Category Archives: Food


Bring on Back-to-School!

Lancaster County is back to school, and the crisp days of autumn are right around the corner. Everyone is settling back into routines of homework, activities, and sports. To keep up the excitement and anticipation of a new “school day” why not add some of these fall recipes to your daily routine or lunch box repertoire.

With the help from The Australian Walkabout Inn B&B, Harvest Moon B&B, and King’s Cottage B&B, Discover Lancaster has gathered some easy-to-make recipes for weekday breakfasts and lunchtime snacks. These seasonal treats are a great excuse to head over to Central Market, or your favorite produce stand to pick up some fresh, local ingredients.

We also have some County-themed lunch box notes to tuck in with your treats. They are guaranteed to bring a smile to any little face- making a case of the Mondays, or a tough math test a little better.

Here’s to a happy and healthy school year!


September – A Month of Fairs & Festivals

Fairs, festivals, and harvest events are plentiful as fall begins in Lancaster County. The air begins to get crisper, and the weekends are filled with autumn fun.


It’s time to celebrate a favorite Lancaster County sweet treat – the whoopie pie! Hershey Farm Restaurant & Inn hosts their annual Whoopie Pie Festival on September 10, complete with a whoopie pie eating contest, a treasure hunt, and the chance to see the largest whoopie pie ever made.

With over 100 whoopie pie flavors to sample, festival-goers can snack on the classic combinations like chocolate with vanilla cream and pumpkin, or try unique match-ups like strawberry with vanilla crème and carrot cake. New for this year –

Sweet festivities take place from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM, and admission is free.


Held in Downtown Lancaster on September 11, the 4th Annual Latin American Cultural Festival honors the cultures, customs, art, and cuisine of Latin American countries. Folk dances and live music will be performed on the stage in Binn’s Park. Bring the whole family for arts & crafts and activities for children in the kid’s corner.

This celebration takes place from 2:00 to 9:00 PM, and admission is free.


Football season means it’s time for tailgating! Kitchen Kettle Village commemorates the beginning of the sport’s season with their Tailgating Festival, featuring tasty snacks and family fun along the village walk ways. There will be tasty tailgating food samples, cooking demonstrations, a bounce house, pumpkin bowling, live music, and even a parade through the village.

Wear your favorite team jersey and head over to this free event that will take place on Friday, September 16 from 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM and Saturday, September 17 from 10:00 AM to 5:30 PM.


On September 24, National Watch and Clock Museum is hosting its second annual Cloktoberfest, alongside Smithsonian Magazine’s Free Museum Day. This fall-themed event consists of behind-the-scenes museum tours, clock and watch evaluations, make-and-take a clock workshops, steampunk fashion show, book sales, silent auction, food trucks, beer, and more.

Perfect for lovers of history and all things horological, this event takes place from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM.

Fair Time!

Town fairs are plentiful during September across the county, boasting agricultural exhibits, contests, rides, parades, and fair food. Community is celebrated through parades and exhibits where vegetables, fruits, canned goods, arts & crafts, and more are displayed for viewing. Get ready for some sure-fire entertainment, family fun, and fantastic food.

Streets and fairgrounds are transformed into social hubs in the following towns this month: York (September 9-18), Denver (September 13-17), Solanco (September 14-16), Ephrata (September 20-24), West Lampeter (September 28-30) and New Holland (September 28 – October 1).

So whether you’re local or visiting from out-of-town, there’s plenty to do in Lancaster County this month! For a complete list, visit our online events calendar.

Happy Autumn!

Brunch Blog

Countryside Breakfast or Downtown Brunch?

Rise and shine – it’s time to start your day in Lancaster County! Treat yourself to the most important meal of the day.

Breakfast or brunch – which will you choose?

For a Countryside Breakfast:

A traditional breakfast featuring eggs, home fries, pancakes and other favorites can be found at many of the local PA Dutch restaurants and buffets. Try a little bit of everything with an all-you-care-to-eat smorgasbord or order off the menu of tasty classics.

Here are some favorite breakfast spots across the county:

Shady Maple: features two hundred feet of deliciously authentic Pennsylvania Dutch cooking. Be sure to try one of their house-made doughnuts or pastries!

