OnFootThe warm weather has hit Maine, and we’ve turned the corner away from a chilly spring into summer.

We’re well into our summer schedule at Maine Foodie Tours, still offering our classic Culinary Walking Tours in Kennebunkport, Portland, and Bar Harbor. We have “Happy 2-Hour” tours in Portland and Bar Harbor and several charity tours for dog and garden lovers in Kennebunkport. Maine Foodie Tours are offered every day in your hometown or your Maine vacation spot, so check out our calendar for our new schedule.

Best of all, we’re launching new tours for Summer 2014, so be sure to follow us on facebook and twitter to be the first to sign up for our new lobster and wine-themed tours!

Pam

Mother’s Day for Foodie Moms

This Sunday is Mother’s Day, and if you have a foodie mom, we have some great gift ideas for her.

Dean's Sweets chocolate truffles, aprons for MomOur friends at Dean’s Sweets are offering an 8-pack of their delicious dark chocolate salted caramel truffles, plus a super stylish kitchen apron from Portland-based designer Angela Adams. You can order the special package online or purchase in their shop in Portland for $45.

Dean’s truffles will also be available at Sweetgrass Winery & Distillery‘s tasting room in Portland, at 324 Fore Street. Bring mom in for some dark chocolate paired with delicious fruit wines made in Maine.

For the foodie mom who wants to walk a little while learning about what makes Maine’s food scene so great, take her on a Culinary Walking Tour in Portland or Kennebunkport. If mom would rather ride, the Culinary Tour on Wheels in Portland is perfect for her.

Can’t be with mom on this Mother’s Day? We offer gift certificates for the next time she comes to visit you in Maine. Happy Mother’s Day to all the foodie moms out there!

 

Industrial Way, in the Western suburbs of Portland, has always been an incubator for craft beer. D.L. Geary’s Brewing Co. set up shop on nearby Evergreen Drive in 1986 and has been serving their high-quality ales ever since. Allagash Brewing Company is located a block away, having recently renovated their brewing facilities to include an expanded brewhouse, a wild beer room, and an outdoor patio for guests.

Cans of Bissell Bros. beer

Cans of Bussell Brothers’ Substance IPA in Foundation Brewing’s tasting room

A large warehouse across the way from Allagash houses three new nanobreweries. One of the bays was previously home to Maine Beer Company which has expanded north to Freeport. Bissell Brothers Brewing, Austin Street Brewing, and Foundation Brewing now call the Industrial Way warehouse home.

Bissell Brothers Brewing was founded by, well, the Bissell Brothers, Peter and Noah. They consistently brew Substance, a crisp, hoppy IPA, as well as other speciality brews like the I-Lucky, a ginger IPA.

Foundation Brewing is next door, where they serve up the Eddy, a Saison; and the Blaze, a Farmhouse Saison-style IPA. They brewed several versions of the Blaze, each with a single varieties of hops, as well as with a blend, so you can taste the different flavors the hops add.

Austin Street Brewery consistently brews the Patina Pale and some speciality brews like a coffee stout, made with locally-roasted coffee beans.

All of the breweries are very small and have limited hours for their tasting room. But as the weather warms, you can expect a food truck at Allagash Brewing on Saturdays. Allagash offers free tastings and tours, while the other three breweries offer small tasting samples, so you can enjoy several without overindulging. Enjoy an afternoon on Industrial Way and taste some of the newest, most creative beers that Portland’s craft brewing scene has to offer.

If you’d like to learn more about the history of craft beer in Portland, check out our Sips, Smugglers, and Speakeasies tour. If you’d like a light workout with your beer, the Bikes and Brews tour, offered with our partners at Summer Feet Bicycle Tours, is for you.

Pam

Maine Chefs and Writers Awards

The new year means awards seasons for TV, film, and music, and the foodie world is no different. Here’s a review of the awards and nominations that several in the food industry are up for, further proving why Portland was voted “America’s Foodiest Small Town” in 2009 by Bon Appetit magazine.

