If what you eat is just as important as what you do while on vacation, you’ve come to the right place. Minnesota has no shortage of culinary delights for every type of eater, from the famous Juicy Lucy and State Fair food-on-a-stick to fine dining and avant garde fare from award-winning chefs. And don’t forget to wash it down with locally brewed beer, wine or spirits. Find more tasty ideas below, add them to your favorites, and plan your Minnesota foodie getaway today.
While the Twin Cities and Duluth are well-known regions for craft beer, cities across southern Minnesota are fueling the revival of the state’s brewing traditions. From small, upstart brewpubs to the second-oldest family-operated brewery in America, southern Minnesota has a delicious list of must-drink local brews.
When you think of Minnesota food, you might think of a few classic staples: nutty wild rice, flaky walleye, and stick-to-your-guts hot dish. Change, of course, has arrived with a vengeance as a food revolution has swept the state, and tradition is increasingly seen as a platform for invention. Chefs around the state revel in adapting and sometimes completely transforming hidebound dishes, creating menus that riff playfully on familiar flavors and foods.
Most people can appreciate the flavor and texture of a ripe apple, but few are capable of improving upon it. The University of Minnesota managed to achieve such a feat in 1991 when it released the Honeycrisp apple cultivar. A true, ripe Honeycrisp tastes like an apple with the volume turned up: Both honey-sweet and bracingly tart, it conveys its full flavor in extra-juicy bites. Its larger-than-typical cells allow for the delivery of more moisture than most apple varieties.
Minnesota has a proud history as the nation's breadbasket, from its fields of wheat, to its pork and dairy farms, to the grain mills of Minneapolis. It's no coincidence, then, that the swath cut by Minnesota's food personalities is a wide one indeed. You can see them on national television, hear them on the radio, and taste their creations by way of books and the Internet. And their influence cuts from the biggest of the mass-market heavyweights to the highest-flying of the gourmet, as illustrated by this (brief and greatly abridged) collection of biographical sketches.
When you head north to the stunning rocky shores of Lake Superior, food may not be the first thing on your mind. But the region has a lovely gastronomic style all its own. From smoked fish to fresh berries to cured meat to some of the region's tastiest breakfasts, the foods found here can transform a pleasant trip into a great vacation.
What makes a perfect pie? Much is made of crust (butter versus lard, shortening versus everything else), and its flakiness, or lightness, or general durability. But the real heart of a pie is the filling—so much filling veers toward the goopy, and/or the oversweet, that it's a delight to find a pie with a sense of balance and restraint to it, something that challenges you not just to finish a piece, but to avoid finishing the whole pie.
The southwest corner of the Minneapolis-St. Paul area is well known for its many scenic lakes and attractions like the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum and Chanhassen Dinner Theatres. And in 2016, the Ryder Cup will come to Hazeltine National Golf Course in Chaska. But did you know this area is quickly becoming a hot spot for beer, wine and spirits connoisseurs?
While Minnesota is known for producing foods like wild rice, sweet corn and blueberries, it’s the state’s drinkable crops that are making headlines. Wineries, breweries and distilleries – the latest local craze – continue to up the ante with new facilities, recipes and events, and they’re inviting visitors to come taste the results.
Classic doughnuts, both cake and raised, are available throughout Minnesota, made with old-fashioned love and a lot of sugar, powdered or otherwise. But the last five years have also seen a nouveau doughnut renaissance in the Twin Cities, with newer shops offering exotic twists (maple long john with a strip of bacon on top, anyone?) and cupcake-shop-level marketing.
The corner coffee shop has a way of making anyone who visits feel at home. Find your new favorite hangout in cities and towns across the state.
Take a tour of Minnesota eateries that have been featured on the Travel Channel, Food Network and Bravo.