SOURCE: Travel Michigan

February 07, 2011 09:15 ET

Winter Culinary Tourism Is Cookin' in Michigan

A Foodie Alert

LANSING, MI--(Marketwire - February 7, 2011) - There's a chill in the air, but there are plenty of places to warm up with great culinary experiences. Michigan's culinary menu is full year round with wine and food pairing events, festivals, foodie tours and cooking classes for all levels of expertise.

Shake off the winter blues at Saugatuck's Wickwood Inn on Michigan's west coast. Author of the popular Silver Palate cookbooks, Julee Rosso, is the owner of this charming B & B and offers weekend cooking classes. Reservations fill up fast and the next round of classes are scheduled for April 1-2. Rosso also conducts vintage champagne tastings every Saturday following a sumptuous brunch. For more information go to www.wickwoodinn.com

Saugatuck's Kirby House Inn (www.kirbyhouse.com) also offers a culinary get-away package March 11-12 with a cooking class that gets dinner on the table at the inn plus tips for wine selection, serving and garnishing. Plan ahead for a special weekend April 15-16 when the Kirby House Inn serves up the Last Dinner Aboard the Titanic -- no cooking for guests, just a seven-course gourmet dinner and more. Saugatuck presents a weekend March 4-5 featuring select Michigan wines at four inns: Bayside Inn, Newnham SunCatcher Inn, Ivy Inn and Twin Oaks Inn. Get more information on packages at www.grandescapeinns.com.

Michigan's west coast offers even more culinary destinations with Kalamazoo's People's Food Co-op (http://www.peoplesfoodco-op.org) offering cooking classes that include Gluten-Free Grains (February 15) and Cooking with Greens (March 15). Kalamazoo's new Kurry Guru Kitchen will host an Indian Tapas Party on February 12 that includes cooking demonstrations. Visit the Kalamazoo Nature Center (www.naturecenter.org) to tap into the 46th annual Maple Sugar Festival March 12-13.

Michigan has 14,600 acres of vineyards making it the fourth largest grape-growing state in the country. With more than 80 wineries and vineyards, visitors can enjoy wine tours and events during every season. The award-winning Chateau Chantal (http://www.chateauchantal.com) on the Old Mission Peninsula near Traverse City offers international cooking classes as well as tours and B & B packages. You don't have to be a lodging guest to sign up for a class. This winter season learn about the techniques of French cooking on February 19, and Spanish cooking on March 5. Make time to visit other wineries in the area and throughout the state and take home some fruit of Michigan vines (http://www.michiganwines.com).

Traverse City will be hosting Winter, Wine and Wow! (http://winterwowfest.com) that runs February 18-21. The new event includes wine, food, art and entertainment on February 18. Michigan wines, ice wines, craft beers and plenty of tasty goodies will be available.

The Michigan State University Dairy Foods Complex in East Lansing is planning a three-day artisan cheese-making workshop March 7-9. Participants can learn how to make cheese and all about its ingredients, techniques and aging requirements. For anyone planning to go into the cheese business, this is the program to attend. To register, call 517-353-3175, ext. 134 or 229.

Foodies who visit southeastern Michigan can't get enough of Ann Arbor's Zingerman's Deli and Bakehouse (www.zingermanscommunity.com). For more than 25 years Zingerman's has been serving up great food and has been recognized for its culinary expertise by NBC's Today Show, New York Times, Inc. magazine, Chicago Sun-Times, Bon Appetit and more. This Michigan treasure offers a culinary program called BAKE! and BAKE-cations, which are weeklong and weekend cooking classes that include breakfast and lunch every day. Classes sell out fast and novices are most welcome. Upcoming sessions include Gluten Free: The New Frontier (February 15), The Power of Flour (February 19), Scrumptious Scones and Buttery Biscuits (March 1) and Who You Calling a Cream Puff? (March 3).

Check out nearly a dozen Michigan foodie tours at www.michigan.org.

The Michigan Department of Agriculture is leading the Michigan Culinary Tourism Alliance, an initiative to raise awareness about the economic benefits of promoting Michigan as a culinary destination. Key partners in the Alliance include Travel Michigan, the Michigan Restaurant Association, the Michigan Grape and Wine Industry Council and the International Culinary Tourism Association. Funding for the project was provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. More information about the Alliance is available at www.michiganwines.com under Wine and Food. 

Travel Michigan, a division of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, is the State of Michigan's official agency for the promotion of tourism. Travel Michigan markets the state's tourism industry and provides valuable visitor information services. For Michigan travel news and updates, go to michigan.org.

Contact Information

  • Contacts:
    Linda Jones
    Michigan Department of Agriculture
    517-373-9789
    Email Contact

    Dave Lorenz
    Travel Michigan
    517-335-0007
    Email Contact