Mario Batali, the well-known American chef, restaurateur, writer and FoodNetwork.com star, is in town for the summer. He is happy and is obviously having a good time in Leelanau…we can tell by the tweets he is posting on Twitter and his check-ins on Foursquare. Today, Batali started his day at Manitou Passage Golf Club where he tweeted, “Manitou Passage presently ruling funsville!” He then traveled to Northport where he checked in to the Northport Farmers Market, Northport Marina and Woolsey Memorial Airport. He is also stopping in to visit friends along the way.
Earlier this week, Batali tweeted about the “brutal Traverse City traffic” on his way to Suttons Bay where he checked in to The Cherry Basket Farm Kitchen, Hansen’s Grocery Store and Martha’s Leelanau Table. He also checked in to Northport’s Shady Trails Camp. We think he had a scrumptious dinner with a view after he tweeted, “Supper on Lake Michigan!! I am the mayor of yumsberg!”
Batali is not shy about telling people where his is at any given time. His presence in Leelanau and the Grand Traverse area is helping to promote the area. Not only are his tweets and check-ins on Foursquare helping to promote the area, but this week the prestigious food magazine, Bon Appetit, posted a Blog about Batali’s love for the area in, How Mario Batali Escapes New York Summers.
In the article, Batali describes how he came to the Leelanau Peninsula only ten years ago and fell in love with the area. He came back year after year staying longer with each visit. He eventually bought a place on Lake Michigan where he spends the summers through Labor Day.
No doubt that Batali loves the dunes, Lake Michigan and the stunning scenery of Leelanau, but there is also another draw to the area, food and drink. Batali says, “The food scene has really exploded in the region. There are farmers’ markets and hip-looking people farming and butchering. It’s very cool. Even in Northport, our town of less than 1000 people, there’s a great weekly farmers’ market in the summer…People are coming for gastronomic tourism.”
Wine is also a draw for Batali. Not long ago Batali felt that Leelanau wines were not very interesting, but now he says, “Wine has come around 1,000 percent in the past decade.”
In the article, Batali lists some of his Leelanau favorites including Leelanau Cheese Company’s Raclette cheese, Grand Traverse Pie Company’s cherry pie, and lake trout or whitefish freshly caught in Lake Michigan. To find out more of Batali’s favorite food shops and restaurants, read the full article.
Don’t miss Batali’s Blog post about the best “drink” in Leelanau in his Bon Appetit Blog post, “How Mario Batali Gets His Drink On In and Around Traverse City, Michigan.” We’ll give you a hint of the some of his favorites including drink from Black Star Farms, Gill’s Pier Winery, 45 North Winery, L. Mawby, Leelanau Brewing Company and Tandem Ciders. You’ll have to read the full article for more specifics.
All in all, we are thrilled to have Batali in our midst.