Celebrating Tastes of Blackstone Valley

Saturday, July 10, 2010


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You can keep the faux-international Epcot, I've taking the Blackstone Valley.

It turns out that there is more variety of cuisine in the nine communities in Rhode Island's historic corridor than you can imagine, and they're available for tasting once a week, as part of a fantastic (and affordable) deal sponsored by the Blackstone Valley Tourism Council. At $19.50 per person, it's a steal, and with a new spot (restaurant, inn, farm) every Wednesday, it's now a permanent fixture on my dining out calendar.

The Blackstone Culinaria Secret Ingredient Food Tour roams from site to site, cuisine to cuisine, and guests get a chance not only to taste locally prepared, often ethnic food, but get a tour, demonstration, or talk on a secret ingredient. (Recently, on an outing to the Pillsbury House B&B in Woonsocket, I got a kitchen-close lesson in pulled pork... then got to eat a bunch of it on the beautiful front porch... did I mention sangria was also involved?). Largely unknown outside of the Valley, this is one of the best, most creative and welcoming food events in the state, and some local ladies book every week. You'll need to fight them for a spot - booking in advance is highly recommended.

Look what's coming up: Portuguese at Madeira Club in Central Falls this Wednesday (July 14), including a demonstration on how to make fish cakes, then more Portuguese on the 28th in Cumberland at Churrascaria Marques, where a kitchen tour combines with a traditional chicken and steak tips dinner. From there it's on to Guatemala, Greece, Vietnam, and Italy. All this summer, and right on into the fall. For the whole schedule through September, go here.

It's easy to drop in, but some of these nights are so popular (including Ma Glockner's famous berched chicken and those cinnamon rolls at River Falls Restaurant in Woonsocket on September 15), so you might want to reserve spots early online, or by calling 724-2200. And set aside Wednesdays forevermore.


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