It’s common at this time of year to look back and reflect on the year that has been. It’s been a good one for Bucks County food. I’ve been privileged to write about many interesting people and great food. As I reviewed my posts, I decided that rather than do a “best of” piece, I’d share some of my favorites with you.
The year began cold as always but we were warmed by a wonderful scotch dinner at the Yardley Inn. This is an annual affair which takes place on the Sunday of Martin Luther King Day weekend. Even my husband – the bourbon aficionado – enjoyed the event and changed his mind about scotch (!). I have been a fan of single malt scotch for quite some time so it was heaven for me. Sitting down at our table and seeing five glasses of golden liquid at my place setting sent my heart soaring. And each of the scotches was paired with dishes that complemented and enhanced them. Chef Eben Copple created the menu and walked us through the background of each whiskey. To read more about the event, click here.
Another way to warm up in the middle of winter is to forego the usual Superbowl fare and go for barbecue instead. In February I posted about good BBQ places in Bucks. It’s a great list to draw from and certainly beats nachos for a football afternoon.
In March I had my 15 minutes of fame (probably more like five). I was part of the audience for the Diners, Drive-ins and Dives episode at the Pineville Tavern, and, well, the DDD producer liked my “sound bite” – a lot. Imagine my surprise, as I sat at the crowded PVT bar watching the episode for the first time and I saw my face on the big screen TV. Yikes. It has been fun this year as the episode is replayed (many times) and friends happen to catch it, not expecting to see someone they know on TV. Thanks to the Pineville and their great ravioli. You can read about it at Here Comes Guy Fieri.
In June, my partner, Alan Brown, and I launched a new venture called Bucks County Food Tours. We take folks on five-hour tours of some of the best food in Bucks, visiting bakeries, farms, cheesemakers, ice creameries, orchards, butchers and more. It’s a delicious and interesting day, meeting the people who produce and grow great food in Bucks. To learn more about the tours, including itineraries, click here.
One of our regular stops on the tours is oWowCow Creamery, now in Wrightstown as well as Ottsville, where we get a chance to chat with owner and ice cream maker John Fezzuoglio. oWow Cow relies heavily on local and organic ingredients for their innovative and fresh ice cream. Read more about them here in a post I did when they opened in Wrightstown this past July.
On Bucks County Taste I’m always trying to give exposure to what’s good in our own backyards, so to speak. But I can’t be everywhere at once! That’s why I asked you, my audience, what places you’d recommend as “don’t miss” food in Bucks. The result is a page full of restaurants, markets, ice cream, farms and other food producers. Check out the list here and add any of your favorites using the comment feature.
One of our favorite meals to eat out is breakfast and Bucks County is fortunate to have many good places. In our post, Breakfast in Bucks, we focus on three particular restaurants – Fred’s Breakfast Club (New Hope), the Vintage Grille (Fountainville) and Vera’s Country Café (Ottsville) – and then list almost three dozen breakfast spots in Bucks and nearby. Peruse the list and see if you can find a new breakfast place to try.
I don’t do many restaurant features but this year gave me the opportunity to do several, among them Hickory Kitchen in Doylestown and the Café Blue Moose in New Hope. Hickory Kitchen is one of our favorite places for barbecue, but that’s not all they do. The menu is versatile and truly has something for everyone. Café Blue Moose, which just opened in New Hope, is a youth-run restaurant. Skylar Bird, its owner and prime force, employs only teens. The enterprise used to be only a weekly event at his family’s converted mill but now Skylar has brought it to a permanent location in New Hope next to Zoubi’s on Mechanic Street. Read the post to learn more about Skylar and this new restaurant.
The Coffee Scoop is another of my favorite posts and one of the only organic coffee roasters in Pennsylvania. From their home in Pipersville, Karen and Warren May roast, package and distribute fresh organic coffee beans. I learned a lot about coffee while doing the article and gained a new appreciation for freshly roasted coffee. Read more here.
If you’ve a regular reader of Bucks County Taste you probably know of my love of cheese. I had the opportunity to interview Nina and Jonathan White of Bobolink Dairy and Bakehouse, where they produce fine artisanal cheese and fresh baked goods. I also learned how to make matzah from Nina. What fun. Read more about Bobolink here and see the video of matzah making here.
One of the most exciting developments in Bucks County is the increase in access to local and organic foods. Distribution is always the challenge but two organizations, Suburban Organics and Winter Sun Farms, offer new ways of getting quality food into your home. Suburban Organics delivers organic food right to your doorstep. Learn more about this Ottsville company here. Winter Sun Farms uses the CSA (community supported agriculture) model to distribute freshly frozen (right at harvest) vegetables and fruit, cleaned, cut and ready for cooking all winter long. Read the article about them here.
Learning about Castle Valley Mill, the first grain mill to operate in Bucks County in decades, was one of the highlights of the year for me. Seeing the mill machinery first hand was fascinating. Even more exciting is knowing that soon (hopefully this spring) Mark Fischer, owner of the mill, will have the old, water-powered mill operating too. Check out the article and photos here.
Wrapping up the year was a story I did after speaking with local chefs, “Holiday memories: the good, the bad and the ugly.” I asked them about their food holiday memories and was warmed by the responses as one after another they shared family stories of preparing and eating. The big surprise was the prevalence of Jell-o! Ah well.
I hope it has been a good year for you and your family, and I hope that the New Year is an even better one. Wishing you good health and good eating.