World-famous chef Mario Batali, and part-time Leelanau Peninsula resident, recently wrote a love letter to Traverse City for the Huffington Post. Here’s what makes the Iron Chef’s heart pitter-patter …

Dear Traverse City,

I first laid eyes on you over a decade ago. My wife, Susi, and I rented a house on a little beach for a week. The next year it was two weeks, the next year three, then four. I couldn’t resist. I was hooked.

I am madly in love with the Leelanau Peninsula and everything about it.

Somehow you’ve remained unknown, a relative secret. With Caribbean-blue waters and Sahara Desert dunes, you’re a gem hidden in the Midwest, far from the gaze of East Coasters.

Your summers boast a roster of festivals celebrating the bounty of your surroundings: cherries and filmmakers, local trout and whitefish, winemakers, craft ale brewers and even a couple of cider pubs. Joyfully you have become a modern gastro-paradise.

For long I’ve thought New York City was my one true love. But you’ve proven to be the perfect antidote to the bustle of the city; and she the perfect antidote to the stillness of Lake Michigan. I will spend all of my holidays with you but ssshhhhh … no one needs to know but us.

Until next summer.

-Mario Batali

Click here to see this letter at

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