Oregon Dairy Country Restaurant & Buffet: serving a full breakfast menu Monday through Sunday plus a breakfast buffet Friday, Saturday and Sunday

DJ’s Taste of the 50’s: classic breakfast dishes served in a vintage diner setting

For a Downtown Brunch:

Brunch is a delicious early afternoon meal typically served on Saturday and Sunday, and featuring dishes that combine the best of lunch and breakfast. Tasty brunch spots are popping up across Downtown Lancaster, serving up brunch burgers, quiche, chicken and waffles, and cocktails.

Explore Lancaster City and stop by one of these great brunch spots:

Annie Bailey’s: a traditional Irish pub serving classic Irish breakfast items and savory lunch burgers and sandwiches

Aussie and the Fox: blending American and Australian cuisine and creating delicious brunch dishes and cocktails

Prince Street Café: serving breakfast or lunch all day, along with hot and cold espresso and coffee drinks

Bon appetite!

Courtesy of Shady Maple

Shady Maple – Where Food is a Destination!

One of the popular ways to enjoy delicious Pennsylvania Dutch cuisine is with a meal at a buffet, or Smorgasbord as they’re called in Lancaster County. With a craving for a hearty, home-style breakfast, I took a trip to Lancaster County’s largest smorgasbord, Shady Maple. From donuts, pastries and fresh fruit to eggs prepared your way, there is truly something for everyone.  I had bacon and their savory hash brown casserole on my mind, and added creamed chipped beef over home fries and a doughnut to my plate (don’t worry – I ate LOTS of vegetables for lunch). At the grill areas, they make pancakes and waffles with a variety of mix-ins and toppings and eggs prepared to order, eggs Benedict and omelets. Serving a variety of egg options, Shady Maple goes through 3,000 eggs every Saturday – WOW!

When lunch and dinner roll around, their buffet features an extensive salad bar, soup, meats, cheeses, homemade bread and fabulous grill options. At lunchtime you can find hamburgers, hot dogs, and corn fritters, to name a few. Their dinner grill options vary through the week with options like Prime Rib on Wednesdays and BBQ on Thursdays.

After my delicious breakfast, it was time to do a little shopping (and walking) in their 40,000 sq. ft. gift shop, located in the same building as the smorgasbord. The gift shop features furniture, games and toys for kids, jewelry, Christmas ornaments and collectibles, canned jellies and jams and so much more! They even sell merchandise featuring their mascots Whoop-e-pie and T-bone steak.

Shady Maple began with humble roots as a road side farm market almost 46 years ago, growing to the 110,000 sq. ft. farmers market it is today. Along with standard groceries, the farmers market sells local produce, meats smoked in-house and delicious baked goods produced in their own on-site bakery. My favorites are their apple fritters and maple bacon long johns. Yes- they put bacon on a doughnut, and yes- it is absolutely scrumptious. In addition to donuts, the Shady Maple bakery produces pies, whoopie pies in a variety of flavors, specialty breads, sticky buns and so much more.


Shady Maple is a Lancaster County staple and worth a trip! Stop by for a meal at Shady Maple Smorgasbord or PA Dutch style baked goods at the Farm Market next time you’re in the area.

Speckled Hen Blog

Speckled Hen Coffee

Tucked between the historic bed & breakfasts and train attractions of Strasburg is a quaint café by the name of Speckled Hen Coffee. Excited to try something new, I ventured there for lunch and a caffeinated afternoon pick-me-up.

Speckled Hen Coffee is located on Main Street in Strasburg with ample parking for patrons. Upon entering the café, I noticed the crisp, clean décor and ample natural light. There is a patio out front for al fresco dining on the warmer days. A room next to the coffee bar and main dining area features a table with toys for children to play with while the parents enjoy their coffee. Speckled Hen Coffee features beautifully finished concrete floors with tables near the large windows where you can watch the occasional horse and buggy trot by.

Their breakfast menu including omelets, breakfast sandwiches, and house-made baked oatmeal (just to name a few) is served all day, but I was in the mood for lunch and opted for the Turkey Bacon Jam sandwich with a side salad and a latte. Not only was the latte beautiful, but it was also hot and rich – perfect! They source their coffee from Passenger Coffee, a coffee roasting company located in Downtown Lancaster which speaks to their passion for local products and the Lancaster County community.

