Cuisine of New England
While often rightfully praised for its lobster rolls, clam chowder, and other seafood specialties, New England is also home to a range of notable food products and culinary treasures, including Vermont cheddar cheese, Boston Cream Pie, and maple syrup. Taste your way through the Northeast and uncover delicious surprises.
1. WINE TRAILS
New England is one of the fastest growing wine regions in the country and offers vineyards in all six states. Blending vibrant countryside backdrops with sophisticated wines, the Connecticut Wine Trail is a unique collection of 24 vineyards, offering tours and tastings, many free of charge.
2. CLAM CHOWDER
In 1939, Maine passed legislation to make it illegal to put tomatoes in clam chowder and New England has since excluded the ingredient from its traditional soup. There’s no shortage of classic clam chowder on New England menus.
Try a bowl at the nation’s oldest restaurant in continuous service, The Union Oyster House, in Boston or River House’s clam chowder, which won first place three years in a row at the Chowder Festival in Portsmouth’s Prescott Park. Whether you’re a fan of the red Manhattan variety or the thick cream based version, all the flavors can be sampled at the Great Chowder Cook-Off held annually every summer at Fort Adams State Park, in Newport, Rhode Island.
3. MAPLE SYRUP
Maple sugar season in New Hampshire runs from mid-February to mid-April and produces close to 90,000 gallons of maple syrup annually. Uncover the full-cycle of maple tradition at The New Hampshire Maple Experience—this interactive tour includes history of syrup-making, a museum and, of course, sweet, product samplings.
4. ICE CREAM
While Ben & Jerry’s Factory in Burlington, Vermont, will always remain a celebrated institution, New England visitors can also find delicious ice cream at local creameries. Try the Nutter Butter Sundae at The James Gallery and Soda Fountain in Old Saybrook, Connecticut, or a scoop of Strawberry Cheesecake from Gray’s Ice Cream in Tiverton, Rhode Island.
Vermont’s classic sharp cheddar is only one of the award-winning cheeses the Green Mountain state produces. Sample gorgonzola, gouda, feta, chevre, and over 150 more varieties of artisanal and farmstead cheeses on the Vermont Cheese Trail, a scenic 280-mile loop showcasing over 45 cheesemakers.
The culinary symbol of Maine, the American Lobster is a staple of New England dining. Whether boiled, steamed, served on a roll, or paired with a steak, this verstile crustacean is a must-eat when visiting New England. Experience all things lobster at The Maine Lobster Festival, or from an expert at a variety of lobster boat tours, including Lucky Catch Cruises and Rugosa Lobster Boat Tours.
Named after the great Massachusetts patriot, Samuel Adams Brewery is an American favorite. Enjoy the popular, free brewery tour to sample award-winning beers. New England has no shortage of breweries—Vermont has the highest number of craft breweries per capita. Sip on one of 48 brews at Magic Hat Brewing Co. in South Burlington or a classically styled hand-made session beer from Northshire Brewery in Bennington.
8. BOSTON CREAM PIE
The official dessert of Massachusetts, Boston Cream Pie is the classic custard or cream filled cake frosted with chocolate. While delicious varieties are available in bakeries nationwide, there’s no comparing to a slice from its kitchen of origin at the historic Parker’s Restaurant at Omni Parker House Hotel in downtown Boston.
Photo credits: 1. Westport Rivers Vineyard, credit: Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism; 2. Vermont Maple Syrup, credit: Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing; 3. Lobster, credit: Maine Office of Tourism