Maryland’s menu features the world’s best seafood and an extensive local wine list, served in dynamic and romantic settings. Mouth-watering memories are ready to be made throughout the state, from magical mountain hideaways to quiet bayfront towns.
SEAFOOD SCENERY: Dinner cruises and dockside restaurants add the perfect ambiance while enjoying Chesapeake Bay fare such as crab cakes, oyster fritters and fried clams. For a personal touch, charter a boat and fish for your own dinner. Striped bass, also known as rockfish, is deliciously admired as “The Pearl of the Chesapeake.” Savor bay seafood at summertime events such as the Hard Crab Derby in Crisfield, Maryland Seafood Festival at Sandy Point State Park near Annapolis, Calvert County Watermen’s Festival on Solomons Island and OysterFest in St. Michaels.
TASTY TOURS: During a Charm City Food Tour, learn about Baltimore culture and architecture while tasting authentic paninis in Little Italy or perhaps grilled Halloumi cheese beside Federal Hill. Special dining experiences are also available as part of regularly scheduled Restaurant Weeks at participating establishments in a number of Maryland locations. Sometimes, the food comes to the patron, as in the case of the annual Taste of Garrett County event at Wisp Resort.
FARM FRESH: Local ingredients from orchards and farms make their way into many seasonal entrees at restaurants such as Frederick-based VOLT, where the Executive Chef is cookbook author and former “Top Chef” finalist Bryan Voltaggio, and Baltimore-based Charleston, featuring Executive Chef and TV personality Cindy Wolf.
JUST DESSERTS: Here in the land of Charm City Cakes, star of the former Food Network show “Ace of Cakes,” you must save room for something sweet after lunch or dinner: maybe a slice of multi-layered, chocolate-smothered Smith Island Cake, Maryland’s official dessert. In addition, the state’s Department of Agriculture has launched “Maryland’s Best Ice Cream Trail” to promote seven creameries and dairy farms that produce ice cream and sell it directly to consumers who visit. The trail extends through Berlin, Bel Air, South Mountain and Smithsburg.
VINTAGE DESTINATIONS: Tours, tastings and tantalizing scenery are yours to enjoy around 55 wineries and vineyards. Several wine trails criss-cross Maryland, with one incorporating six wineries in the Frederick area and another spotlighting seven peaceful Southern Maryland properties along the Patuxent River. More fun is uncorked at major wine events in Annapolis, Columbia, Hollywood, Salisbury and Timonium, not to mention the huge Maryland Wine Festival each September in Westminster.
TRUE TO BREW: A new “Toast Our Coast” Delmarva Wine and Ale Trail links Eastern Shore wineries to breweries based around Ocean City and elsewhere. You can also quench your thirst at cozy brewpubs and quality microbreweries from Ellicott City to Frederick, or sample tasty selections during the Maryland Brewer’s Oktoberfest, held at both National Harbor and the Maryland State Fairgrounds in Timonium. More OktoberFest activities occur in other towns, including Annapolis, Gaithersburg, La Plata and Salisbury.
DON’T MISS OUT Fair Hill Stables, found amid 88 miles of equestrian trails in Elkton, provides romantic carriage rides for picnics beside a covered bridge or dinner at the historic Fair Hill Inn, which offers wine flights between each of the meal’s seven courses. Satisfy your hunger for more information about Maryland seafood – including recipes, events and safe-handling instructions – by visiting www.marylandseafood.org, a website of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources Fisheries Service.
Check out these great cookbooks that feature unique and delectable cuisine of Maryland.