From the minute I ordered my sandwich, I couldn’t wait for the first bite… and it was flawless. Melted Gouda, turkey and bacon jam were married between two perfectly pressed pieces of wheat-berry bread. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. Chips are offered as a side, but the fresh, tender lettuce they source from Meck’s Produce paired with their delicious balsamic dressing made me forget chips even existed. They take pride in their food by using fresh, local products and making many items in house, like their bacon jam.


Turkey Bacon Jam sandwich with a side salad… Yum!

After a savory lunch, I was longing for something sweet. The pastry display was filled with sweet treats from macaroons to coffee cake. I opted for one of their special desserts this spring, lemon-lavender cake. The lavender created a floral aroma while the lemon added a refreshing element. It was a uniquely delicious treat, especially on a bright spring day. Also inspired by the flowers of spring, they have added a lavender latte and lavender and rose sodas to their menu for the season.

Lemon Lavendar Cake

Lemon Lavendar Cake


During my visit I had the honor of chatting with the café’s co-owner about the inspiration behind the café and its name. Their love for celebrating what makes everyone unique, their community and coffee inspired the name “Speckled Hen Coffee.” They show their community spirit through hosting Music Fridays to showcase local musicians and partnering with Zolé Art Factory to host paint nights to bring coffee, art and people together.

I can’t wait to visit Speckled Hen Coffee again, especially for their Wednesday Burger Night to experience their selection of gourmet burgers and dessert options. Did I mention they have house-made desserts AND Carmen and David’s ice cream?

Whether it’s time for breakfast, lunch or dinner, or even just a quick cup of coffee, check out Speckled Hen Coffee for yourself!

Image Courtesy of Kauffman's Fruit Farm

Kauffman’s Famous Fruit Farm & Market

Kauffman’s Fruit Farm & Market has been family-owned and operated since the founder, Amos L. (A.L.) Kauffman planted the first fruit trees in 1911. Today, over 100 years later, the 3rd, 4th, and 5th generations run the business; and the orchards are now producing over 135 varieties of tree fruits on 100 acres. Pretty impressive!

When A.L. built a packing house in 1937, he made it larger than most other buildings in the area because he believed that his business would expand exponentially. He had dreams of growing the best tasting fruit in the region and building a successful business that would continue on for generations.

In 1954, a critical part of his vision was fulfilled when his five sons became business partners. A. L. Kauffman & Sons began a new chapter.

In A.L.’s lifetime alone, the orchard grew to have 55 acres of apples, 35 acres of peaches, 3 acres of pears, and 4 acres of plums and cherries.

For the Kauffman family, hard work, skill-perfecting, family traditions, and fond memories have marked every milestone, every season, and every year of their growing business. Picking apples in the orchard, making cider, assisting in the farm market, and managing a growing business have all been key to the family’s success.

While they are thankful for their rich history, strong values, and meaningful traditions, they continue to grow and adapt to the needs of their customers. They proudly combine values of the past with visions for the future.

Because the Kauffman family loves their business, the local community, and each customer, they promise to continue growing food responsibly, sustainably, and healthfully for many more generations.

Image Courtesy of Kauffman's Fruit Farm

Image Courtesy of Kauffman’s Fruit Farm

To learn more about the market and Kauffman’s delicious produce, read Christina’s post.

Learn more about the Kauffman family or purchase their 100th-anniversary keepsake book, FAITH, FAMILY & FRUIT.

Be sure to check out other iconic Lancaster County hot-spots such as Shady Maple Smorgasbord, Strasburg Rail Road, and Lancaster Central Market, and Green Dragon.

Stoltzfus Farm Restaurant 01

What Exactly is Chow-Chow?

Chow-Chow, not to be confused with the breed of dog hailing from China, is a sweet and sour mix of pickled vegetables often served as a side dish next to PA Dutch classic cuisine.

Not only is chow-chow delicious, it’s also a resourceful use of odd amounts of vegetables left at the end of harvest, giving it the nickname “end of season relish.” Left-over carrots, onions, cauliflower, cucumbers, celery, corn, peppers, beans, etc. are canned together with a sweet and sour pickling liquid.

