PHILADELPHIA & CHESTER COUNTY, Pennsylvania Tour
September 1st - 4th , 2017
Join Cheese Journeys’ for its first East Coast artisan food tour: a Chester County Cheese Getaway that begins and ends in Philadelphia, one of the country’s top culinary cities.
Co-hosted by writer and cheese maven Tenaya Darlington, a.k.a. Madame Fromage, and Cheese Journeys Founder and CEO Anna Juhl, the journey begins with a private tour of Philly’s famous Italian Market and its best-loved specialty foods store, DiBruno Bros., with owner Emilio Mignucci (you’ll receive a similar tour to the one he gave Anthony Bourdain). Then, after lunch and a visit to the legendary Termini Brothers Italian bakery, you’ll venture into the rolling hills of Chester County, a region with deep agricultural and dairying traditions and some of the finest farmland in the country, just an hour away from the city. Here you’ll relax for three nights at Grace Winery, a beautiful country inn where you’ll enjoy a food photography workshop with Madame Fromage, a wine and cheese walking tour of the historic property with Grace Winery’s winemaker and invited local cheesemakers, a vineyard dinner, and a chef’s cooking demo and a jam making demo over brunch and cocktails, plus day visits to two of the area’s celebrated cheesemakers: Sue Miller of Birchrun Hills Farm and Sam and Stacey Kennedy at The Farm at Doe Run. You’ll also be treated to dinner at the area’s nationally known restaurant, Talula’s Table, a tour of Victory Brewery’s newest location, and a woodcarving demo from designer John Luttman, and a shopping excursion in quaint Kennet Square.
During your time in Philadelphia, you’ll experience a special tea tasting with tea expert Alexis Siemens, sample local spirits at artisan distillery Rowhouse Spirits, meet food portrait artist Mike Geno, who has been profiled by The New York Times, and feast on the most exquisite cheese and charcuterie at a private “Last Supper.” Learn, relax, and explore in the company of other cheese lovers!
Included in the tour price are: Lodging for 3 nights, continental breakfast provided 3 mornings, 4 noon and 3 evening meals (including alcoholic beverages served with meals). All expenses related to classes and/or tours provided by chef, guest cheese and beverage experts and hosts are included. Transportation during the trip is included. Gratuities for driver and chef are optional.
Not included in the tour price: Round trip transportation or airfare to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Personal shopping at markets and Kennett Square. Specific alcoholic beverages other than those served at meals and tasting events can be purchased separately.
Disclosure: The itinerary is outlined below. However, we reserve the right to substitute an event if needed. Guests have the option of declining a particular excursion or tour but, note, we are unable to make refunds for any missed meals, classes or events. Please see additional information under “Terms & Conditions” at www.cheesejourneys.com.
Day One: Friday, September 1
Our four-day journey begins with a taste of old-world charm at the famous DiBruno Bros. specialty food store on Ninth Street in South Philly. For over 75 years, this family business has been a beloved fixture in the city’s Italian Market, and third-generation owner Emilio Mignucci will be our personal guide. From the antipasti bar and impressive cheese and charcuterie selections, to the 50 linear feet of specialty ingredients, there’s something delicious here for everyone. Emilio will then take us on a tasting and walking tour of the surrounding Italian Market, the country’s oldest and largest open-air emporium. He’ll bring us to some of his favorite spots, sharing inside stories and introducing us to his long-time friends, just as he did when Anthony Bourdain was in town. Be sure to save room for lunch: we’ll be dining with Emilio at another family-owned gem on Ninth Street, Ralph’s Italian Restaurant, known for its classic Italian American dishes and old-school atmosphere.
After lunch, we’ll satisfy our sweet tooth during a visit to the iconic Termini Brothers Italian bakery at their flagship store. This Philly institution is famous for its to-die- for handcrafted cannoli filled with fresh ricotta, as well as an incredible array of traditional Italian pastries, cookies, and cakes. Next we’ll head for the rolling hills of Chester County and our home-away- from home for the next three nights: the stunning Inn at Grace Winery. Situated on 50 acres in the Brandywine Valley, Grace Winery is a peaceful haven rich with history—the original manor house dates back to 1734, with an additional wing added in 1815 (all updated to meet today’s standards for luxury accommodations).
We’ll kick off our Chester County stay with a fun food photography workshop led by Madame Fromage, who will give us pointers on how to capture the best photos of our favorite food memories during the trip. Grace Winery’s winemaker will then guide us through a wine and cheese walking tour of the estate. We’ll be joined by a couple of our favorite local cheese makers and as we explore the property, we’ll taste different cheeses paired with wines that were produced right on the estate. The finale to our day will be dinner under the stars in the vineyards, showcasing Executive Chef Scott Megill’s selection of local, seasonal ingredients. Scott has great respect for the people who grow and raise the food we eat, and his farm-to- table ideals include a "nose to tail" and "seed to sprout"; philosophy of utilizing everything that he can.
Day Two: Saturday, September 2
After breakfast at the Inn, we’ll depart for picturesque countryside of southern Chester county. At the Woodlands at Phillips, we’ll meet up with the third generation Phillips sisters to tour and learn about the fascinating and diverse world of mushrooms. We’ll sample and shop at the authentically restored, beautiful retail location- a property first constructed in 1828 and acquired by Phillips in 1890.
