Bucks County Food Tours, which launched last spring, showcases the best food artisans of the bucolic county by bringing guests behind the scenes. They prefer to host smaller groups (think five or six people), so the tour stays personal. There are a variety of itineraries to choose from, or the owners will create one for you. Meet heirloom pigs and their owners, talk with charcuterie makers, learn how to make ice cream, focus on veggies, or see how cheese is made. Tour guides will pick you up in Bucks County or at one of their recommended B&Bs. Includes lunch. (215-794-4191, buckscountyfoodtours.com.)
There's so much more to Washington, D.C. than museums. Experience the gastronomic side of the city with DC Metro Food Tours. Whether focused on historic Alexandria, trendy Georgetown, the Eastern Market, or Little Ethiopia, all tours come with many tidbits of history, behind-the-scenes access, and plenty of samples. (202-683-8847, dcmetrofoodtours.com.)
Rocky Acre is a charming, 200-year-old Lancaster County dairy farm and B&B, where sweet innkeepers Galen and Eileen Benner (and their brood) will wake your family early to bottle-feed the calves, collect the eggs, and then sit down to a (literally) farm-fresh breakfast with homemade baked goods and preserves. There also are hayrides and plenty of places to take in the fall foliage. Rooms are modernized. (1020 Pinkerton Rd., Mount Joy, Pa., 717-653-4449, rockyacre.com.)
Kids and parents will learn where their food comes from at Flint Hill Farm, a certified raw-milk dairy. Guests can be farmers for the day and help with chores, take a cheese-making class, and go horseback riding. Breakfast is filled with goods produced on-site, including yogurt and milk, as well as homemade breads. In the fall, there are hayrides and a pumpkin patch, too. (1922 Flint Hill Rd., Coopersburg, Pa., 610-838-2828, flinthill-farm.org.)
Classes worth a trip
We already love the classes at Albertson Cooking School, so why not make a luxurious weekend of it? On Nov. 6 and 7, book a weekend at the beautiful Hamanassett B&B & Carriage House in nearby Chester Heights, and you'll be well fed. Start your days with breakfast in the sunny inn, then head off to the teaching kitchen to prepare a traditional English holiday meal (beef, Yorkshire pudding, trimmings). Afterward, sit down to supper with local wines. Students go home with a nice swag bag, too. If that weekend doesn't work for you, check the website for more classes in the winter and spring. ($750 per couple, $675 per single, $275 for the class only, call for directions, 610-459-3000, hamanassett.com.)
Sheppard Mansion is a well-renovated B&B that has become a local food haven. Facilities include the well-stocked Carriage House Market, a 100-acre farm, and a restaurant, helmed by chef Andrew Little, where Pennsylvania Dutch classics such as dumplings and scrapple get a fresh, gourmet twist. On Nov. 13, Little is hosting a holiday cooking demonstration at which guests will learn how to liven up their holiday meals. (117 Frederick St., Hanover, Pa., 717-633-8075, sheppardmansion.com.)
A historic estate (co-owned by Sir Richard Branson) in northern New Jersey was recently turned into Natirar, a pastoral resort, restaurant, modern culinary education center (with gorgeous teaching kitchens), and wine school. There are many great classes to choose from: Make pizza, discover the secrets to cooking fish, go to a one-day culinary-basics boot camp, brush up on your pie crusts, or get tips on making an effortless holiday buffet. Stay for dinner at the restaurant, enjoy the grounds, and shack up at the nearby Bernards Inn. (2 Main St., Peapack, N.J., 908-901-9500, natirar.com.)
The cranberry might not get as much attention as the tomato, but it's still one of the most important things coming out of the Garden State. Celebrate it this weekend at the free 28th annual Cranberry Festival in Chatsworth, about an hour's drive from Philly. Take a tour of a working bog to see how the berries are harvested, scoop up some crafts, and get your fill of sweet and savory festival fare. (Oct. 15-16, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Downtown Chatsworth, N.J., cranfest.org.)
Also this weekend in Frederick, Md., is Summers Farm's Pumpkin Festival. Picking your own gourds is only the beginning. The festival includes seed-spitting, pumpkin pie-eating, and doughnut-eating contests, as well as an apple cannon, face painting, and live music. If you can't make it this weekend, the patch, petting zoo, and huge corn maze are open all fall. Bring flashlights to try the corn maze at night, along with campfires and weenie roasts. (Oct. 15-16, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., 5614 Butterfly Lane, Frederick, Md., summersfarm.com.)
