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The Best of Maine Food & Drink and Why Farm-to-Fork Matters

oyster catching

Kudos to Down East Magazine for another great “Best of Maine Food & Drink 2017” issue. What I love most is that they ask the reader’s what their top choices are. While I won’t list them all, there were some that I thought you might appreciate hearing about this week.

  • Best Burger – Five Guys
  • Best Donut – Holy Donut (although newly opened HiFi at Monument Square is giving Holy Donut a run for their money — I fell in love with their irresistible donuts this week)
  • Best Italian Sandwich – Amato’s
  • Best Farmer’s Market – Brunswick Farmer’s Market
  • Best Chocolate – Wilbur’s of Maine Chocolate Confections in Freeport,
  • Best Pizza – Otto’s Pizza
  • Best Coffee Roaster – Coffee By Design
  • Best Brewery – Allagash Brewing Company

Quite impressive indeed — see the complete Down East Magazine list here.

Here are also two tips for beer tasting Down East doesn’t want you to miss out on:

  • Flight Deck Brewing, 11 Atlantic Ave., Brunswick. 207-504-5133. “After the Brunswick Naval Air Station closed in 2011, it took six years for anyone to realize that one of the industrial-style buildings would be perfect for making — and consuming — beer. Hard-to-Get Beer: Mott the Lesser,
  • Tributary Brewing Co. 10 Shapleigh Rd., Kittery. 207-703-0093. “When Tod Mott moved from Portsmouth Brewery to his own joint in Kittery, he brought his recipe for the imperial stout that Beer Advocate once ranked the second-best beer in the world.”

Farm-to-Fork dining has been a way of life in Maine for centuries. Serving up locally grown vegetables, farm raised meat, and fish from our maritime waters, has always set Maine apart. Chef Sam Hayward of Fore Street was one of the first chefs in the U.S. to move local ingredients to the front of the plate; earning him a coveted James Beard Award for Best Chef in the Northeast in 1996. Sam has been mentoring chefs who have gone on to open their own noteworthy farm-to-fork restaurants throughout the country. Chef David Levi of Vinlandhas been recognized as one of the most talented chefs in Maine; the Wall Street Journal did a piece on David’s foraging and totally local sourced cuisine in 2014; months after Vinland’s opening. Hugo‘s chefs Mike Wiley and Andrew Taylor, recent James Beard Award winners “With intellectual curiosity and modern technique driving the process, our ingredients are farmed, fished and foraged almost exclusively here in Maine, reflecting the dramatic seasonal shifts of Northern New England.” None of these tables are easy to reserve; however, worth the effort.