Category Archives: Food

Iconic Desserts of Lancaster

With National Dessert Day on October 14, and let’s be honest – every day when your sweet tooth strikes – we’ve gathered our favorite desserts that have roots in Lancaster. Whether you’re roaming around Central Market, or venturing to bakeries in our small towns, you’re sure to stumble upon these sweet treats that capture the comforts of the county.

Whoopie Pies

A favorite for locals and visitors alike, the whoopie pie is a classic PA Dutch treat. Legend has it that whoopie pies were first made from leftover cake batter, and those who found this treat in their lunch pails would shout “whoopie!” – Hence the name.

This treat is made from two cake-like cookies with cream in the center. The traditional chocolate cake with vanilla cream version is still quite popular, with new tasty variations debuting over the years.

Where to find them: Hershey Farms Restaurant in Strasburg, Shady Maple in East Earl, and Bird-in-Hand Bakery & Café in Bird-in-Hand

Shoo-Fly Pie

Me oh my – it’s shoo-fly pie! This fluffy molasses dessert is a Lancaster tradition that got its name because the molasses attracts flies. As the pie cools on the window sill, you’d constantly be shooing the flies away.

Two versions of this pie can be found around the county – wet bottom and dry bottom. The wet bottom version is cake-like on top with a gooey custard consistency underneath. If you prefer a cake-like consistency through-out, opt for the dry bottom version.

Where to find it: Dutch Haven in Ronks, Good ‘N Plenty in Smoketown, and Bird-in-Hand Bake Shop in Bird-in-Hand

Ice Cream

Not only is Lancaster home to Turkey Hill Dairy, who has been churning up ice cream since 1980, it’s also home to a plethora of small business whipping up artisan ice cream made with local dairy products.

Whether in a cup, a cone, or blended into a milkshake, ice cream is a tasty treat year round. Find unique flavors like Chai Stroopie at Lancaster Sweet Shoppe or Pumpkin Pie at Bird-in-Hand Bakery & Café.

Where to find it: Fox Meadows Creamery in Ephrata, Lapp Valley Farm in New Holland, Strasburg Country Store & Creamery in Strasburg (in addition to the two mentioned above)

Apple Dumplings

Just in time for fall, this local favorite combines orchard-fresh fruit and rich, buttery pastry dough. Apple Dumplings begin popping up on bakery menus especially when the apple harvest is at its peak.

Simplicity is key with this dessert. Cored apples are wrapped in a simple, butter pastry dough then baked with cinnamon, brown sugar, and of course, more butter, and served either alone or ala mode.

Where to find them: Kauffman’s Fruit Farm in Bird-in-Hand, Byer’s Butterflake Bakery in Leola, and Zig’s Bakery at Central Market and in Lititz

Lancaster Locals’ Favorite Coffee Spots & Cafes

Coffee, café, java, cup-of-joe – Lancaster is no stranger to coffee shops, in fact we have over 70 coffee shops and cafes around the county- including 9 that roast their own beans! We talked with some Lancaster locals to ask them for their tips on the best places. Read the list below for a new suggestion on where to grab your next cup, it may become your new favorite!

Ryan S. – Passenger
7 W. King St., Lancaster, PA 17602 | passengercoffee.com
“I mean, Passenger is definitely the best. I like it for its philosophy about roasting – nothing is too dark or burnt, they excel at bringing out unique flavor profiles in each roast. The options are on point, from cold brew to pour overs. The space itself is modern and beautiful, there’s really nothing like it in the city. It brings a little bit of the west coast vibe to our town.”

Jordan H. – Passenger
“I love Passenger, but those $1 refills from Mean Cup give them a run for their money.”

Ryan M. – Prince Street Café
15 N. Prince St., Lancaster, PA 17602 | princestreetcafe.com
“We have some great coffee and cafes in this little city, but I think for me my favorite is still Prince Street Café. It probably has a lot to do with the nostalgia of the place. It is where I use to have my first client meetings when I was starting up my business. The coffee is consistently great, the food is excellent, and the eclectic din of conversation provides for a great environment to meet with a friend, connect with a client or get some last-minute studying done before your next final. Prince Street Café feels authentic and well lived in… it feels like home.”

