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Tastemakers:Saveur Thyme at the hearth & Vine/ Tandem Ciders Smackentosh

Rick Coates - August 22nd, 2011
Saveur Thyme at the Hearth & Vine
After two weeks of highlighting Chef Mario Batali’s love affair with Northern Michigan in Tastemakers and Bottoms Up, we find the chef still on his self-imposed PR campaign for the region.
Last week Batali appeared on ABC’s Good Morning America program after GMA viewers selected the Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes region as the “Most Beautiful Place In America.” A camera crew followed Batali around earlier this summer as he highlighted some of his favorite places. When the results of the balloting were announced, Batali Skyped the show, answering questions from the host about Northern Michigan. In addition he had his New York culinary team prepare some of his favorite Northern Michigan dishes for the show hosts to sample.
One of the places Batali raved about was the Saveur Thyme at the Hearth & Vine, located on the grounds of the Black Star Farms Winery. Owned by Chef Paul Carlson and his wife Susan, Hearth & Vine is a cozy cafe and wine bar featuring gourmet wood-fired pizzas, delicious soups, salads, sandwiches, and more. Batali told viewers that Hearth & Vine is one of “his go to places” when he and his family visit Northern Michigan. He let viewers also know that he “spends his entire summer in paradise.”
The declaration by Batali and the recognition is already paying off as Facebook and Twitter is blowing up with the news. Several postings and tweets coming from those who have never visited are saying they are planning on it. Some even posted to the Hearth & Vine Facebook page they were coming this weekend.
This bodes well for not only Hearth & Vine but Northern Michigan as whole. Batali is fresh off his raving review of the region in Bon Appetite and now he has stepped up to the plate again. Interesting that another Leelanau Peninsula resident and celebrity Tim Allen was silent in these latest national kudos for the region. Allen is paid big bucks by the state to be the voice of the Pure Michigan ad campaign. Here is an idea -- maybe Travel Michigan should look to hire Batali -- he seems to be doing the job already. To watch the various GMA clips go to and search their site, there are three clips in all. For info on Hearth & Vine find them at --Rick Coates

Tandem Ciders Smackintosh

Much of the focus of this weekend’s Traverse City Microbrew & Music Festival will be on the 35 participating microbreweries. But attendees would be remiss in not trying the hard cider offerings from the six cider makers that will also be on hand. Michigan ranks second in the nation in apple production and while cherries get all the hype in Northern Michigan, apples and grapes are closing in.
Cider makers such as Tandem Ciders are starting to pop up in the region and even some wineries are making fermented ciders.
Tandem, located on the Leelanau Peninsula just north of Suttons Bay, focuses on small-batch ciders that “reflect character of the land where the apples are grown.”
Cider maker Dan Young uses apples from the region that he turns to juice “with a traditional rack and cloth press” and then the juice will “be fermented using standard styles, and the resulting cider will be bottled ‘straight’ or blended with a little Leelanau County imagination.” Currently Tandem is bottling eight ciders and also offers draft ciders by the growler at their facility.
One of the favorites is their Smackintosh made with McIntosh apples (obviously), Rhode Island Greening, and Northern Spy. It’s a sweet and fresh tasting fruity cider. As Dan describes it, “think suddenly you’re a kid eating a candy apple in the fall.”
One of the things Tandem is very good about is letting everyone know where the apples come from. For this particular blend apples come from both the Old Mission and Leelanau Penisula from Wunsch Orchards, Shultz Orchards, and Kolarik Brothers.
Smackintosh is a great appetizer wine and works well with cheeses, especially the Leelanau Cheese Company Raclette. Enjoy with grilled poultry, and with small game season around the corner, try with pheasant with apple chutney.
If you haven’t had a chance to try a hard cider get out to the Microbrew & Music Fest this weekend at the Village at Grand Traverse Commons. Or visit Tandem Ciders at their operation located just north of Suttons Bay. For hours and directionscheck out
--Rick Coates

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