Wining and Dining in Northeast Ohio

First a little history.

  “The Father of American Winemaking”, Nicholas Longworth, was an Ohioan who began importing vines from Europe to his farm in the hills around Cincinnati in the early 1800’s.

 Today there are 135 wineries across the Buckeye State, according to Donniella Winchell of the Ohio Wine Producers Association, and in Northeast Ohio there are more wineries per square mile than any other part of the state.

 Autumn is a great time for an Ohio Road Trip to the Northeast Ohio wine-country.  Vineyards and orchards are bursting with fruit.  Forests are filled with golden leaves; there are covered bridges that span lazy streams.  It’s a feast for the senses. 

 Speaking of feasts; even if you don’t drink wine you can enjoy some of the food and atmosphere of the wine country by visiting several of the vineyards that have restaurants located in the middle of their wineries.  Many also offer non-alcoholic grape juice along with wine tasting.

 Two of the best examples of restaurants-in-a-winery that I have visited:

 Tarsitano Winery in the Conneaut Creek area.

 Tucked away on a country road, not far from a covered bridge is a cedar-sided two-story barn.  The first floor serves as a combination sales-room, tasting area and café where they serve lunch and dinner from Wednesday through Sunday.  The café is small, only seating about fifty people.   Reservations are strongly recommended most evenings.

 On a beautiful fall day they open up both huge doors on the barn/café/winery and replace the doors with floor to ceiling screens that lets in not only fresh air, but the smell of ripening grapes in the nearby vineyards.

 They make all their own pasta and sauces and grow many of the ingredients they serve.

The menu features things like Riesling Rosemary Ravioli that is stuffed with artichokes and special cheeses in a garlic olive oil sauce and accompanied by a grilled breast of chicken or sirloin tip steak.   Other specialties of the house include pepper-crusted steak and Cremillini mushroom ravioli in a sun-dried tomato sauce.   The garden salad is a healthy and beautiful mixture of different types of lettuce and other greens.

 Cooling on a nearby windowsill is a tray of fresh loaves of bread still hot from the oven.…

.you can read the rest of the story in the October 3rd edition of the Cleveland Plain Dealer or on their web site at www.cleveland.com

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