Sep 22, 2014

FOOD FARE: Because Vacation Calories Don't Count

(at least, that's what we tell ourselves.)

The many landscapes of upper Michigan.

Did you know tourists who visit Mackinac Island to buy their famous Mackinac Island Fudge are called "fudgies?" The fact that there is a name for people who travel just to get their hands on the rich, melt-in-your-mouth indulgment is a testament to their popularity. I personally think it's the most delicious sweet in the world. How can a piece of chocolate be hard enough you need to cut it with a plastic knife, but so soft it seems to coat your mouth like peanut butter?

How could you make it better? Add it to ice cream. Here in Michigan you can buy Mackinac Island Fudge Ice Cream at the grocery store, but the taste is fresh at the source. I couldn't guarantee these treats would make it home, so I picked up a bag of saltwater taffy to bring back for family and friends.

Mackinac Island Fudge, Mackinac Island Fudge Ice Cream, and saltwater taffy.

While having dinner in Suttons Bay, Laurén and I spotted a local red wine on the menu. I ordered it, and it's like I was blown backwards out of my chair! It was so incredibly good. I'm not a wine expert, but I've had enough red wine to tell if a bottle was picked it up at the drugstore for $10. This "Red House Red" was smooth with no bitter aftertaste. And since the winery was local, why not check it out? The next day we traveled just seven minutes up the road to Black Star Farms.

Black Star Farms & Winery

The road leading into Black Star Farms had rows and rows of grape vines going up the side of a hill. Around the curve, there were horses, goats, ducks, and pigs in roomy pens across from a colonial style inn. In a large red wine tasting building, we ordered their "five wines for five dollars" and got our pick of an expansive list. I spotted "Red House Red" with a sticker price of $10. I was shocked. If that wine is so cheap, imagine how good the expensive ones are, I thought.

We were lucky to have a hostess who was very generous with us, and let us try four additional wines for free, at her insistence. My favorites were cherry wine, a dessert wine infused with maple syrup, and a merlot with hints of blackberry. We walked out with a half-full box of bottles.

Just across the street Black Star Farms have their own restaurant with fresh flowers on every outdoor patio table. We split a thin-crust potato pizza that would have gone great with more wine, but we still had driving to do!

As a final hurrah for our road trip (before the calories started to count again), Laurén surprised me and took us to the Traverse City Pie Co. I had Old Mission Cherry pie, and she had the ABC (apple-blueberry-cherry). One word: heavenly. Then again, you could describe the entire trip that way. :)

Black Star Farms Wine Tasting, Potato Pizza, and Old Mission Cherry Pie.

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