Will and Kathleen Pratt of Tandem Coffee Roasters

Photo from StarChefs.com

StarChefs.com has nominated their “Coastal New England Rising Stars,” including eight food and drink professionals from Maine. Nominees include Chef Ravin “Bas” Nakjaroen of Long Grain in Camden, Chef Ilma Lopez of Piccolo in Portland, Chefs Andrew Taylor and Michael Wiley of Eventide Oyster Co. and Hugo’s in Portland, Eli Cayer of Urban Farm Fermentory in Portland, Nathan Sanborn of Rising Tide Brewing Company in Portland, Will Pratt of Tandem Coffee Roasters in Portland (pictured above with his wife and business partner Kathleen), and Andrew Volk of the Portland Hunt & Alpine Club.

Congrats to all of those nominated! The awards take place mid-April in Providence, RI.

The James Beard Foundation Award nominees were announced last week, with Maine food writer Kathy Gunst receiving a nomination for her work on WBUR’s Here & Now. Unfortunately, all seven Maine chefs and brewers nominated for the semi-finalists did not become finalists. The JBF awards are announced in Chicago on May 2nd and 5th.

Last but not least, three Maine chefs have been nominated for Food & Wine magazine’s Best Chef New England, decided by popular vote. Cast your vote for Eventide Oyster Co.’ and Hugo’s chefs Andrew Taylor and Mike Wiley or Cara Stadler of Tao Yuan in Brunswick. Rob Evans of Duckfat was awarded Best Chef New England in 2004 for his work in the kitchen of Hugo’s. Voting continues through March 31st.

Join our Portland Culinary Walking Tour to learn about all the foodie accolades that talented Portland chefs have earned!

Pam

Winter Seafood Treats

It was a sad day in Maine when it was announced late last year that there was a moratorium on the 2014 Maine shrimp season. Winter in Maine is a beautiful, quiet, often reflective time, and seasonal treats like Maine shrimp are bright spots after the holidays have passed and the snow has settled in.

Maine shrimp

Photo by Harbor Fish Market

Scallops are another wintertime treat to look forward to. Maine diver scallops are huge, often one inch across, and are carefully harvested by hand by skilled divers in the midcoast region. The scallop season has been shortened, although fortunately, not cancelled altogether like shrimp. Recent write-ups in the Portland Phoenix and on NPR.org detail the best way to prepare scallops, including a recipe from Portland restaurant Five Fifty-Five.

Smelting season is in full-swing, with ice fishing shacks set up along rivers in midcoast Maine. Smelt are small fish that swim in schools in rivers. They’re available at local seafood markets like Harbor Fish Market in Portland, but the heartiest of us catch these small fish themselves. Just bait your lines, cozy up by the woodstove, and wait. Smelts are best coated in cornmeal and fried in a hot skillet.

To learn more about great options for local seafood in Portland, join our Culinary Walking Tour, offered Saturdays and Sundays in March.

Pam

Sweet Treats for your Valentine

chocolate truffles

We love a good sweet treat here at Maine Foodie Tours. With so many talented chocolatiers and bakers around the state, Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to treat your sweetie or yourself to some locally-made confections.

If you’ve been on our Portland Culinary Walking Tour, then you know all the local hot spots for sweets – from Stonewall Kitchens’ dessert sauces and jams to Two Fat Cats’ rich chocolate whoopie pies. Dean’s Sweets is all stocked up and ready for your chocolate truffle orders. If you want some company for Valentine’s Day, Novare Res Bier Cafe is planning a beer and chocolate pairing event, with pours local brews paired with Sweet Marguerites chocolates.

Make plans to share some sweets with your sweetie this summer or fall in Portland with tickets to our Desserts First tour. Happy Valentine’s Day!

Pam

Warming Winter Trends

Not to tell you something you already know, but it’s cold outside. So if you’re to brave the elements, it better be worth it. Here, we help you find warming eats and drinks or ones that will have you dreaming of a tropical vacation. 9318494681_8da54560cf_b

The ever-popular Hunt & Alpine Club makes delicious craft cocktails, and any liquor will be sure to warm you up. But at Hunt & Alpine, your cocktails are sure to mixed with care, using ingredients like fresh-squeezed juices and locally made flavored simple syrups. The ‘Autumn Leaves’ rye, vermouth, applejack, strega, bitters cocktail will make you remember a time when it was nice to be outside, maybe sitting around the campfire.

