It’s pretty easy to be a trailblazing tourist these days, particularly if the trail leads to a local ingredient, beverage or food that a destination wants to highlight. It seems everyone has a food or drink trail these days. Some cover a town or county and others an entire state. They’re clearly popular, but it can hard to know which ones will be truly eye opening and yummy, and which will just be calorie overload.
Here are ten food and beverage trails from across the U.S. that offer something unique, local and delicious. Happy trails!
1. Boston, MA: Cannoli
One of the nicest things about Boston’s Freedom Trail is that it takes you through its North End Italian neighborhood. And since you’ve been doing all that walking it’s perfectly OK to indulge in a cannoli or two. This crawl leads to five cafés that wouldn’t dream of filling your crunchy pastry shell until you order it. Traditional shops offer sweet ricotta cheese laced with pistachios or candied lemon peel while more innovative places mix Nutella and cappuccino into their filling.
Don’t Miss: Mike’s Pastry, where 19 fillings include chocolate chips and espresso.
I’d like to believe that a Buffalo bar owner invented these hot, hot wings to get his customers through their cold, cold winters. Though locals have been eating these wings for years, the Wing Trail is only just launching this spring with 12 stops that offer not only the city’s most popular wings but those that offer noteworthy variations of the original sauce recipe, the cooking style and how they’re served.
Don’t Miss: Doc Sullivan’s, where they mix Caribbean flavors like nutmeg, celery seed, ginger, cinnamon and cloves into their classic red-hot sauce.
3 Florence, SC: Pecans
This trail highlights the traditional and innovative ways area chefs use this local staple in more variations than most one-dish trails offer. They toss pecans into salads, encrust fish, chicken and goat cheese with them, toss them into pastries and desserts and even brew them into beer.
Don’t Miss: The grilled chicken with pecan pesto at the Local Motive Brewing Company.
There are some 50 restaurants in the county where you can try this local breaded-pork sandwich. One place adds Cajun seasoning and another makes an open-face sandwich the base for its eggs benedict. If you visit the county in the summer you can enjoy deals on this local favorite on Tenderloin Tuesdays
Don’t Miss: The upscale sandwich at Woody’s Library Restaurant, which replaces the breadcrumbs with a crispy potato crust.
This popular weekend destination boasts 14 places serving soft-serve and hard ice cream, often homemade with milk from local dairies. Look for unique flavors like magical unicorn and playdough for youngsters and blood orange-raspberry or cinnamon-bourbon for the grown-ups
Don’t Miss: Nina’s Waffles in Doylestown, where they put their own ice cream on top of Liege-style waffles made fresh from their own in-house recipe.
This trail, fittingly called the Walk of Flame, takes you to 27 restaurants and shops where you can try entrees, sweet and salty snacks and condiments, beer and even wine made with New Mexico’s favorite ingredient.
Don’t Miss: Green chile pistachio brittle at Las Cruces Candy Co. and the green chile bloody Mary at Garduños.
Lots of American cities have a historic “Chinatown.” San Francisco’s is one of out oldest and is still constantly renewing itself. On this crawl up Clement Street try pork buns, soup dumplings, Taiwanese bubble tea and eggy custard tarts.
Don’t Miss: The Richmond New May Wah Market, with its aisles of Asian packaged goods and produce aisles with exotic items like dragon fruit and mangosteens.
8. Shenandoah Valley, VA: Spirits
This trail winds through several counties in the Shenandoah Valley, stopping at 40 breweries, cideries, wineries and distilleries along the way. Several locally source the grapes, grains, hops, fruit and herbs they incorporate into their brews and a few are located on farms. Backroom Brewery infuses homegrown herbs into beers like Rosemary Orange Amber Ale. Eighty percent of the grains at Fillibuster Distillery’s bourbon, rye, gin and whiskey are grown nearby.
Don’t Miss: The blueberry wheat beer and local sausages served in the taproom at Swover Creek Farm Brewery, which doubles as a berry farm.
It’s easy to find bourbon in Kentucky, especially if you’re looking for the big-name brands like Maker’s Mark. But this state-wide trail takes you across the 14 micro-distilleries that are exploring the artisanal edge of whiskey making. Small batches, local ingredients, historic recipes and cutting edge techniques are their trademarks. Some places are so new their first run is still aging in its casks. Others date back to the 18th century.
Don’t Miss: Jeptha Creed in Shelbyville, owned by a mother-daughter team who grow the heirloom corn they use in their mash, along with as many of their supplementary ingredients as they can.
Santa Fe was one of the first cities in Spanish Colonial North America to receive tequila, which came to it along Colonial Spanish trade routes. The trail that celebrates this history has an app to help you find margaritas made with smoked sage, fresh basil or cucumber juice. The Coyote Café makes its cocktail with green chiles in the drink and on the rim
Don’t Miss: The tequila table at the stylish Anasazi Bar & Lounge, where guests can sip a variety of aged tequilas and pair them with food.
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