November is Shop Local Month. Time to savor the moment.
It’s the perfect time of year to plan a seasonally inspired menu for an intimate gathering of friends, design a gourmet gift basket for the favorite “foodie” in your life, or try a new restaurant. With its many farms and orchards, the Berkshires offers a bounty of fresh local choices to inspire you, and has become home to a creative community of food and drink purveyors who bring their own sophisticated spins to familiar favorites.
Road Trip! Leaf Peeping with a Side of Great Food
Drink in the vibrant colors of the fall foliage and indulge in warm and savory dishes from local eateries. Visit the Craft Food Barn-The Berkshires Take Out Restaurant, in North Adams. Their menu includes artful interpretations of comfort food favorites like Burgers and Mac & Cheese. They serve Breakfast all day, and sell fudge in flavors like English Toffee and Chocolate Cheesecake.
If you’re craving dinner, whether a hearty meal or lighter fare, pull up a chair at Brava Bar in Lenox. You can choose from a curated selection of craft beers to enjoy with tapas, pizza, or a charcuterie plate.
For a fine dining experience with extra sparkle, treat yourself to a visit to The Old Inn on the Green in New Marlborough. Each room has a fireplace and the tables are lit entirely by candlelight.
Gather with Friends at Home
Get started by selecting fresh produce directly from local farmers. Visit a Winter Farmer’s Market in Great Barrington or North Adams to create a dish for an impromptu or “Friendsgiving” gathering. You’ll find everything from hothouse greens, winter squash and apples to pasture-raised eggs, meats, and cheeses.
Keep on keepin’ it local with a trip to the Berkshire Food Co-op in South County. Their specialty food department focuses on local and fair trade options for beer, wine, cider, and cheese. Discover a new favorite wine for yourself or to bring as a host gift. Pick up organic spices like cinnamon and nutmeg to enhance a slow-baked, caramelized butternut squash dish to savor on a chilly day.
For a unique wine choice, visit Les Trois Emme Winery and Vineyard in New Marlborough and try a bottle of their Stingy Jack’s Pumpkin® Wine. Sip craft beers from Big Elm Brewing in Sheffield—they offer brews for every palate. Their 413 Farmhouse Ale has fun paying homage to traditional flavors while introducing a new twist, incorporating barley, wheat, chamomile, and orange zest. Stop by their taproom for exclusive seasonal drafts like Jack-O-Lion, a pumpkin spiced beer, or Adventures on Marshmallow Island II, a “s’mores stout.”
If you’re a hard cider enthusiasts, Hilltop Orchards in Richmond crafts a JMASH cider that is a robust complement to heartier winter dishes. While you’re there, grab some apples for a pie, and don’t forget a box (or two) of cider donuts to be the hero at your next brunch!
No culinary masterpiece is complete with a delicious dessert. Stop by Guido’s Bakery in Pittsfield and choose a treat from their house-made selection of cakes and cookies.
Create a Berkshire “Foodie” Gift Basket
Make the holidays extra special by composing a gourmet gift basket for a loved one full of delectables you have chosen just for them.
Be sure to include a loaf of bread from Berkshire Mountain Bakery (in Housatonic and Pittsfield.) Their Bread & Chocolate or Cherry Pecan loaf can be paired with a jar of Maple Cream or Maple Butter from Ioka Valley Farm. Choose a locally-produced cheese from High Lawn Farm Creamery Shop in Lee to enjoy with a slice of Berkshire Mountain’s savory Olive & Rosemary loaf. Yum!
Nejaime’s Wine Cellar in Lenox has an extensive selection of libations, as well as nuts, candies, cookies, gourmet crackers, and condiments to complete any gift basket worthy of envy!
The Berkshires makes it easy to sample, enjoy, and share the simple pleasures of great food and delicious drink. Explore the region and discover your new favorite flavors!
Written by Deirdre McKenna.
Read more in the Berkshire Blog.