While the origin of the name isn’t officially known, there are a few theories. Some believe it comes from the French word for cabbage, Chou. Others say it comes from the Indian squash, chayote, which is also known as chow-chow.

Regional flavors and variations do exist, including the less-sweet southern version and varieties that are chopped and shredded.

Pick up a jar of the Pennsylvania Dutch version and try it for yourself! Find chow-chow along with many other jams, sauces and pickles at Intercourse Canning Company.

Thank you to Intercourse Canning Company assisting with the chow-chow facts.


Waltz Wine Dinner at The General Sutter Inn

A perfect ending to the first day of Spring!

Eating out and Dining Out are two totally different things. Dining is often reserved for that special someone or group of friends looking for a special night out together. Additionally, if you’re thinking fine dining you’re thinking extraordinary food and drink. The Waltz Wine Dinner at the General Sutter Inn had it all!

For Cheryl and I, in recent years, it’s one of our all-time favorite dining experiences. We sign up the minute we see the announcement. This was our third and we’ll certainly be back again!

We arrived just after 5:30. There were ten tables of eight in the newly renovated ballroom at The General Sutter Inn. We were seated with three couples who naturally love good wines and fine foods so there were immediate common interests. From there the exchanges comfortably drifted to unique local experiences, world travels and a host of common interests. The conversations were easy and relaxed. We had a wonderful time together throughout the evening.

Jan & Kim Waltz, the proprietors of The Waltz Estate Vineyards are wonderful hosts. After they greeted us and thanked everyone for coming Jan talked about the uniqueness of their vineyards. It was unmistakably obvious that Jan is both passionate and meticulous about their wines as he articulated the history, the processes, the love and care he pours into his craft. Their list of awards is long, distinguished and well deserved. “The General Sutter Inn was the first local establishment to offer our wines,” said Kim, “when we first talked about a pairing the General Sutter said if we can get 35 people to come we can make it work. Tonight, again, we’re sold out to a packed house of 80!” Applause filled the room.

When asked, “which comes first the food or the wine?” Executive Chef Robert Brynes responded without hesitation, “The wine!  I build the menu from there.” And what a menu he prepared! Along with Chef de Cuisine Nicholas Hooton and their team, they prepared a delightful 5 course dinner. See the menu and the pairings below. They took fabulous wines and paired them with dishes that drew out the unique flavors of each. It was a magnificent experience. The wines by themselves are wonderful. The dishes by themselves were outstanding. Put them together and it was absolutely extraordinary!

Every dish with every wine was expertly paired. The aromas drew you in and the presentation made your mouth water. A taste of the dish, a sip of the wine. They served three whites and two reds. I’m not a big white wine fan but each of the pairings was exquisite. I enjoyed every course and each glass of wine. Something special happens when the pairing is done just right. Red, white it didn’t matter, everything was delicious. It’s hard to describe, you simply have to experience it.

Around 8:30 dessert and the final wine was served. Three delightful hours with new friends, great food and wonderful wines concluded with a sweet and savory taste to remember. It was a fabulous evening!

As our hosts thanked us once again for coming they mentioned that Waltz Estate Winery & The General Sutter Inn are planning 3 pairings a year. Check their websites for dates and be sure to reserve your seats.  If you are from out of the area, I’d suggest booking a room at the General Sutter Inn and make a weekend of it. They offer both historic early American rooms and contemporary Rock Lititz rooms. Lititz is a wonderful small town and Lancaster is a beautiful place to visit.

If you enjoy fine wines and fine dining you will love a General Sutter and Waltz Wine paring. Watch the announcements and sign up early. I know we will.

Wines by Waltz Estate Vineyards
Dinner by The General Sutter Inn
Lititz, Pa

First Course
Cranberry Relish, Brie & Toasted Almonds in Warm Puff Pastry
*Paired with Stiegal Rose

Second Course
Pan Seared Striped Bass with Roasted Fennel Puree & Spiced Green Apple Compote
*Paired with Sauvignon Blanc

Third Course
Pappardelle Pasta with Braised Pork Ragu
*Paired with Barred Rock Red

Fourth Course
Lollypop Lamb Chops with Moroccan Cous Cous & Parsnip Ribbons
*Paired with Baron Red

Final Course
Warm Peach Cobbler with Oatmeal Streusel Topping & Whipped Cream
*Paired with Seasonal Moscato

Makes your mouth water just looking over the menu doesn’t it. The experience is everything you might imagine and maybe just a little bit more!

