A Little Bit of Napa… Just down the road in Massachusetts

Blog Posts, Food, Food Blog, Travel


Edie Ravenelle - Food Writer

MA Wine and Cheese Trail story

A Little Bit of Napa…

Just down the road in Massachusetts

by Edie Ravenelle

Before you shed too many tears over Labor Day’s unofficial end to summer daytrips to the beach, program your GPS to some inland Massachusetts destinations that will delight your scenic senses, and your inner sommelier.  Check out www.masswinery.com to click on a map of six Massachusetts’ Wine and Cheese Trails.  These epicurean paths feature 29 wineries and 18 artisanal cheese makers scattered across each region of the state, many a mere hour or two from Boston.  No need to go to Napa or Vermont to sample award-winning wines and cheeses!

On a recent visit to Hardwick in Central  Massachusetts, just about 90 minutes from Boston, some foodie companions and I sampled a French, Chabicou-style goat cheese that’s just one of the be-ribboned cheeses handcrafted in small batches from the pasteurized milk of pampered Oberhasli does who reside at what must be the equivalent of a 5-star goat residence: Ruggles Hill Creamery.  I was as smitten with the views as I was with this cheese’s impossibly-low fat content (about 4 percent), but fine, creamy texture and fresh-from-the-meadow nuanced taste.  The next palate-pleasing stop in Hardwick featured a selection of five cheeses made from the organic raw milk produced by the grass-fed cows residing at Robinson Farm.  My favorite was “A Barndance,” a nutty, fruity and super creamy cheese that reminded me of a well-aged, raw-milk Canadian cheddar, minus the north-of-the-border “bite.”  Robinson Farm  produces other organic raw-milk dairy products and grass-fed beef, all available for purchase on site.

Last but definitely not lacking, was a thirst-quenching visit to the Hardwick Vineyard & Winery.  Hardwick offers tours and tastings of several wines made from French-American hybrid grapes.  Those I sampled were light and lovely, with just the right amount of complex fruit, such as a hint of cranberry that would go marvelously with your next Thanksgiving meal.  My favorite: “Yankee Girl.”  Well, I guess I am!  So make like a Yankee and plan your next daytrip on a Massachusetts Wine & Cheese Trail.

 

 

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