After leaving the farm, we'll make a quick stop at the Farmer's Market at West Chester to meet up with a few additional cheese producers. Madame Fromage and Sue Miller will guide you as you shop and sample some of Pennsylvania's finest cheeses and seasonal produce.
Our next stop, a “Cheese Festival” at Artisan Exchange. In honor of our visit to Chester county, local food artisans and farmers have created a cheese theme for their Saturday gourmet market experience! Learn how an innovative family created a business to provide an environment and support for new food- producing entrepreneurs. Enjoy freshly baked breads and sweets, handmade preserves, chutneys and spreads, and much more. All are committed to producing hand-crafted, sustainable foods while sharing sound business practices that have a positive social impact. We’ll sample, talk with owners and see the fine fruits of this unique collaboration and enjoy lunch and a beer from the next door brewery.
After lunch, we depart for an afternoon at The Farm at Doe Run. You'll experience up close, the art of world-ward-winning cheesemaking as you're hosted by their team of expert heardsmen and cheesemakers. This is a rare invitation to visit this beautiful farm, dairy facility and aging caves.
We’ll wrap up the afternoon with a shopping excursion in historic Kennett Square, a quaint village lined with unique boutiques and galleries. Kennett Square has been dubbed the “Mushroom Capital of the World”—over 50% of the country’s mushroom crops are grown in this area—. Our day will conclude with an exclusive “Farmtable Dinner” dinner at Talula’s Table (reservations for these intimate dinners typically must be made a year in advance, and The New York Times compared the dining experience to a “spiritual retreat”). Every item on the super-seasonal menu is sourced and prepared specifically for that evening, and plates are designed to showcase the individuality of each ingredient as well as the harmony of the combined components. The evening concludes with an artisanal cheese course and a stunning dessert.
Day Three: Sunday, September 3
We start this relaxing day in the kitchen, for a hands-on cooking demo and conversation with Grace Winery chef Scott Megill, a cupping demo with local small-batch coffee roaster and a demo from our friend Marisa McClellan, author of Food in Jars. We’ll finish with brunch paired with cocktails featured in Madame Fromage’s latest books. Relaxed and inspired to host our own cocktail brunch event, we’ll head to Philly. Our first stop is La Colombe Coffee Roasters’ flagship café in Fishtown for a special tasting of tea and sweets with tea expert and writer Alexis Siemons. Then we’ll visit Rowhouse Spirits, a tiny artisan distillery in East Kensington that has emerged as a standout in Philadelphia's craft spirits scene. We’ll sample some of Rowhouse’s very small batch gin, whiskey, and other herbal spirits during a tour and tasting with owner Dean Browne. A highlight of the day will be our visit to food portrait artist Mike Geno’s gallery, filled with mouthwatering paintings of cheese, bacon, donuts, bread, and other foodie favorites. A Philly native, Mike will chat with us about his path to painting food while we take in the art and enjoy some of his favorite cheeses. The day will be capped off with an exclusive after-hours event at DiBruno Bros. Ninth Street location where we started our journey on Friday—but this time the store will be our private tasting playground. In addition to tutorials and samples of artisan cheeses, charcuterie, antipasti, oils, vinegars, and condiments, the expert cheesemongers will create unique pairing concoctions especially for the Cheese Journeys group. Plus, we can taste almost anything else in the shop that piques our culinary curiosity!
Day Four: Monday, September 4
After breakfast at the Inn, we’ll enjoy time at Artifaqt in downtown Phoenixville, where owner and craftsman, John Luttmann will show us process to product. Having used his beautifully hand-crafted cheese boards and pieces throughout our stay at Inn at Grace Winery, now we will see how Artifaqt makes beautiful serveware in wood and metal for its own lines and specialty items for the likes of Eric Ripert of Le Bernardin. This is an opportunity to see a small shop that makes unique wares in-house from design to shipping, from small cups to epic burl slabs.
Next we’ll head up the road to the highlands of Birchrunville in Chester Springs to visit family-owned and operated Birchrun Hills Farms, an award-winning producer of handcrafted artisanal raw milk cheeses. Cheesemaker Sue Miller will give us a personal tour of the 54-acre farm, introducing us to their vivacious herd of about 85 predominantly Holstein cows, with a few Jerseys that Sue calls “the ambassadors.” We’ll visit the farm’s dairy to see robotic milking machines and enjoy a picnic lunch with her family. You’ll fall in love with their excellent raw milk cheeses, including Birchrun Blue, a mild semi-soft cheese that is sweet, peppery, and creamy with delicate blue flavors and a fudgy texture; Equinox, an Alpine-style cheese with nutty, brown buttery notes and a hint of salt; Fat Cat, a “little stinker” washed rind that is both earthy and tangy with a grassy finish and velvety texture.
Following our lunch, we'll head to picturesque Wyebrook Farm in the Honey Brook countryside for a tour and tasting. Wyebrook is known for its sustainable agricultural practices and beautifully restored 18th century stone barn at the heart of the farm.
We wrap up our journey with a tour and tasting at Victory Brewery’s state-of-the art Parkesburg facility. The brewery features a German-built ROLEC brewhouse with a production capacity of ten 200-barrel brews per day. Victory is one of only a few breweries in the country that uses whole flower hops in its beer, and produces over 25 year-round, seasonal, and specialty brands.
At 4 p.m. depart for Philadelphia, arriving approximately at 5 p.m. and say our goodbyes back near DiBruno Bros. on Ninth Street.
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