.
Stone House Bread
Made with the finest organic flour, sea salt and well water, Stone House Bread is Northern Michigan’s best known artisan bread company. Founded in 1995, Stone House’s classic, crusty loaves are hand-formed, allowed to rise slowly, and baked in steam-injected German ovens. They can be found on shelves of grocery and specialty food stores, on restaurant tables throughout Northwest Michigan and, of course, at their flagship store in Leland along M-22.
Leelanau Peninsula Maple Sugar Bush
For the last 30 years, Allen and Margo Ammons have watched their maple syrup-making hobby grow into a fulltime business that involves the annual tapping of some 850 trees in Northport, Michigan. Their company, Leelanau Peninsula Maple Sugar Bush, produces fresh maple syrup sold in half pints, pints, quarts, half gallons and gallons. Found at grocery stores and farmer’s markets throughout the region, the Ammons’ complete line of Michigan-made maple syrup products include maple sugar to put in coffee, use in baking, or just eat plain.
Saturday, May 25th, 2013
Great local beer, wine and the region’s best sidewalk are shows – June means a long list of things to do in and around the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.
If you’re looking for a can’t miss good time, check out this shortlist of the area’s most fun, friendly and talked-about events to kickoff this summer.
Leland Wine and Food Festival
The Leland Wine & Food Festival is a Northern Michigan tradition held every year on the second Saturday in June from Noon until 6pm.
Come and enjoy a day near the Leland Harbor and Leland’s historic Fishtown, tasting wines from 16 local wineries and tasting the specialties from over a dozen local restaurants and vendors.
Listen to live music in the park all day and enjoy the beautiful views of Lake Michigan and the Manitou Islands. Admission is $15 and includes an etched wine glass and two tokens for wine tasting. Additional wine tasting tokens are available for $2. Children under 10 are free and non-drinker admission is only $10.
Glen Arbor BBQ & Brew Fest
June 15th and 16th
The day begins with a 5k or half-marathon through Glen Arbor and ends with a celebration of grilled eats and local beers in the Sleeping Bear Dunes town of Glen Arbor. On June 15th, from 2pm to 6pm, the annual BBQ & Brew Festival will be taking place on the corner of M-22 and Lake Street. Enjoy the finest brews and food from area restaurants. $15 per person admission includes four tickets.
On Sunday, June 16th from Noon to 3pm, the festival hosts vintage car enthusiasts and beer lovers in an afternoon party with hot dogs, popcorn, cotton candy and a variety of vendors under the tent plus throughout downtown Glen Arbor. Admission is free.
Sutton’s Bay Summer Solstice Art/Wine Walk
From 5pm to 8pm, downtown Sutton’s Bay will host its annual Art and Wine Walk. Meet award-winning local artists, sample Leelanau County wines and enter to win a $250.00 village shopping spree.
Traverse City Wine and Art Festival
The Traverse City Wine & Art Festival drew over 4,000 people to the Village at Grand Traverse Commons in 2012 to celebrate the wine, food and culture of Michigan’s wine costs. The 5th annual Traverse City Wine & Art Festival returns on Saturday, June 22, as the wineries of the Leelanau Peninsula, Old Mission Peninsula, Traverse City and Benzie host a selection of restaurants, regional artists and a stellar lineup of music and performance.
The 2013 headlining music act is Sixto Diaz Rodriguez (aka Rodriguez), a Detroit-born singer-songwriter whose story is told in the film Searching for Sugar Man. Despite a lack of critical acclaim in the U.S., Rodriguez unknowingly became a star in South Africa. The film tells the story of how South African fans tracked him down in Detroit. It played at the 2012 Traverse City Film Festival and has won awards across the country and world.
To kick off the weekend, festival organizers are reminding visitors to get their tickets early for the “Winemakers Party” happening on Friday, June 21st.
National Cherry Festival
June 29th through July 6th
The Grand Traverse region, known for its world-record tart cherry harvest, bursts with visitors eager to savor the flavor of cherries tucked into everything imaginable. Each day festival goers find cherry delights, along with parades, family and kids events and entertainment. In all, there are more than 150 events along the shores of Lake Michigan’s Grand Traverse Bay. The festival has been named in USA Today’s Top 10 Festivals for several years running.
