TUPPER LAKE - To taste the salty bite of prosciutto in Italy, the smoky crunch of a German wurst or the hoppy flavor in a beer brewed by Trappist monks, people would need to pack their bags, fly across the Atlantic and remember their passport.
But today, people can skip the flight and come to The Wild Center for an all-day food festival, picking up a passport with their admission ticket that will let them travel from one Adirondack taste to the next.
The passport will allow people to taste Adirondack delicacies like local cheeses and meat, seasonal vegetables, maple rhubarb crisp, homemade ice cream and locally brewed beers.
Wild Center employee Tawnya Kentile gives a visitor some fresh vegetables with an herb dip, created from products by Fledging Crow Farms, Summit Farms and Underwood Herbs, at the Tupper Lake nature museum’s 2012 FlavorFest.
(Enterprise photo — Jessica Collier)
The tasting stations, catered by Adirondack Artisan Catering and located throughout the museum's campus, will focus on the best food and flavors found in the Adirondacks.
This year's focus is on maple, showing that it's not just for pancakes and French toast. Parker Family Maple will be on hand to show various methods of maple production from colonial times to the late 1800s through a living-history demonstration by this fifth-generation maple family. Attendees will be able to sample different grades of pure New York maple syrup.
Many of the ingredients highlighted at tasting stations will be available for purchase from the vendors of the Adirondack Farmers' Market Cooperative Inc. and The Wild Center's own farmers market.
FlavorFest is an opportunity to meet some of the local farmers and take home some local seasonal foods.
Those attending will also get to see a new documentary, "Nourish," which illustrates how food connects everyone to one another and the world at large.
Chris Ericson of the Lake Placid Pub and Brewery will talk about brewing different types of beer, how to taste beer and how to pair beer with food. He will also provide tastings of five of the brewery's beers, including Ubu Ale, Lake Placid IPA and 46er Pale Ale.
Chef Dave Hunt of Generations restaurant in Lake Placid will have a local tasting sautee station where you can create your own dish using local vegetables and sauce sauteed before your eyes.
Herbalist Jane Desotelle will give an edible food presentation, lead a walk showing how to identify edible and medicinal plants that can be found on Wild Center and other Adirondack trails, and sell her locally made products including herbal teas, wild foods and catnip toys.
A century-and-a-half ago, lumberjacks and farm workers ate a lot of bread, providing them with quick energy from complex carbohydrates, but it wasn't as easy as just picking up a loaf from the store. Hallie Bond will show the pleasures and pitfalls of being a baker back then.
There will be family games and activities focused on food throughout the day to keep the little ones occupied. Attendees can visit with farm animals from Harmony Hills Farmstead, strike a pose in the food photo booth, hand-crank their way to their own ice cream treat, make a real Mr. Potato Head, and hop to the finish during a potato sack race.
There will be live music all day on the GreenLeaf pond, featuring Big Slyde and a variety of hoedowns, waltzes, polkas, jigs and more from Ed and Geraldine. There will also be an expanded farmers market to pick up some fresh items for dinner, and Master Gardeners from Cornell Cooperative Extension on hand to answer growing questions.
The Wild Center is open daily from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. between Memorial Day and Labor Day.
Admission tickets cost $17 for adults (15 to 64 years old), $15 for seniots (65+, $10 for youth (4 to 14) and free for current members and children 3 and under.
For more information, visit www.wildcenter.org.