Amber S.Mean Cup or Buzz
398 Harrisburg Ave. #200, Lancaster, PA 17603 and at Lancaster Central Market| meancup.com
“I can’t decide between Buzz and Mean Cup. When it comes to coffee at Central Market, I am fiercely loyal to Mean Cup. But on non-Market days, my downtown go-to is Buzz.”

Annie W. Buzz
36 W. King St., Lancaster, PA 17603 | eatabuzz.com
“My vote is cast for Buzz. I’m always greeted with a cheery hello and there’s something fun about walking up to their window. The coffee is only one size but it just so happens it’s the right size for me – large. They’re there for me when I need them.”

Katie W. Café One Eight
18 W. Orange St., Lancaster, PA 17603 | cafe1eight.com
“I love the calming environment and all of the natural light in Café One Eight. I highly recommend trying their pesto breakfast egg-sandwich, or their avocado toast with your coffee  delicious!”

Dana D. Copper Cup
922 Columbia Ave, Lancaster, PA 17603 | coppercup.co
“I love Copper Cup Coffee in Lancaster.  It’s one of the few coffee shops that has the option of hanging out and enjoying their unique vibe inside or zipping through their drive through window if you’re in a hurry.”

Ally H. Courtyard Café on Main
349 Main St., Denver, PA 17517 | courtyardcafeonmain.com
“One of my new favorites is Courtyard Café on Main in Denver. It has a lot of charm – from their outside courtyard to the sense of community felt throughout the café. They put a lot of thought into their food menu, as they feature local, seasonal ingredients and house-made pastries.  Whether I’m in the mood for coffee or tea, they have a great selection of drinks to choose from.”

Sarah L. Speckled Hen
141 E. Main Street, Strasburg, PA 17579 | speckledhencoffee.com
“My vote is for Speckled Hen. I have always loved taking my kids to Strasburg, but mostly just for the train-themed attractions and the creamery. I feel like Strasburg is coming into its own with the new(er) businesses opening up. Speckled Hen is a place where you not only get served excellent food and fresh roasted coffee, you get to mingle with the locals – Amish included. If you’re not into coffee, don’t leave without having the London Fog – it’s one of the best.”

Luke W. Dosie Dough
45 S. Broad St., Lititz, PA 17543 | DosieDough.com
Dosie Dough is my favorite. I love the diversity in people that pass in and out – everybody from a mom running an errand on a Saturday morning, to a bike group stopping by, to the regulars, or just people passing through town. It has its own unique, quirky vibe and is always bustling with activity. I also love walking up the steps off of the beautiful section of Lititz Pike, through the outdoor seating. Everyone just seems so relaxed and content.”

Honorable Mentions:
Tomato Pie Café
Lancaster Coffee Roasters
Café Chocolate
Commonwealth on Queen
Chestnut Hill Café
Café di Vetro
Perkup & Co.
Folklore Coffee & Company
On Orange
Square One

On Tap: Fall Edition

As a fall beer lover – September feels like Christmas morning. The first time I see a pumpkin beer on tap is like waking up to gifts under the tree. It’s a surefire sign that fall is quickly approaching.

Lancaster has some great local brewers, passionately crafting ales, ciders, IPAs, stouts and some tasty seasonal beers to enjoy as the leaves change. [see the full list of local breweries here]

Find these on tap at various locations across the county throughout the season:Baked Pumpkin Ale & Oktoberfest from Lancaster Brewing Company

Lancaster Brewing Company (locals may refer to it as LBC) produces two great fall brews with different flavor profiles. Their Baked Pumpkin Ale (ABV: 7.5%) packs a pumpkiny punch. Its rich flavor features notes of pumpkin pie spice and vanilla, and is best enjoyed while munching on sweet potato fries.

For the lager lover, LBC’s Oktoberfest (ABV: 5.5%) is a full bodied brew that pairs well with pizza and roasted or grilled meats. You’ll find this deep copper beer has a lingering malt sweetness to go along with its full body.

Find both brews at Lancaster Brewing Company in Downtown Lancaster and Lancaster Brewing Co. Taproom & Grill, along with select locations around the county.

