If happiness is eating, drinking and being merry, Oregon is paradise on earth. As diverse and satisfying as its incredible landscapes, the flavours of Oregon are the stuff foodie travel dreams are made of.
The state’s beer cup runneth over, with one of the USA’s most prolific craft brewery scenes, and there’s an abundance of black truffles so fine, they’d rival any found in France. From cheese trails to chocolate tours, the unique and delicious food experiences are many. Even better, they’ll take you right across the state savouring some of the best flavours (and views) found in the Pacific Northwest.
Oregon’s foodie epicentre
Any Oregon food journey is likely to start in Portland. As the state’s largest city, it beckons to travellers with an intoxicating mix of things to see and do. It also happens to be an epicentre for the Oregon culinary scene.
Every September, the Feast Portland food festival draws culinary travellers from around the world to delve into plates prepared by some of the world’s best talent. And the Portland Farmer’s Market allows local farmers to showcase their spoils every spring much to the delight of any lover of quality food.
Though, the food and drink love affair is year round in Portland, with an array of award winning restaurants that epitomise farm-to-table dining. Taking full advantage of local producers, restaurants have long been creating menus around locally sourced and seasonal ingredients.
Taste test the results at the Pine Street Market in Old Town. This chef-driven emporium is a modern food hall that treats diners to everything from delicate soft-serve ice creams and artisan hot dogs to Korean BBQ and Japanese ramen.
Down town sweet treats
The city’s Voodoo Doughnuts has garnered international attention for their creative approach to the humble doughnut, but the abundance of world-class bakeries, candy makers and chocolatiers proves just how big the city’s sweet tooth really is.
Embark on a walking tour to discover some of the artisan chocolate makers, or pull up a seat at Pearl Bakery or Little T American Baker. Both were ranked among the best bakeries in the USA by the Daily Meal and Travel + Leisure respectively. Just make sure you pair your sweet treat with a cup of coffee — another one of Oregon’s specialities.
Learn more about the state's diverse regions: The 7 Wonders of Oregon
Drive north the scenic way: A Tale of Two Roads: Route 66 and the Pacific Coast Highway
Crafty beers and spirits
Don’t forget to venture beyond the city limits to experience the full breadth of Oregon’s food scene. There are no less than 261 craft beer breweries in 73 different cities across the state, each offering a distinctly different and exciting line-up of beers.
Enthusiasts can follow the hops to Bend, Oregon to embark on the Bend Ale Trail that happens to run along the very picturesque base of Mount Bachelor. If you’re not a beer fan, you need not miss out on the fun, with wineries and distilleries along the way providing the chance to swirl and sip some of the region’s top wines and spirits.
Foodies that venture to the Oregon Coast will be rewarded in sweeping ocean panoramas, charming seaside towns and more sustainably caught salmon, tuna and dungeness crab than you can shake a fishing pole at.
Follow your taste buds along the coast for an array of roadside fish n’ chips, straight-from-the-ocean oysters and fine dining seafood restaurants. Astoria’s Bowpicker Fish & Chips is a local favourite, and not just because it’s a former gillnet boat converted into a roadside restaurant. Gearhart’s Pacific Way Cafe is home to one of the state’s best Dungeness crab sandwiches, and there is no finer place to get oysters than the Pacific Oyster Company in Bay City.
No matter where your food travels take you in Oregon, one thing is certain. You’ll leave with a full stomach and plenty of fond holiday memories.
"A Taste of Portland", as published in Inspirations Winter 2017