Headlining music guests this season include Styx (June 29th) and Foreigner (July 1st). Also new this year is a nighttime air show (June 27th at 10:30pm). For complete schedule and ticket information, check out the festival website.
Sunday, April 7th, 2013
What do wine, waterfalls and asparagus have in common? Each is a central theme to three of the coolest warm-weather traditions happening around the Sleeping Bear Dunes.
It’s not too early to get a jumpstart on planning your spring calendar. This shortlist of the region’s best parties and most talked about events will get you rolling into summer.
Spring Sip & Savor — May 4th and 5th
As northern Michigan vineyards wake to the sun and warmth of May, the Leelanau Peninsula Vintners Association is inviting wine lovers to enjoy special wine and food pairings at each of the now 25 wineries surrounding the Sleeping Bear Dunes.
Tickets for the annual “Sip & Savor” wine tour are just $35 and include wine and food pairings at each winery, a commemorative glass, a $5 gift certificate that can be used at any LPVA winery and a $5 donation to a select local charity to be announced in April.
Discount lodging packages are also being provided by area providers:
The Homestead: Sip and Savor package includes two nights lodging May 3rd to May 5th; dinner at Nonna’s one evening; tickets to the Sip & Savor wine trail event; and a pass to the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Rates are from $94 per person, per night.
For added fun, Sip & Savor participants are encouraged to participate in the “Sip o’ de Mayo Hat Contest” for a chance to win prizes that many of the wineries will be offering. There’s also a fabulous grand prize of two nights lodging at The Homestead (subject to availability) and a pair of tickets to any LPVA weekend tour or the Traverse City Wine & Art Festival.
To get you tickets and to check out a complete list tour activities and special lodging packages, go to www.lpwines.com/spring.
Empire Asparagus Festival, May 17th, 18th, and 19th
Spring in the Sleeping Bear Dunes means lush green forests, sunny skies, morel mushroom hunting and the most ass-paragus kicking festivals in the North. Say what?
Listed as one of the World’s Weirdest Festivals by MSN Travel, the Empire Asparagus Festival kicks off with a dance and pig roast from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. at Art’s Tavern in Glen Arbor on May 17th. Admission is only $5. Grab a pint of Right Brain Brewery’s asparagus beer (or any local brew you choose) and enjoy a good time and the great music of local band, The Benzie Playboys.
Saturday starts bright and early in Empire with a 5k walk/run, followed by an asparagus poetry-writing competition, asparagus food and beer eats, asparagus recipe cook-off, and more.
For the most up-to-date information on this wacky rite of spring, check out the Empire Asparagus Festival on Facebook.
Here Comes the Sun Party, May 27th
Party on the deck overlooking a waterfall, right next door to historic Fishtown. For 25 years, The Cove restaurant in Leland, Michigan, has been the place locals go to officially welcome sunny skies and warm temperatures to northernMichigan. With great food, local brews, creative cocktails and live entertainment, the annual “Here Comes the Sun Party” kicks off on Memorial Day at 11 a.m
Saturday, April 6th, 2013
Not only the best place in Michigan to vacation, LeelanauCounty— home of the Sleeping Bear Dunes — is now ranked as the healthiest place in state to live, according to a recent study by the University of Wisconsin.
Find out where your home county falls on the list, along with what factors make Leelanau an Eden for health-minded people.
Wayne County ranked dead last while Leelanau was number one in an annual study by researchers at the University of Wisconsin.
According to the Detroit Free Press, the annual report ranks Michigan counties against each other based on six variables: mortality (length of life), morbidity (quality of life), health behaviors, clinical care, social and economic factors and physical environment.
While access to quality food and outdoor activities galore undoubtedly contributed to Leelanau taking the top slot, Universityof Wisconsin associate researcher Angela Russell told the Free Press that rankings were also driven by income and education levels.
“We know that communities with higher incomes and higher education levels are more likely to be healthier,” Russell said.
Click here to see where your county ranks along with a detailed, county-by-county breakdown of the numbers.
