5 Ways to Taste Oregon’s Bounty
Taste your way around foodie cities serving deliciously diverse cuisines.
Perhaps you’ve tasted Oregon’s famed Pinot Noir or heard of its bounty of native ingredients. But there’s even more to experience here. Sip in the tasting room of a brewery or distillery. Catch a culinary festival to celebrate Oregon’s bounty. Follow these five tips to get started.
Start in Portland, your culinary gateway to the state. September’s Feast Portland event embodies the city’s love of good food and drink (don’t miss the event’s night market, filled with global street food). Year round, visit any of Portland’s 800-plus food carts. These tend to cluster in groups, laying out the delicious possibility of finding authentic Chinese, Mediterranean or Brazilian fare just steps from each other. Anticipate this diversity of flavors throughout the city’s restaurants.
Launch your culinary tour of Oregon in Portland, home to countless farm-to-table restaurants, food trucks and more.
Oregon’s Willamette Valley is known worldwide for its Pinot Noir, yet the region excels at many cool-climate grapes, including Pinot Gris. Sample these at more than 500 regional wineries, where you might make a picnic from sundries available for purchase onsite, or enjoy seasonal food-and-wine pairings in a winery’s restaurant. In Southern Oregon – home to Ashland, which was named one of the top 10 Best Wine Travel Destinations by Wine Enthusiast – it’s not uncommon to meet the winemaker. Ask – and taste – how regional makers are experimenting with Tempranillo grapes.
Oregon boasts several award-winning wine-growing regions where you’ll see lush vineyards and enjoy tasting-room samples.
Craft Brewing & Distilling
Oregon’s long been a leader in craft brewing, boasting the most microbreweries of any place in the world. Recent booms in the Columbia River Gorge and Eastern Oregon will give you a new take on the scene. Check into a dozen breweries in either location for lager series, kettle-soured beer, crisp ciders and other inventive pours. In the Central Oregon town of Bend, relax at Bendistillery’s tasting room for a sip of Crater Lake Vodka. As with Oregon wineries, don’t be surprised to meet the head brewer or distiller in these tasting rooms.
Oregon is a beer-lover’s paradise. There are more microbreweries here than anywhere in the world.
Fresh Oregon seafood is best savored alongside the Pacific Ocean or in bay-front restaurants with a view of fishing boats bobbing in the harbor. You can also join the harvest: Depending on the season, you might angle for rockfish with a local guide, dig for sweet razor clams or try your hand at crabbing – the meaty Dungeness variety tastes sublime served whole with drawn butter.
Enjoy fresh local fish such as steelhead trout while looking out over the Pacific Ocean at restaurants along the Oregon coast.
Festivals are a spirited way to celebrate the diversity of Oregon’s culinary experiences. In January, join a truffle hunt and sample multi-course wine dinners created by regional chefs at Eugene’s Oregon Truffle Festival. Spend Oktoberfest in Pendleton to pair Oregon brews with savory local sausage.
The creativity of Oregon's chefs comes out in festivals celebrating local ingredients, such as fresh truffles served on wood-fired pizza.
Portland International Airport (PDX) is your gateway for traveling Oregon. PDX offers nonstop, year-round flights from Amsterdam and Tokyo on Delta, and from Calgary and Vancouver on Air Canada. The following seasonal flights are also available: from Frankfurt on Condor, from Reykjavik on Iceland Air, from Vancouver on Alaska Airlines and from Toronto on Air Canada. Local Oregon airports Bend Redmond, Medford, Eugene and North Bend all offer non-stop service from San Francisco, Salt Lake and Denver.
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