On the cusp of spring, be inspired to head Up North for some tasty meals and foodie friendly festivals with 10 Northern Michigan food events. Find the original travel write up in the March 2015 issue of Traverse, Northern Michigan’s Magazine.
Snowshoe to a lunch. A lunch of mulled wine, Dutch oven–baked bread and locally cured meats with cheese is never so tasty as when served as a picnic-in-the-snow after a snowshoe hike on a Les Cheneaux Island (March 21, woodswaterecotours.com). But book a second trip, too; Les Cheneaux hopes to put the U.P. on the state culinary map with the May 15 opening of student-operated, farm-to-table Hessel Bay Inn, run by the Les Cheneaux Culinary School, which also offers spring classes and dinners. lescheneaux.org.
Celebrate the Pasty. You can’t help but love a bake-off, especially when it’s a pasty bake-off, centerpiece of the Calumet PastyFest (June 27), and a way to find the most authentic samples of the North’s Cornish heritage treat. Extend the food theme by booking a new upstairs suite at vintage-perfect Michigan House Cafe and Red Jacket Brewing Company, where just down the stairs awaits cedar plank trout paired with a coffee oatmeal stout. mainstreetcalumet.com.
Small plates, intimate settings. Enjoy time with winemakers in a small group setting—and tasty small plate/wine pairings—with the Leelanau Peninsula Vintners Association’s event simply called Small Plates, August 13. lpwines.com.
Your ticket to morels as you like them. Start with freshly foraged morels, add the area’s top chefs and put up bragging rights for tastiest small plate creation, and you’ve got an event not to be missed, especially when the Morel Mushroom Festival’s Taste of Morels lets you come back for as many tastes of your favorites as your ticket budget allows. Boyne City, May 17. bcmorelfestival.com.
Party with perfect picnic food. 90 craft beers, 20 specialty brats, two bands, a slopeside view. That’s Crystal Mountain’s Beer and Brat Festival. Lodging packages wrap in admission. crystalmountain.com.
Craft some curries or Vietnamese noodle bowls with Chef Jen Blakeslee at The Cooks’ House, one of Michigan’s hottest eateries, March 7 or 21, Traverse City. Or apply your culinary curiosity to one of the seven spring classes (Easter in Italy, Spring in France, more) offered at Chateau Chantal, Old Mission, along with a two-day cook-and-stay package option. chateauchantal.com.
Dine among the lilacs. Yes, there is Mackinac Island fudge—cut into fancy cubes with toothpicks for no-melt eating—but the many other island delicacies at the Lilac Festival’s Taste of Mackinac (Thursday, June 11 at noon) may surprise you. And settings don’t get more fragrant; Lilac Festival, June 5–14. mackinacisland.org.
Catch a horse-drawn sleigh to a feast. Thunder Bay Resort in Hillman adds a St. Patty’s Day twist to its traditional event of a nine-course wine-paired feast arrived at by sleigh, with elk viewing along the way. The bonus: a show by comedian Mike Ridley (March 14–16; thunderbayresort.com). At Treetops Resort in Gaylord on March 7, catch the season’s last sleigh to a surf-and-turf feast at the resort’s forest lodge. treetops.com.
Taste the Northwoods on a plate. May and early June bring a rare chance to book a room by the night at gracious Watervale Resort in Arcadia, where you can explore miles of trail bursting with trillium and a private Lake Michigan shoreline and also enjoy special weekend dinners celebrating wild leeks, morels, asparagus and watercress (Mother’s Day and first Tuesday in June). watervaleinn.com.
You catch, they cook. Come June, Capt. Freeman of Ludington’s Free Style Charters says he can assure you plenty of meal options—salmon, steelhead and trout, for example—from your deep sea charter adventure; and Catch and Cook partner Scotty’s restaurant will cook your fish into a feast, your way. Keep up the water theme at Pier House motel, near the beach; freestylecharters.com. ludingtonpierhouse.com.