Braaaiins! Pumpkin Ale for Zombies from Spring House Brewing Company

Whether you’re a zombie or a human, Braaaiins! Pumpkin Ale (ABV: 7.8%) is for you! Brewed with fresh pumpkin, this is fall in a glass. It features a fresh pumpkin flavor, complimented by autumn spices and bold malt flavors that will warm you up as the air chills.

Head over to Spring House’s Hazel Street Brew Pub or the Taproom on King Street for your taste of Braaaiins!

Madtoberfest from Mad Chef Brewing Company

This season, we’re mad about Mad Chef Brewing Company’s Madtoberfest (ABV: 5.5%) – a clean, crisp seasonal beer featuring notes of caramel and toffee.

You’ll find this brew, along with other hand-crafted ales and tasty all-American fare (including fantastic french fries with a wide array of sauce choices) at Mad Chef’s Brew Pub in East Petersburg.

Pumpkin Cider from Lancaster County Cider

If you prefer cider to beer, we’ve got you covered. Lancaster County Cider has created their seasonal Pumpkin Cider (ABV: 5.5%) by combining spiced apple wine, pumpkin wine, hard cider, and fresh pumpkin puree, and adding a pinch and a dash of cinnamon, nutmeg, pumpkin pie spice, and brown sugar. Truly a glass of autumn, this cider is a great gluten-free alternative to beer.

Try it for yourself at Mount Hope Estate & Winery.

Favorite Lancaster-sourced Farm Fresh Ingredients

Three local chefs share their fall favorites, and which dishes you can find them in

We love when the seasons change in Lancaster for so many reasons – in autumn’s case, the air turns crisp, Mother Nature puts on another show of her vibrant colors, and for my fellow foodies, it allows us to eat flavors that may only come around once a year.

Everybody knows that one of the most-anticipated flavors of fall is pumpkin, but there is so much more to be found at the fall farmers market. Check out these three chef’s favorite autumn dishes, which all include locally sourced ingredients.

John J. Jeffries
Sweet Potatoes & Lamb

Eating seasonally is not the norm in today’s society, but Chef Cavanaugh works closely with local, small, family organic farmers to source produce and meats year-round for John J. Jeffries ever changing menu. For the fall, you’ll find Japanese white sweet potatoes and purple sweet potatoes on the menu. He typically purees the sweet potatoes for an accompaniment to meat, or you’ll find them used in vegetarian entrees.

Lamb is ready to come off the pasture in early fall. You can find the lamb used head-to-tail, so the cuts on the menu vary from braised lamb, lamb leg steaks, and lamb chops.

Forklift & Palate
Beets

For a meal that can go either casual or a little fancy, head to Forklift & Palate, where their fall menu includes locally sourced beets, Brussel sprouts, and winter squash. Who doesn’t love the sweet, vibrant and colorful beet root? This chef’s tip is to choose smaller bulbs, as they tend to have a richer flavor.

The seasonal dish of choice? Try the Beet Salad Appetizer.

Speckled Hen Coffee
Apples

This fall, the Speckled Hen will be featuring local apples from the Meck family with Meck’s Produce. You can find their apples in an Apple Pie Crumble (scratch made) which is delicious as is, or to add another local ingredient, can be served a’la mode with a scoop of vanilla ice cream from Lapp Valley Farms.

If you’re in the mood for something savory, you can enjoy a Harvest Turkey Sandwich, made with bacon, sharp cheddar, apple slices and a drizzle of maple syrup grilled on wheatberry bread.

Back to School Lunches – Lancaster Style!

Hey Lancaster locals – with the kids going back to school at the end of the month, it’s time to gear up for another year of learning. Once you’ve collected your school supplies, stock up on great lunch ideas to keep your kids full and focused.

If your goal for this school year is to break away from the PB & J, try packing some of these local items in your child’s lunch for an authentic, nutritious, and most importantly, kid-friendly Lancaster County mid-day meal.

