Suggestions on a Sunday Drive… Litchfield and Bantam, Connecticut

I’m not exactly blazing new territory announcing that the bread baked by Niles Golovin at Bantam Bread in the town of Bantam, just southwest of Litchfield, Connecticut is seriously good… certainly as good as any bread I’ve had since I last stopped in to Meyers Bageri for the grandtoftegaar — a Nordic-revival country sourdough — taking Metro North from Grand Central. Was it worth the drive from Old Lyme? For the pain de Campagne? Maybe. But then there is also the seeded semolina batard — a truly splendid loaf of sourdough, redolent of toasted sesame and sour ferment — and

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A First Stab at the Best Beef in Connecticut

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The first bite, cooked to just medium rare, was straight-forward beefy, coarse-textured, with a notable (not unpleasing) chew. Second and third bites carved from the marbled “cap” portion of the steak were unctuous and brought just a hint of blue cheese funk that can dominate much longer-aged beef. The 21-day dry-aged rib steak was from Grass & Bone, a hip craft butcher and dining spot just on the edge of the tourist bubble in Mystic (and some of the best coffee, at MBar), the brainchild of Dan Meiser and James Wayman, who in recent years have opened some of the

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The Hops-growing Agriculture Revival in Connecticut

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Standing along a row of towering hops vines, known as “bines,” Heather Wilson picked a pale green cone and broke it open to check for ripeness Thursday afternoon. “Rub the cone between your fingers — it should be papery,” she said. “You can feel there’s a lot of moisture there and they still smell a little grassy — it’s not ready to harvest.”  The right amount of moisture — not too little and not too much — is key to growing, harvesting and brewing hops, a crop that has not been grown commercially in Connecticut since Prohibition. Wilson and her

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Bufalina — Neapolitan Pizza Worth the Drive

There is enough conflict in the world without needlessly proclaiming any one place the very best pizza on the shoreline, but I suppose it says something that my two companions sparked to the idea on a Friday of a 20-mile trek on I-95 from Old Lyme to Guilford to sit outside on the patio for an early evening dinner at Bufalina. I don’t think anyone questions that Bufalina turns out some of the very best Neapolitan-style pizza in Connecticut — thin, soft, somewhat elastic crust, with a modest cornicione and a defining leopard-skin char. It takes only about 90 seconds,

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A Fleeting Summertime Pleasure of Winter’s Milk, Cato Corner Farm’s Myfanwy

“It’s a Welsh miner’s cheese,” Cathy Bradley explained, offering me a taste of a very approachable, creamy white seasonal hard cheese, reminiscent of a clothbound cheddar. I am standing in the bustling tasting room of Cato Corner Farm, widely considered among very best American cheesemakers, off a small rural road just south of Colchester. There is a small table with a dozen or so cheeses of various varieties — blue, washed rind, aged and milky fresh. I am here for Myfanwy (MA-VAN-WEE) a fleeting seasonal cow’s milk variety now available at the farm, and at farmers markets in Coventry, Colchester

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Cookbook Author Dorie Greenspan Talks Life and Food with CT Examiner

There are soups that I love in winter, pancakes for the perfect Sunday brunch, pasta offers endless possibility, but nothing is more reliable than a cookie. I began baking them before my head reached the counter and if ever I’m having a stressful week, even if it’s over 100 degrees, you can find me with an apron, flour in the air, baking cookies. It turns out, Dorie Greenspan, a James Beard award-winning and New York Times bestselling cookbook author, feels that way too. So, we drove up to Westbrook. We were sitting in his sun porch and thinking, oh this

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Worth the drive… Croissants from Loveridge Place in Pawcatuck.

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IN THE REGION  — The sheeter, or laminating machine, where Carla Gennuso creates doughs for croissants stood on its own in the center of her bakery, Loveridge Place, at 2 Prospect Street in Pawcatuck, as she talked with customers and staff Friday morning.  “That can really crank out a lot of work,” said Gennuso, the founder and executive chef. With the machine, Gennuso creates yeast-leavened laminated dough used for viennoiserie, including croissants, one of her specialties. Her plain croissant is perhaps the best we’ve had in our travels between New Haven and Providence — with three or four turns, that

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Refreshment and Respite at Caffé Marche in Old Saybrook

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OLD SAYBROOK — A little farther down Main Street, away from the town’s shopping hubbub, is an Italian cafe where one can find refreshment and respite, including homemade gelato and sorbet, pastries baked in-house, coffee, marble-topped tables, an outdoor seating area and wifi. Housed in the historic James Pharmacy at 323 Main St., Caffé Marche (pronounced “Márk-eh”) is named for the region of Italy located east of Tuscany along the Adriatic Sea, where co-owner Paul Angelini is from. “The whole philosophy here is to bring in someone as if they were going to go to the market region of Italy,”

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A Catalan Spritz

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Two parts dry sparkling wine, one part red vermouth, served on ice, with an orange slice and green olive – when prepared with good quality Spanish or Italian vermouth is our best answer for what you should be drinking in place of the dodgy stuff calling itself rosé.

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James Beard Nominee “Extraordinarily Gifted”

The first bite tastes like a blooming flower, and April mornings when every breath is heavy with the scent of new blossoms. If you would ask me for other words, descriptions, flavors, I have nothing. How else to explain the delicate layering of flavors and textures?

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