Extreme diversity distinguishes the southwest from other U.S. Regions. I-40 (old Route 66) splits the Southwest into two distinct environments: the northern divide has cool climates, tall pines and mountainous terrain, for example, in Santa Fe and Flagstaff. The southern divide is hot, flat and arid, like Albuquerque and Phoenix. A short one hour drive from Albuquerque to Santa Fe provides an unmistakable illustration of the difference in environment.
Located in the heart of the Canadian prairie, Winnipeg had high hopes of being the Chicago of the North. In the early 1900s, Main Street was home to nearly 40 financial institutions, and the city’s train station was a scale model for New York’s Grand Central Terminal. WWI and financial turmoil intervened, and those plans never quite materialized. Today, the city is Canada’s seventh-largest, with a population of around 700,000. However, Winnipeg is home to a burgeoning food scene that is considered to be Canada’s most underrated—and cheese has played a large role in the culinary renaissance.
The stately city of Richmond lies at the heart of Virginia’s agricultural region. Given that local chefs and food producers have access to the finest fresh ingredients, it’s perhaps unsurprising that the community of 220,000 is experiencing a renaissance in its food culture — one that includes a growing interest in, and appreciation for, cheese.
There are plenty of things utah is known for: wacky liquor laws, hosting the 2002 Winter Olympics, superior dental hygiene à la the Osmond family, and phenomenal light-as-air powder widely proclaimed as “The Greatest Snow on Earth.”
About a 45-minute drive west of Philadelphia or a little more than two hours from New York’s Penn Station by Amtrak, the hamlet of Downingtown, PA, along with nearby villages, is a gemlike enclave in western Chester County. Seemingly worlds away from the hustle of metropolitan life, the rolling hills traced by winding roads are shared with Amish buggies. No one seems hurried.
Everywhere there is milk, there is cheese. The alchemy of an excellent cheese is well known: the skill of the cheesemaker, the species and diet of the milk source, even goût de terroir. Cheese tasting gives the traveler not only the experience of world flavors, but also of culture and place.
Doug Smith, co-owner and operations manager of Vancouver Island’s Natural Pastures Cheese Co., shares the perfect anecdote to illustrate the growth of Victoria, British Columbia’s cheese culture. “When we started at our local farmers market, we presented a Brie to people they had never really tried it before,” he says. “They would ask things like, ‘Can I eat the mold?’ Now 15 years later, I’ll ask little kids what they want to try, and they’ll say Brie because they love the taste. That’s a very short time period where people didn’t even know what this cheese was and now their children love Brie.”
If you don’t already have plans for July 2 through July 24 this year, I have a suggestion. The Tour de France — the greatest bicycle race in the world and the third-most popular sporting event, drawing close to 4 million TV viewers worldwide — takes place during those three weeks. Even if you can’t be among the thousands of spectators cheering the competitors on along the 2,200-mile route, you can still join in the excitement of the race. Continue reading →
Tuscany, known as the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance, is a land of cultural traditions, stunning landscapes, museums and all things artistic. About 9,000 square miles with a population of 3.9 million, the capital is the romantic, charming city of Florence. With seven World Heritage Sites and a simple yet pure cuisine, Tuscany is beautiful, charming and quite tasty. Continue reading →
Everybody knows that New York City is the great melting pot. When it comes to looking for cheese, the whole world is, quite literally, a subway ride away. Manhattan’s cheese sellers have some of the most diverse and delicious selections of famous fromage from all over the world.
The Zingerman’s Reuben is the quintessential destination sandwich. The corned beef is cured just for the famous Michigan deli and sliced to order in thin, juicy, warm pink ribbons. Crusty Jewish rye is cut from loaves, grilled and spread with thick, scratch-made Russian dressing. To crown it, only locally fermented kraut and slices of nutty, brown buttery Swiss Emmentaler will do.
FORTY YEARS AGO, when most Americans thought there was no better place to shop than the supermarket, Lancaster County promoted itself as a center of local foods and traditional dishes. Then, as the rest of the world became more and more interested in these things, Lancaster became less so. Amish families that had been farming for generations were suddenly working in retail stores and factories and their land gradually became subdivisions and shopping centers. Now, just when you thought that the area had been turned into an endless mall, a whole new generation of farmers is bringing back the idea of local food. Produce is organic, livestock is grass-fed, and a growing number of people are creating cheeses that are world-class.