The Hudson Valley, a rural haven nestled between New York City and Albany, is becoming a leading player in the farm-to-table movement. With a host of restaurants offering locally-sourced produce and a new generation of farmers, cheese-makers and winemakers with a commitment to sustainable agriculture, there’s a slew of dining options.
If you need to get out of the city and connect with nature, jump in your car, hop on a train, or grab a Zipcar. Head for Hudson (filled with antique stores and restaurants, and home to a Saturday farmer’s market) and then branch out towards Ghent and Chatham, or explore the Hudson Berkshire Beverage Trail, which borders Massachusetts. Featuring five wineries, a brewery and a distillery, this diverse collection of artisanal producers also offers handmade cheese, estate grown produce and delicious baked goods.
A drive along this route offers scenic views of panoramic vistas between the Berkshires and the Catskills, with glimpses of the majestic Hudson River threading its way through the fertile valley floor. Visit Chatham Brewing for small-batch ales, Brookview Station Winery for their Whistle Stop White, Furnace Brook Winery for their Sparkling Moscatel, Harvest Spirits for their apple-based Core Vodka, Hudson-Chatham Winery for award-winning wines, Les Trois Emme for the unique tasting experience, and Tousey Winery for their delicious Cabernet Franc.
Ca’Mea Ristorante: Chef Max Cenci uses local and imported Italian ingredients to recreate the cuisine of his native Tuscany. All pasta is house-made, and specials may include sweet potato and ricotta ravioli with butter and sage, or lamb chops Milanese with bruschetta topping. A focused otherwise-all-Italian wine list is complemented by selections from Hudson-Chatham Winery. The adjoining Inn at Ca’Mea offers nine stylishly renovated rooms in walking distance of all Hudson has to offer.
Swoon Kitchen Bar: Chef Jeff Gimmel brings local and sustainable to a new level, including making his own sausage and chorizo used in entrees and appetizers. With almost 250 labels on the wine list, there is something to delight every wine lover—including delicious Ata Rangi Pinot Noir 2006 from New Zealand. Cheese selections include Twin Maple Farms Hudson Red, a delicious semi-soft raw milk cheese that has rapidly become a favorite downstate and up.
Hudson-Chatham Winery: Charming owners Carlo and Dominique DeVito and winemaker (and New York State grape expert) Steve Casscles lovingly create award-winning wines using distinctive NY varietals. Their crisp Seyval Blanc is estate grown, and the luscious Empire Red is a blend of Hudson Valley Baco Noir, Long Island Merlot, and Finger Lakes Cabernet Franc. Elegant, full-bodied Baco Noir 2008 is an excellent companion to grilled meat or game. Their bright and airy tasting room is always filled with visitors who know fine wines and return often. The DeVito’s also produce a line of elegant fortified dessert wines under their Paperbirch label.
Kinderhook Farm: Pasture-raised, grass-fed cattle and sheep, exotic egg-laying hens and free-range chickens have the run of several hundred rolling acres of idyllic meadow. Shop at the farm store, tour the farm, or book the graciously restored barn for a farm-stay.
Blue Plate: Comfort food that’s actually good for you! Savor home-style classics in a window-lined room with butcher-paper topped tables. Cheese is sourced from Old Chatham Sheepherding Company, and organic produce is from Little Seed Gardens in Chatham.
Chatham B&B: Chef/ and owner Chris Sisinni cooks a gourmet breakfast each morning for eight lucky people at his quaint guest house, while later in the day, he can be found cooking for hundreds at nearby Lipperas’ Restaurant.