This post has been written by a guest writer – Eric Scheffel.
New York State has long stood as a beacon to people from around the globe, which has led to an ever-changing celebration of world cuisine from New York City to Niagara Falls. A constant blending of passionate, creative people with a giving land makes the state truly extraordinary.
A fine dining experience is like taking a vacation within a vacation. Whether you decide to match your salmon grill and Sauvignon Blanc with a horse and buggy ride through Central Park and a Broadway show, or cozy-up fireside with your wild mushroom sauté and Chardonnay after a day of skiing, you’ll realize that the difference between a good meal and world-class dining is like the difference between a house and home. It isn’t a destination; it’s an experience!
New York City, with its rich melting pot of flavors, offers a world map of discoveries all year long. Bring your shopping bag and meet up with Susan Birnbaum in Grand Central Station for a food journey to the Bronx, the city’s other Little Italy. Eat your way through the Arthur Avenue neighborhood, sampling pizza, olives and other delights. Along the way, shop for fresh produce, pasta and bread from dozens of mom and pop stores.
In addition to world-class restaurants, you can link into New York’s bountiful food chain at cooking classes, on walking tours and by shopping at farmers’ markets (yes, in the winter, too!) from Rochester to Union Square in Manhattan. Saturdays are class time at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park. These five-hour courses are based on CIA cookbooks, covering topics from Italian cooking to bread baking. Winter is also a great time to dine at the CIA’s four public restaurants featuring fixed price menus.
Prefer a more intimate setting? Work elbow-to-elbow with the chefs at Equus Restaurant at Castle on the Hudson, The Valley in Garrison and The Rhinecliff. Weekends by Vintage Hudson Valley brings you into the kitchens of these iconic chefs. Team up with your mate in a couples’ cooking class or teach the kids about the state’s agricultural heritage of dairy, cattle and apple farming at the New York Wine & Culinary Center in Canandaigua.
Sign up for wine pairings of New York red, Rieslings, ice wines and other varieties. There are more than 200 wineries in the state and more than 30 are on Long Island. Most of the vineyards are along the North Fork, where much farmland remains. You can even go to Wine Camp, which covers the topics of vineyard work, the terroir of Long Island, chemistry of wine making, blending and food pairing. Lift your glass on any of New York’s wine trails – along great lakes Erie and Ontario, around the Finger Lakes, in the Hudson Valley, all the way to the tip of Long Island’s North Fork.
More good cheer awaits you along the Empire State Brewery Trails, from the pale ale of Rooster Fish Brewery in Watkins Glen to White Face Black Diamond Irish stout at the Great Adirondack Brewing Company in Lake Placid. Sample the full spectrum of tasty tutorials with rich, dark ambers, ruby reds and other jewel-toned treasures from award-winning microbreweries across the state.