1] Rolling up turkey or ham is a great alternative to PB & J, and easy for little ones to eat.
(Stoltzfus Meats & Deli)

2] Cube cheese into bite-sized pieces for extra calcium and protein
(September Cheese Farm)

3] To add a crunch to their day, pack an individual size bag of Herr’s chips.
(Herr’s Snack Factory)

4] Not a chip fan? Pretzels are another salty alternative. After all, they are practically their own food group in Lancaster County with so many varieties to choose from.
(Julius Sturgis or Hammonds)

5] A piece of fresh, locally-grown fruit, or vegetables cut up and served with hummus make a healthy and colorful snack.
(Local farm stands)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For a special day like a birthday or just a TGIF treat, add in a mini whoopie pie from Shady Maple, some Wilbur Buds, or a treat from Miesse Candies.

Another easy way to brighten their day is to include one of our Lancaster County lunch box notes. Simply print them out at home and slip one in their lunch box.

 

 

National Farmer’s Market Week – August 6-12

Have you been to your local farmer’s market lately? If you are like us, the answer is probably yes, but just in case you need an excuse to go it is National Farmer’s Market Week! Farmer’s markets are stocked with fresh-from-the-fields produce, juicy fruits, local meats, cheeses and dairy products, and delicious baked goods. They allow us to truly “eat local,” and to know where our food is coming from. Through buying your groceries at a farmer’s market you are directly helping the community in which you live and the people that grow and produce the food you eat. Eating locally not only has health benefits, but it is also good for the environment. You can reduce your carbon footprint through eating food produced in your community, because the oil and emissions created by shipping foods are much less.

Not only does Lancaster have a large number of farmer’s markets, we are also home to the Nation’s oldest indoor farmer’s market, Lancaster Central Market. Central Market was recently named in CNN Travel’s top 10 fresh markets in the world. As they say they were “established in 1730 and still fresh.” Walking up and down the aisles you pass a variety of stands selling produce and prepared food from all different cultures. Ranging from traditional PA Dutch chow-chow to African Samosas and everything in between, there are a whole world of flavors under one roof waiting for you to taste and explore.

Different stands and markets have different schedules, but with the large number of farmer’s markets throughout the county you are guaranteed to find one that fits in with your schedule. Plus, Lancaster farmer’s markets open bright and early, so you can stop on your way to work. So why not go?

The Tastiest Tour in Town

What better way to learn about a town or city then by experiencing their food scene. Lancaster County Food Tours is offering visitors (and locals alike) a way to experience Lititz and Downtown Lancaster through a tour combining history, culture, and delicious food.

On a sunny summer day, I made my way to Lititz to meet up with the fantastic Lancaster County Food Tour guides for a tasty three-hour adventure. They opened the tour with an overview of the tour goal: to taste delicious offerings from local restaurants and shops while learning about the town and it’s history. And off we went!

The Come Eat Lititz Tour features a variety of tastes from the savory Scottish egg at General Sutter Inn to the sweet whoopie pie at Sugar Whipped Bakery. Between stops, the guide provided us with great area facts, answered questions, and offered conversation along the way. The balance of history and food was perfect!

While they discourage shopping on the tour to keep everyone moving from location to location on time, I definitely kept a running list of gift and souvenir ideas to pick up once the tour concluded.

While I could go into detail about each stop, this tour is best experienced in person. I will say, my favorite stop was the Waltz Vineyards Tasting Room. The wine tasting was thoughtfully prepared, and the sommelier was an expert in the flavors and processes behind each wine; which showed the passion put into the locally-made wines.

Stops on the Lititz Tour include: General Sutter, Olio Olive Oil & Balsamics, Waltz Vineyards, Julius Sturgis Pretzels, Sugar Whipped Bakery, JoBoy’s BBQ, and Wilbur Chocolate.

Tour Tips:

Comfortable shoes are a must!
There’s quite a bit of walking to be done, which is a great way to experience the town of Lititz and Downtown Lancaster, however, your feet will thank you if you wear comfortable walking shoes.

Check the forecast and dress accordingly.
The Come Eat Lititz Tour takes place over lunchtime so the sun may be at its peak heat. The shops (minus Julius Sturgis) provide a nice break from the heat, but for maximum comfort throughout the entire tour, dress according to the day’s highest temperature.

