Oregon, Willamette Valley
Eugene, Oregon: 5 Keys to a Mouthwatering Getaway
- Willamette Valley
Savor the wine, beer and food of Eugene
Visitors are often drawn to the Eugene, Cascades and Coast region of Oregon for its spectacular waterfalls and endless beaches, but the food and wine culture will entice you here too. As you savor the fresh connection from Eugene’s farms to its restaurants, wineries and breweries, don’t miss these culinary highlights.
1. Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir
Eugene is located within the south end of the Willamette Valley, the wine region famed worldwide for its Pinot Noir. From downtown into the surrounding countryside, you’ll find 21 wineries – Pinot Bingo is a fun way to tour them. Anticipate a variety of stops, from cozy tasting rooms to King Estate, Oregon’s largest winery. Plan for a meal at King Estate’s restaurant, where outstanding Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris wines complement seasonal ingredients.
Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris grapes reign supreme at King Estate, Oregon’s largest winery.
2. Fresh Ingredients
Time your visit with Eugene’s annual Oregon Truffle Festival in January to join a truffle hunt and sample multi-course wine dinners created by regional chefs. The festival’s stars are native Oregon white and Oregon black truffles, nurtured by Eugene’s unique environment. Year round, shop local farmers markets, where it’s common to see Eugene chefs selecting seasonal fruits and vegetables for their changing menus.
Prized truffles are native to Eugene, where they’re celebrated at the annual Oregon Truffle Festival each January.
3. Must-Visit Restaurants
Indulge in handmade pasta – maybe ravioli with Oregon Dungeness crab, fennel and citrus – at the Excelsior Inn Ristorante Italiano. Head chef Maurizio Paparo and pastry chef Shane Tracy craft the pasta, and bread, in their on-site bakery, selecting ingredients from the restaurant’s farm. At Marché, Stephanie Pearl Kimmel, a James Beard Foundation award nominee, creates a farm-to-table sensation. Sample duck confit with sautéed chard and mustard-thyme sauce for an appreciation.
King Estate chefs transform seasonal ingredients into beautiful farm-to-table plates.
4. Heavenly Baked Goods
Chocolate cherry sourdough bread, apple fritters, crumbly scones, toasted local hazelnuts… tuck into anything fresh from the oven at Creswell Bakery. Chef Heidi Tunnell maintains a farm nearby to supply this from-scratch favorite, which also serves hearty sandwiches, beautiful salads and pizzas. For another take on scratch-made sweets and savories, head to Noisette Pastry Kitchen, where you might start with steamy chicken pot pie and end with delicate poached pear mousse.
Creswell Bakery’s chef Heidi Tunnell maintains a farm near her shop to supply produce for her fresh-baked goods.
5. Wash It Down with Craft Beer
Follow the Eugene Ale Trail to 14 area craft breweries. Agrarian Ales makes a scenic start: You’ll sample brews in a nearly century-old dairy barn overlooking the brewery’s organic hop farm. This is truly a farm-to-glass experience, where brewers might create pumpkin beer or dandelion porter from the harvest. At Falling Sky Brewing, arrive with an appetite to enjoy a scratch-made meal (maybe house-cured pastrami) with the latest brew.
Enjoy Agrarian Ales’ craft brews from their century-old dairy barn that offers lush views of the brewery’s hop farm.
Two airports make it easy to access Eugene: Portland International Airport (PDX) and Eugene’s Airport (EUG). The Eugene Airport offers direct connections to Portland, Seattle, San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas and Denver.