Michigan for foodies
By Jessica Pook
From refreshing brews to homemade cherry pie, Michigan makes the most of its local produce. Here's some of the best ways to get a taste of the state...
Finding the perfect pint in Michigan is a promise. In fact, the state ranks fifth in the US when it comes to the amount of breweries, microbreweries and brewpubs open to the public – and beer is just the beginning. Nowadays breweries are showcasing their talents with creative flavours and the perfect food pairing. Visit the Tap Room at Short’s Brewing in Elk Rapids to try one of its eclectic beers, like a liquorice lager, and take the opportunity to build your own pizza complete with beer-infused dough, brewed in-house. Alternatively, pair a beer with a burger and bourbon baked beans at Mackinaw Brewing Company in Traverse City.
Downtown Detroit restaurants are famously good, from Greek Town specialities to award-winning sushi and steaks. The must-try dish is Detroit-style square pizza which began at Buddy’s Rendezvous Pizzeria when, in 1946, Gus Guerra and Concetta ‘Connie’ Piccinato made their first square-shaped pizza, baked in steel pans borrowed from local automotive plants and with a legendary light and crispy crust. Another lauded local recipe is The American Coney Island diner’s hotdogs, served with a secret recipe chilli sauce, fine mustard and fresh, chopped sweet onions in a warm, steamed bun.
Grand Rapids (known as Beer City USA) boasts more than 80 breweries. Tick them off with a guided tour complete with a party bike, trolley or tuk, or use the Beer City Ale Trail map to plot a course among the 40+ craft breweries. Don’t miss a visit to Founders Brewing Co., recognised as one of the top breweries in the world by Ratebeer and one of the top ten largest craft breweries in the country. Use the Beer City Brewsader app to check in to any eight breweries in and around Grand Rapids and be rewarded with a Brewsader t-shirt.
Cherry on top
Fresh, juicy cherries are a Michigan staple with the state growing 70% of the United States’ supply of tart cherries. Dubbed “America’s superfruit” thanks to its high levels of antioxidants, the cherry is so celebrated here it even has its own annual festival. The National Cherry Festival provides endless family fun from pie-eating contests to the annual Very Cherry Porch Parade. Michigan cherries are in season from late June to August with families able to pick their own at one of the many U-Pick Cherry farms in the Traverse City area.
Vine to wine
There are more than 140 wineries in Michigan with red, white, dry, sweet, sparkling and fruit vines to choose from. Red wine drinkers should explore the southwestern part of the state around the Lake Michigan Shore AVA (American Viticultural Areas), which produces flavourful reds such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot. The Leelanau Peninsula in northwest Lower Peninsula bottles crisp whites such as Pinot Blanc, Pinot Grigio and Riesling. Hit one of the state’s wine trails, like the Petoskey Wine Region’s 14 wineries along the Lake Michigan shoreline, including the amazing Chateau Chantal, and enjoy a sunset tasting overlooking the vineyards.
Agriculture is one of Michigan’s leading industries, so visitors can expect fresh produce and farm to table dining. Michigan’s farm families take pride in growing fresh, high-quality foods and products year-round. Apples are one of the largest and most valuable fruit crops in Michigan with many used in pies or to make applesauce, apple cider and apple juice. Peaches, pears and plums are also home grown favourites and asparagus can be found growing near the Lake Michigan shoreline.
The Pure Michigan Pledge
Over 600 hospitality, tourism attractions and businesses across Michigan have taken this pledge to ensure communities and visitors are protected COVID-19. The pledge is a mark of commitment to maintaining protocols around disinfecting and social distancing in restaurants, shops, attractions and outdoor spaces.