There’s some fabulous food to be found in the Great Lakes USA region, from fish boils in Wisconsin to pie trails in Indiana. The region, which consists of the states of Michigan, Illinois, Minnesota, Indiana, Wisconsin and Ohio, has a diverse range of delicious food, from the unusual to the iconic.
Food trails in Indiana are a great way to try some of the different varieties of local food. Two of the most popular are the Tenderloin trail and the Pie trail. The Tenderloin trail has 44 stops to try out the Tenderloin Sandwich, a deep-fried, breaded cutlet in a soft Hamburger bun. There are 23 stops on the Pie trail where you can sample pies such as the Amish-influenced Sugar Cream Pie consisting of brown sugar, vanilla cream and a crumbly crust.
The iconic fish boil is made using Lake Michigan white fish caught by local fishermen and then cooked outside over an open fire, as it was 100 years ago by the Scandinavian settlers. It is then served with potatoes, lemon, melted butter and garden-fresh coleslaw.
Pizza farms are growing in popularity in the state. The farms grow their own ingredients which they then craft into pizzas and serve outdoors on the farms in pizza parlours.
Spam, spam, wonderful Spam is celebrated in Austin, Minnesota where there is a Spam Museum and 17 restaurants that serve it in various ways from sandwiches to sliders to quesadillas. With 10,000 lakes, fish is also popular in Minnesota. The state fish is the Walleye, which can be sampled in most restaurants.
Illinois boasts several iconic dishes, including the Deep Dish Pizza – which originated in Chicago in the 1940’s. Deep dish is the most iconic Midwest pizza style, being dense, full of flavour and more like a savoury pie than a pizza.
The original Horseshoe Sandwich was served on a sizzling metal plate (known as the Anvil). Two thick-cut slices of bread were toasted and added to the plate. Then a thick slice of ham, shaped like a horseshoe, was added, to it a Welsh rarebit cheese sauce made of white sharp cheddar, and then just before serving, fresh-made French fries were added as the (nails) in the horseshoe. The secret to this sandwich is the delicious cheese sauce.
Michigan is the USA’s leading producer of tart cherries. Traverse City in Michigan is known as the Cherry Capital of the World and celebrates its heritage each year with the National Cherry Festival, attended by over 500,000 people from around the world.
Mackinac Island fudge is the state’s other iconic food. A tradition since the late 19th century, today there are 13 fudge shops on Mackinac Island, in the Upper Peninsula of the state, and during the peak tourism period it sells over five tons of fudge per day. The islanders celebrate with their own Fudge Festival each August.
Usually made for holidays, Buckeyes are a combination of peanut butter and chocolate and have become the state’s unofficial candy. The rich candies are made by dipping peanut butter fudge in a chocolate coating so that just a small layer of the peanut butter is visible, making it resemble the fruit of the Ohio buckeye tree. Buckeyes are also available dipped in white chocolate and dusted with hazelnuts or sprinkles.
As home to the largest population of Amish in the world, Amish-style food abounds in Ohio. From cheese to fry pie, breakfast casserole and Amish peanut butter, all types of Amish food can be sampled.
The Great Lakes USA is the largest expanse of freshwater in the world with a unique and diverse landscape. This region, which is the size of continental Europe, includes the U.S. states of Illinois, Indiana Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin.
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