Makes 4 servings
6 tablespoons butter
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped carrot
1 cup chopped onion
2 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped
3 cups chicken broth
2½ cups beef broth
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried sage
1 teaspoon dried basil
15½ ounce can chestnuts in
water, drained, or 1 pound fresh chestnuts, peeled
½ cup Madeira
1 cup whipping cream
Salt and pepper
1. In a large soup pot over medium-low heat, melt butter. Add celery, carrot, onion, and potatoes. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are very soft but not brown.
2. Add chicken and beef broth, and herbs. Reserve ½ cup chestnuts for garnish, add remaining chestnuts to soup. Simmer, covered, for 20 minutes.
3. Cool slightly, puree in a blender. Return soup to pot, add Madeira and cream and simmer 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Crumble remaining chestnut and serve as garnish.
Note: If desired, freeze or refrigerate soup after blending, and add Madeira and cream before serving.
-From Albertson Cooking School
Per serving: 648 calories, 12 grams protein, 78 grams carbohydrates, 6 grams sugar, 30 grams fat, 79 milligrams cholesterol, 1,239 milligrams sodium, 5 grams dietary fiber.
Makes 6 servings
¾ cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
3 eggs, room temperature
¾ cup milk, room
½ cup pan drippings from roast prime rib of beef
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In a large bowl, sift together flour and salt. In another bowl, beat the eggs and milk together until light and foamy. Stir in the flour mixture until smooth. The batter will be like a very thin pancake batter.
2. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 2 hours (for best results, refrigerate overnight).
3. Pour the cooked prime rib drippings into a baking pan or muffin tins (ensuring at least 1 teaspoon of drippings is in each muffin-tin well). Place the pan in the oven to get the drippings smoking hot (about 5 minutes).
4. Remove the prepared cold batter from the refrigerator and whisk thoroughly. Quickly pour the batter into the hot pan. If using muffin pan, fill each well 1/3 full. The fat should sizzle when you pour the batter. Cook in oven until puffed and dry, approximately 15 to 20 minutes. Do not open the oven door during baking.
-From Albertson Cooking School
Per serving: 183 calories, 8 grams protein, 25 grams carbohydrates, trace sugar, 4 grams fat, 106 milligrams cholesterol, 36 milligrams sodium, 1 gram dietary fiber.
Standing Rib Roast
Makes 6-8 servings
4-5 pound prime rib roast (standing rib roast) at room temperature
2 tablespoons butter at
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Pat the rib roast dry. Smear the cut ends only with butter. Do not salt the roast, as salt draws out moisture from the meat while cooking.
2. Place the roast, ribs down, in a heavy metal roasting pan. Sear the roast for 15 minutes. Turn the oven down to 325 degrees and cook, uncovered, for 60 to 70 minutes, until a meat thermometer, placed in the thickest part of the beef, reaches 120 degrees. Baste with pan drippings every 30 minutes.
3. Remove from oven, cover with foil, and let rest 15 to 20 minutes before serving.
Note: To hold rib roast until serving time, turn off oven and leave door ajar while the roast rests for 15 minutes. Return beef to the oven, close oven door, and hold for up to an hour.
- From Albertson Cooking School
Per serving (based on 8): 654 calories, 67 grams protein, no carbohydrates, no sugar, 61 grams fat, 77 milligrams cholesterol, 132 milligrams sodium, no dietary fiber.
Makes 6 servings
3 cups shredded potatoes,
1/3 cup melted butter
1 cup diced ham
½ cup shredded cheese
¼ cup diced green pepper
½ cup milk
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spread hash browns in a pie plate to form a crust. Drizzle with butter. Bake 25 minutes.
2. Lower oven temperature to 350 degrees. Layer ham, cheese, and green pepper, if using, on potatoes. Whisk together remaining ingredients and pour over top. Bake 25-30 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.
-From Rocky Acre Farm B&B
Per serving: 267 calories, 12 grams protein, 14 grams carbohydrates, 2 grams sugar, 18 grams fat, 120 milligrams cholesterol, 789 milligrams sodium, 2 grams dietary fiber.
Contact staff writer Ashley Primis at 215-854-2244, email@example.com, or @ashleyprimis on Twitter.