cheese
cheese
Cheese. Photo courtesy of kirsche222.

For those looking for an immersive epicurious experience, the Finger Lakes is a great destination.

Located in Upstate New York, the scenic region offers an array of tasty trails to help visitors enjoy craft food and drink journeys.

To help you plan a delicious Finger Lakes trip, here are some delicious Finger Lakes food, beer, and wine trails.

The Cheese Trail

For those who love Gouda, blue and Gorgonzola, the Finger Lakes’ Cheese Trail offers an array of stinky experiences. Composed of 12+ family-owned creameries, the trail is especially tasty when visits to local wineries and breweries are added to the itinerary. While at Dutch Hill Creamery you’ll be able to sample all-natural, hormone-free products, you’ll enjoy Swiss and old-fashioned raw milk cheddars at Hillcrest Dairy. At Finger Lakes Dexter Creamery, you can learn about the tradition of kefir culture and sample artisanal raw milk kefir cheese, cultured with authentic living kefir grains. Touring the trail is a great way to learn about local culture and cheese production through the palate. Additionally, each year the area hosts a Finger Lakes Cheese Festival. At the event you’ll be able to sample cheese from all the trail’s members, as well as enjoy food, music, animals, games and classes at Sunset View Creamery.

cuisine
Cuisine. Photo courtesy of hot_black.

Seneca Lake Cuisine Trail

The Seneca Lake Cuisine Trail encompasses all types of culinary experiences on one tasty trail. Full of restaurants serving dishes made with locally-sourced ingredients, as well farmers markets where you can buy fresh produce, you’ll have a truly local epicurious experience. While Dano’s Heuriger on Seneca is a traditional Viennese Winery Restaurant serving up dishes like smoked trout with beet horseradish and roast pork on the bone, Skyland Gallery & Café infuses the beauty of art and cuisine. At Suzanne Fine Regional Cuisine, you can enjoy the experience of dining on a 100-acre farm on Seneca Lake. Bonus: Most of the restaurants on the Seneca Lake Cuisine Trail offer unparalleled views of the water.

cupcake
Photo courtesy of knox_x.

Chocolate Trail

In Corning, visitors can enjoy over 25 decadent chocolate shops and experiences. Head to the Historic Gaffer Disrict, where you’ll sample gooey brownies from Poppleton Pastries, chocolate truffles from Beyond Baskets and chocolate chunk cupcakes at Walker Cake Co. These are just a few of the many cocoa-inspired experiences in Corning on the Chocolate Trail.

beer bottles
Photo courtesy trublueboy.

Finger Lakes Beer Trail

Dedicated to showcasing the region’s craft beers through 47 different breweries and brew pubs, the Finger Lakes Beer Trail is a must for any brew enthusiast. Because there are so many different breweries the trail is separated into distinct itineraries, like the Ithaca Area, Seneca Lake Loop and the I-81 Corridor (Syracuse-Cortland-Binghamton), to name a few. Some of the top brewery experiences along the trail are jazz happy hours and fish fries at Syracuse Suds Factory, karaoke Wednesdays at Scale House Brew Pub and cask nights at the Ithaca Beer Taproom.

wine grapes
Photo courtesy of mkamin.

Wine Trails

The Finger Lakes is well known for its abundant world-class wine selection — especially in terms of Riesling — and exploring the various wine trails of the area is a quintessential experience. There are three distinct wine trails: The Seneca Lake Wine Trail (34 wineries), Keuka Lake Wine Trail (7 wineries) and the Cayuga Lake Wine Trail (15 wineries). Each offers a special Passport Program which allows you to visit numerous wineries and enjoying free and discounted tastings. The most active of the wine trails is the Seneca Lake Wine Trail, which also has a distillery, two breweries and a meadery that allows you to taste honey-based wines. Moreover, the trail is known for hosting a variety of exciting events throughout the year, for example, jazz and wine evenings, cooking classes, chocolate pairings, do-it-yourself steak roasts, fine dining wine dinners and more.

Bonus tip:

After exploring the delicious trails mentioned above, you’ll be perfectly positioned to embark on some of the best hikes in Upstate New York!

Jessica Festa

Jessica Festa is the editor of Epicure & Culture as well as Jessie on a Journey. She enjoys getting lost in new cities and having experiences you don’t read about in guidebooks. Some of her favorite travel experiences have been teaching English in Thailand, trekking her way through South America, backpacking Europe solo, road tripping through Australia, agritouring through Tuscany, and volunteering in Ghana.

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