Saturday, January 12th, 2013
Last month, The Homestead announced an incredible new deal for families heading to northern Michigan this ski season — kids 17 and under ski and snowboard for FREE.
Check out the details and get the scoop on other local offers and promotions free for the taking this holiday season.
Kids Ski Free
The Pitch: No restrictions, no blackout dates, and no fine print lead up to savings that that could amount to what a family would pay for gas to drive here. The Homestead’s “kids 17 and under ski free” deal kicks off as soon as the snow flies.
How It Works: Families (including kids) must be registered guests at The Homestead; at least one parent must have purchased a same day, all day, lift ticket; proof of relationship must be presented.
Need to Know: Call 231.334.5100 for more information or to make your reservation.
The Pitch: Movie goers get a free small popcorn when attending any regularly priced movie on Tuesdays at the Traverse City State Theatre.
How It Works: The State Theatre is already known around town as having the cheapest concessions of any movie theatre in Traverse City. On average a soda and a small popcorn costs less than five dollars, except on Tuesdays when they give the latter away.
Need to Know: Check the online, State Theatre movie schedule for show times.
Sleeping Bear Dunes
Guided Snowshoe Hikes
The Pitch: Not only is snowshoeing easy, fun and good exercise, it’s also an activity that can be enjoyed by all ages. Ranger-led snowshoe hikes at the Sleeping Bear Dunes allow visitors an opportunity to look for signs of wildlife or evidence of ancient glaciers or to simply experience a winter wonderland.
How It Works: Hikes happen on Saturdays, from 1:00 to 3:00, every January and February. The National Lakeshore has a limited supply of snowshoes and provides them to visitors free of charge on designated tour days. Participants meet at the Visitor’s Center in Empire and only need to purchase a park entrance pass to join in the fun.
Need to Know: Space is limited, so call 231-326-5134, extension 328 for more details and to make your reservations.
The Pitch: The best burger deal in Glen Arbor is back this winter. Every Monday night is free burger night at Art’s Tavern.
How It Works: Free burger night happens at Art’s from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. every Monday. Not available over Christmas and the New Year holidays. Buy one burger and get the second one (amounting to the same of lesser value) free.
Need to Know: Call Art’s Tavern at 231.334.3754 for more information on “Burger Monday” as well as other weekly specials.
Tuesday, September 25th, 2012
Scenic M22, that increasingly famous highway known as The Gateway to the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, also happens to be the main road into Leelanau County’s award-winning wine country.
Come autumn, the fields and forests lining M22 are ablaze with fall color. The country is truly a “leaf peeper’s” paradise and right here’s where you can get the details on organized fall tours as well as links to maps and information on how you can go it alone.
As autumn vacation activities go, there’s nothing easier to undertake than a leaf tour. All you need is a place to stay and road with lots of rolling hills and vistas overlooking large tracts of forest ablaze in fall color.
If that road happens to wind through some of the best wine country in the United States, it’s all the better.
Leelanau County has just such a road. Michigan’s most scenic highway, M-22, has been the subject of numerous stories and fall commercial promotions like this YouTube photo montage put together by Pure Michigan.
Not only beautiful, M-22 is the road you mostly take to reach all of the 20 Leelanau Peninsula wineries, many of which are regarded as the best in the state.
How good are they? Of the 53 wineries and 367 wines entered in the most recent Michigan Wine and Spirits Competition — an event judged by wine experts from around the country —Leelanau Peninsula wines dominated. Among the winners seizing Best of Class were: Chateau Fontaine’s 2010 Dry White Riesling; L. Mawby’s Cremant Classic; and Forty-Five North’s 2010 Rosé of Cabernet Franc.
These and all the other Leelanau wineries are easy to check out and there’s no better time than fall to do it. For those interested in a do-it-yourself tour, The Leelanau Peninsula Vintners Association offers an online map that just so happens to double as a great route for viewing the county color.
As for places to stay while you’re here…Forgetaboutit. Glen Arbor is one Sleeping Bear Dunes community that knows how to accommodate northern Michigan travelers. Some of the best are Glen Craft Marina & Resort, Sylvan Inn, Lakeshore Inn, and The Homestead, which hosts fall foliage and wine tours for those who like to leave the driving to someone else.