Courtesy of Cameron Estate Inn & Restaurant

A Romantic Leap Get Away!

Whoever gets paid makes that plans. That’s the deal Cheryl and I have for date night. I got paid so I made the plans. I wanted a quiet get away. A place where we could have a fabulous dinner and hear each other talk. Casual elegance is a good description for what I had in mind. In addition, I wanted to be able to walk to dinner and back to our room where ever that may be.

We’d been talking about Cameron Estate Inn and Restaurant in Mt. Joy because our daughter will be getting married at the estate next January. We’d been there for dinner a couple of times and after each visit I thought it would be wonderful to be able to simply walk upstairs and spend the night. I called, made a dinner reservation for Saturday at 6:00 p.m. and booked the Donegal Garratte room on the third floor.

We arrived just before 6:00 p.m. At check-in they let us know our dinner table was ready and that we could come down at any time. We meandered upstairs, changed and made our way to the restaurant. The Inn, an early American mansion set on a 15 acre estate is absolutely adorable. It’s decorated with antiques and feels like a step back in time. There’s a sense of authenticity about it.

The hostess who was also the waitress remembered us from the last time we’d been there and that was some time ago. She seated us at a corner table in the sunroom so were surrounded by windows on two sides. Our view looked out over the estate. We got to watch it get dark and the lights around the mansion come up. It was awesome.

We started off with a ten year old 2006 Kendal Jackson Reserve, a Cabernet Sauvignon. The menu was incredible, as always.  From past experience we knew whatever we chose would be wonderful. The hostess recommended the pepper encrusted Lamb Porterhouse and the crab cakes. I got the lamb. Oh my goodness, it was amazing. It came with roasted vegetables and an unbelievable cherry reduction. Cheryl had the crab cakes. She loves crab cakes but these were over the top. I wrapped up with Crème Brulee and Cheryl had a hot chocolate spice cake that was to die for.

As the sun went down and the lights came on the estate took on a romantic glow. There was just enough light for a walk. We strolled along the foot paths and stopped momentarily on a small bridge to watch the light bounce off the stream and the water rush by.

We collapsed in a high four poster bed in our room at the end of the hall on the third floor. The next morning breakfast; a choice of quiche, pancakes and yogurt parfait was served at 8:00. Afterward we took another walk around the estate, we put our things together and made the 25 minute drive home.

It was a wonderful overnight stay. We didn’t go far. The Estate was both historic and romantic. There were people around but it wasn’t crazy. The staff was cheerful and engaging. Whether you are local or from out of the area a stay at the Cameron Estate Inn and dinner in the restaurant is a perfect choice for an overnight get away.


A Tuesday Tradition

Shrove Tuesday, Mardi Gras, Fat Tuesday… All are names for the day before the first day of Lent.

Here in Lancaster County, we celebrate this Tuesday with FASNACHTS, delightful treats that aren’t your run-of-the-mill doughnut.

This tradition stems from the need to use up the lard, sugar, butter and eggs prior to the beginning of Lent since these lavish items were typically given up. Not to be confused with a standard glazed or powdered sugar doughnut, many fasnachts are made with mashed potatoes and fried in animal fat making them less sweet, but extra delicious!

Growing up in Lancaster County, I fondly remember the days of coming home from school to see a box of fasnachts on the kitchen counter, never really understanding the rhyme and reason behind them. Now, much like pork and sauerkraut on New Year’s Day, this is a tradition I can’t pass up. I stopped by Lancaster Central Market on my way in to work for my fasnacht from one of the bakery stands who were displaying rows and rows of fried perfection. It was just as delicious as I remember – slightly crispy on the outside with a fluffy center. I prefer ones rolled in powdered sugar, but am sure other variations are just as tasty.

Bakeries and churches across the county will be making fasnachts for the occasion including Oregon Dairy, Achenbach’s Pastry, Bird-in-Hand Bakery and Shady Maple. Stop by and try one for yourself!

Happy Fasnacht Day!

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