Culinary Tourism Conference
The Poughkeepsie Grand Hotel
February 28, 2012

Wow, what a great conference I attended last week. It was hosted by Dutchess County Tourism and with over 100 attendees from restaurant owners, caterers, farmers, educators, wineries etc. from around the Hudson Valley. A lot of exciting culinary events, projects, groups are happening in the valley and the amount of people who are visiting the Hudson Valley has grown in these last 5 yrs. This valley is becoming a desired destination for tourism like our west coast folks in the Napa Valley Region. There is an incredible richness of farms, wineries, restaurants, parks, historical sites and roadways that are beautiful during our four seasons with our Fall Season being the most colorful!

The conference was hosted by Mary Kay Vrba, Director of Dutchess County Tourism (second from the right) and ran from 9:00-3:00. It started with a panel discussion on local agritourism lead by three excellent Hudson Valley Chefs, Peter Xavier Kelly, Chef, Vintner, Restaurateur, Laura Pensiero, from Gigi Hudson Vallley, Mark Strausman from Agriturismo. Also, Sara Grady from the Glynwood Center in Garrison, NY spoke on Hard Cider Week and Cider Trail.

Janet Crawshaw from the Valley Table spoke on upcoming Restaurant Week, March 18th-31st  and share with us on ideas for packaging the many types of food, hotel, B&B, farms, restaurants etc. and how to work on collaborative culinary packages too.

Lunch was included in this conference and wow what a treat! From the pictures above, this was our lunch and Dessert and it was all from a Hudson Valley Farm. Here’s the menu and where everything came from. Absolutely delicious and another treat that we had during lunch was to listen to Betty Fussell speak on Tasting the River and the Rock.

Salad of Organic Baby Greens and Hot House Tomatoes crowned with Fresh Chevre

From Continental Organics, New Windsor

Mt. Fresh Farms, Highland

Sprout Creek Farm, Poughkeepsie-their goat cheese is melt in your mouth good!

Pan-roasted French cut Chicken Breast, Reserved Pan Jus

from Campanelli’s Poultry Farm, Kenoza Lake. I get their Chickens from Adams and they are very tender, juicy and fresh tasting.

Sautéed String Beans and Herb Roasted Potatoes

Winter Sun Farms, Kingston

Plecan Farms, New Hampton

Warm Granny Smith Apple Crisp with Cinnamon Ice Cream

Hurds Family Farm, Modena

Benny and Caesar’s Ice Cream Poughkeepsie

And do you believe this home grown lunch and conference was $65.00!