Come hungry!
By the time we got to Wilbur Chocolate (the last stop), I was pleasantly stuffed, so definitely come ready to eat. If you find that you could use a little something to eat after the tour, feel free to stop by your favorite tour location or another spot that may have caught your eye while walking.

More Tours to Explore:

This summer, Lancaster County Food Tours introduced their Chef’s Table Tour and Market and Beyond Tour, both featuring eats throughout Downtown Lancaster.

The Chef’s Table Tour features small bites and cocktail pairings at five of Lancaster’s fine dining restaurants. The fresh, delectable eats and spirited drinks will have your taste buds buzzing.

The Market and Beyond Tour features tasty morsels from Lancaster mainstays and a tour of historic Lancaster Central Market. This sweet and savory tour will give you a true taste of Lancaster County.

For more information and to book your tour, visit LancoFoodTours.com

Where there’s smoke, there’s flavor!

Smokehouse BBQ and Brews is bringing low and slow smoked bar-b-que, cold brews, and Lancaster County favorites under one roof just outside the town of Bird-in-Hand. Whether you’re in the area for lunch or looking for a place to kick back after a long day of exploring, a tasty meal awaits here.

I stopped by for lunch, excited to see what they are cooking up. We were greeted by our friendly server baring a basket of savory corn bread – a welcoming way to kick off the meal.

Just reading the menu made my mouth water, and indecision set in. Everything sounded delicious, from the low n’ slow, pit smoked meats (think beef brisket, pulled pork, sliced turkey, and pulled chicken) paired with sides like baked beans, mac n’ cheese, and cole slaw, to the Lancaster County favorites like fried chicken and roast beef with mashed potatoes, bread filling, and pepper cabbage.

Despite my craving for fried chicken, I decided on a sandwich called “The Legend”, featuring smoked pull pork, smothered in their Memphis Heat sauce, piled high and topped with pickles, cheddar and monterey jack cheese. The sandwich is served with cole slaw and one side. Without hesitation, I chose mac n’ cheese.

“The Legend” lived up to it’s name – a generous portion of delicious saucy pulled pork on a glistening bun. The Memphis Heat sauce had fantastic flavor with a subtle dose of heat, certainly not enough to knock your socks off but enough for you to know it’s there. I opted to put some of my cole slaw on my sandwich, adding a little more crunch to pair with the pickles. The pulled pork was so tender, displaying the low and slow cooking method. The mac n’ cheese was the perfect combination of rich and cheesy, complementing the heat of the sandwich.

Smokehouse BBQ and Brews also offers a nice rotating selection of beers on tap, including locally made brews from Lancaster Brewing Company, Mad Chef Craft Brewing and Tröegs. To make your meal complete, they offer home-style desserts like peach cobbler, sour cream apple crumb pie, and the PA Dutch classic – shoo-fly pie.

Next time you’re in town, follow the smell of smoked BBQ to Smokehouse BBQ and Brews for a stick-to-your-ribs kind of meal, sure to please.

Top 25 Things To Do this Summer

Summer fun is plentiful in Lancaster, PA – whether you’re looking for family fun, outdoor adventure or great ways to spend the evening.

Start planning your summer visit with our list of 25 things to do this season:

1] Fly through the trees on the Ziplines at Refreshing Mountain.

2] Discover new music at an outdoor concert.
Nissley Vineyards hosts concerts on Saturday evenings (adults only), and Long’s Park holds family-friendly concerts on Sunday evenings.

3] Explore the county by bike with either a self-guided or guided tour with Intercourse Bike Works.

4] Stroll around Downtown Lancaster during Music Friday with live performances scattered throughout the city.
Held on the third Friday of each month.

5] Relax while floating down the creek with Sickman’s Mill Creek Tubing.

6] Watch Fourth of July Fireworks light up the Lancaster sky.

7] Celebrate trails and the great outdoors.
The National Trails Day Celebration will be held at the Northwest Lancaster County River Trail on June 3.

8] Snap a photo and enter the
#Lancastergram contest.
#Lancastergram is Discover Lancaster’s annual photo contest hosted on Instagram with great prizes for winning photos. The contest begins on June 26 and ends on September 4.