The Bangor Daily News declares hot toddies the perfect drink for a cold winter day and includes recipes for making your own using Rosal Rose cardamom and clove-flavored simple syrups, made in Brunswick, ME.

MaineToday can also recommend six hot toddies around Portland, at some of the city’s finest drinking establishments. Sit at the bar, enjoy a warm drink, and an appetizer, surrounded by other folks who don’t feel much like hibernating.

Time to start dreaming of vacation – check out our summer tours in Bar Harbor, Portland, and Kennebunkport on our website. Where do you go to warm yourself up in the wintertime? (If your answer is the Caribbean, kindly keep it to yourself.) Share with us your winter warming trends on facebook and twitter!

Green gift box

K. Horton’s Specialty Foods, 28 Monument Square, Portland
Shelves full of local and European cheeses, cured meats, olives, speciality crackers, and chocolate await; this shop is the perfect place for the foodie who takes joy in crafting cheese plates and filling picnic baskets.

Two Fat Cats Bakery, 47 India Street, Portland
For the foodie who can’t leave the table without dessert – the bakery even has a pie of the month club!

Dean’s Sweets, 82 Middle Street, Portland
Half the fun of buying truffles at Dean’s Sweets is picking out the flavors, so let your chocolate loving foodie sample and decide.

Vervacious, 227 Commercial Street, Portland
This specialty foods shop is for the foodie who has everything. Whether they go home with whole spices, a balsamic reduction, or a table sauce, this shop is just a fun place to be.

Wine Wise
These educational wine walks with our friend Erica Archer are a great experiential gift for a foodie friend who may be looking to expand their wine knowledge – all while sampling delicious local fare, of course!

Maine Foodie Tours
Of course, for the foodie who loves culinary experiences, we recommend a Maine Foodie Tours gift certificate – they never expire and can be used for any of our scheduled tours.

Pam

New Maine Breweries

white-detailEveryone in Maine knows and loves Allagash Brewing Co., one of the state’s largest craft breweries. But how familiar are you with the up and coming? The Maine brewery scene is seeing a huge increase in the number of small businesses opening and here are some that we’re looking forward to.

Austin Street Brewery
Where: 1 Industrial Way, Portland
What: Beer previews show Patina Pale Ale, honey saison, and Westbrook White
When: January 2014

 

Banded Horn Brewing Co.
Where: 32 Maine St, Biddeford
What: a pilsner, IPA, and a stout to start
When: January 2014

Bissell Brothers
Where: 1 Industrial Way, Portland
What: Hoppy styles, like an IPA, with their homegrown hops
When: Soon!

Foundation Brewing
Where: 1 Industrial Way, Portland
What: saison, saison IPA
When: Aiming for 2013 opening

If you want to learn more about how Maine became a mecca for craft brewers and the history of drinking in Portland, join us on our Sips, Smugglers, and Speakeasies tour offered at happy hour time on weekends through the winter.

Pam

Wine Dinners Abound

Fall and Winter in Maine see an uptick in the number of wine dinners hosted by restaurants. As the summer crowds die down, restaurateurs counter the quieter time of year with special events. Hosting a vintner or distributor can be a great opportunity to coax out locals, while diners get the chance to learn more about wine and experience some creativity from their favorite chefs. Here’s some upcoming events courtesy of the Portland Food Map.

glasses of wine

This week Piccolo, the new restaurant from Blue Rooster Food Co. chef Damian Sansonetti, hosts a wine dinner pairing wines from Devenish Wines with Northern Italian fare.

Next week, Bibo’s Madd Apple Cafe hosts SoPo Wine Co. for a Halloween themed dinner, complete with a costume contest and a spooky menu.

The Kabaj Wine Dinner at the Cumberland Club gives the public a rare chance to peek inside the historic private dining club while experiencing wines from Slovenia.

To learn more about wine in Maine, check out our culinary tours in Portland, Kennebunkport, and Bar Harbor. Our guides are full of information about Maine wines and how to pair them.

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