2002 Season

Litchfield, CT -- For Immediate Release. Contact: Janet L. Serra 860-567-4506 lhcvbnwct@aol.com Farmhouse cheeses made by hand, home baked desserts, pork products raised and smoked on the farm --these are some of the lures that bring gourmets on shopping expeditions to the Litchfield Hills, where preparing fine foods is still a family affair. The year was 1979 when Blaine and Deanna Matthews began baking fruitcakes in the kitchen of their white clapboard 1812 farmhouse in Cornwall Bridge. Though their reputation has spread far and wide, the couple, who were featured on the Food Network last year, are still using the same family recipe with fresh all- natural ingredients. The offerings have expanded to include cakes, bars, cookies and brownies, but the personal service has never changed at the business known as Matthews 1812 House (800-662-1812). They will still handwrite your gift message or enclose your personal card with your selections. A mother-daughter duo, Joan and Terri Lamothe, preside at Rustling Winds Creamery and Stables in Falls Village (860-9824-7084). The duo milk two cows and anywhere from five to fifteen goats daily to produce their trademark aged English-style Cheshire cheese and Canaan Mountain Goat Milk Cheese. No preservatives or additives are used. The mild, tangy Cheshire is made with time-honored techniques and aged for over 60 days to bring out the flavor and texture. Wesleydale, another British classic, is made with traditional care. Joan also has added her own touch to some of the offerings with special seasonings and herbs. Visitors to the farm can also buy hand-spun, hand-knitted sweaters, along with goat milk soap, maple syrup, jellies and jams. Follow the driveway up past the farm house, barns and smoke house and you'll come to a shop that is a reminder of days gone by at the Egg and I Pork Farm in New Milford (860-354-0820). Many artifacts of the original 18th century farm are on display and more than a few slices of "pork lore" are served up by Owner Jim Dougherty, better known as "Doc." If you ask, he may even give you a tour of the working farm. The ButchersChop at the farm sells to the public the same exceptional homegrown, extra-lean meats that are sold in gourmet markets and boasted about on restaurant menus. The choices are everything from ribs roasts and chops to bacon, ham and sausage. Pork is just one of the choices at Nodine's Smokehouse in Goshen (800-222-2059), a familiar name in gourmet markets in New York City. This family business has outgrown the original smokehouse and moved to a larger facility in nearby Torrington, but the retail store remains in a remodeled dairy barn in Goshen. Here you can buy the finest smoked meats, poultry, fish and cheese directly. For a perfect ending to the day, visit the Tasting Room of Harney and Sons in Lakeville (800- TEA-TIME). John Harney and his sons, Paul and Michael, are purveyors of teas found in the country's best hotels and shops. The handsome tearoom stocks over 100 varieties, displayed in gold-labeled black canisters. Small cups are set out for sampling the brews of the day. The shop is also a wonderful source for brewing equipment, teapots and accessories and books about tea. For more information on local foods and a free copy of UNWIND, a 40-page color guide to lodging, dining and all the attractions in the Litchfield Hills, write to the Litchfield Hills Visitors Bureau, PO Box 968, Litchfield, CT 06759, call (860) 567-4506 or visit their web site at www.litchfieldhills.com.