9] Dive into Lancaster’s rich history with a Historic Lancaster Walking Tour.

10] Splash in Duke’s Lagoon at Dutch Wonderland®.
This water playground is great for kids 12 and under especially on a hot day.

11] Take your family out to the ball game to see the
Lancaster Barnstormers.
Fireworks and concerts after select games.

12] Find fresh picked produce at a local roadside stand or market.

13] Meet Thomas the Tank Engine™ when he comes to Strasburg Rail Road.
Day Out with Thomas™ takes place June 17-25.

14] Find your way through the maze and enjoy farm themed fun at Cherry Crest Adventure Farm.

15] For a little friendly competition, go for a round of mini golf.

16] Cheers to craft brews at Lancaster Craft Beerfest.
Held on August 26 in Downtown Lancaster.

17] Spend a day at Mt. Gretna Lake & Beach for swimming, picnicking, and fun.
Located 25 miles north of Lancaster County.

18] Camp out and toast a marshmallow or two at a local campground.

19] Sip wine and learn more about libations at local wineries.

20] Zip along the back roads by scooter on a memorable tour.
Strasburg Scooters offers a variety of tours daily.

21] Whether in a cup or in a cone, cool down with tasty ice cream… 

22] Or make ice cream of your own at the Turkey Hill Experience’s Taste Lab.

23] Join in the celebration of culture, diversity, and the City of Lancaster.
Celebrate Lancaster is held on June 30 with music, food vendors, pub areas, and fireworks.

24] Browse fine arts and crafts at an outdoor craft show.
Including Long’s Park Art Festival, Mount Gretna Outdoor Art Show, and Lititz Outdoor Art Show.

25] Experience Lancaster in authentic fashion by staying on a farm.

For more exciting happenings, check out our events calendar.

History, Beer & Dining at Bube’s Brewery

Whether you love beer, history or both, Bube’s Brewery in Mount Joy is worth a visit. Named for it’s proprietor, Alois Bube, the brewery features unique spaces for a casual night out, a group dinner, or even a wedding.

In 1876, Alois Bube, a young German immigrant, began brewing German-style lager in Mount Joy. The brewery was one of hundreds in the United States at the time, delivering within horse and carriage range (about 20 miles). The brewery ran without the luxuries of electricity and refrigeration, hence the catacombs that lay under the building.

In Alois Bube’s time, the catacombs served as the refrigerator, chilling beer prior to delivery. Today, visitors can take a free tour of the catacombs daily between 5:30 and 9:00 PM, and even have dinner there. Select Fridays and Sundays, the Catacombs are transformed for themed feasts, including medieval, pirate, and gypsy feasts to name a few. If you’re looking to get married in a super unique space, Bube’s hosts weddings in the catacombs as well.

If you’re looking for a meal with a dash of theatrics and mystery, join Bube’s for a murder mystery dinner, either during a public dinner or with a group for a private event. You’ll be transported back in time with one of their many story lines for an entertaining evening paired with a complete dinner.

While you’re visiting, grab a bite to eat, with fine dining available in the Catacombs and casual dining in The Bottling Works. Bube’s recently brought on Executive Chef, David Nutter, who is revamping the menu to feature new seasonal items. They’re still brewing small batches of beer as well to pair with your meal.

When the weather warms up, the Beirgarten is open for outdoor dining. The Beirgarten has lots of character, with greenery, a life-sized chess board, and the huge boiler and smokestack which was used to power the brewery back in the day.

Newly added to the Bube’s Brewery complex is the Bootleggers Escape – Live Escape Room. The Escape Room takes you back in time to the roaring 20s to put your detective skills. This is a great activity for up to six people, as you work together to solve clues and puzzles.

On April 28, Bube’s will host their first Jazz Night at Alois. Kevin Valentine will be performing at 8:00 PM in the original Victorian Central Hotel. Light, tapas-style fare along with select whiskies, cocktails, martinis and homemade beer will be available while you enjoy the soulful music.

For more information on this fascinating complex, their events and happenings, be sure to visit their website!

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