The interplay of food & wine is a big part of the festival, and also of the popularity of Traverse City as a culinary destination. Recently in Bon Appetit, superstar chef Mario Batali touted Traverse City and the Leelanau Peninsula, saying “The food scene has really exploded in the region. It’s very cool. The chefs involved in the scene celebrate what’s here; they’re not trying to be anything they’re not.”
What they are is definitely gathering notice: Livabilty.com has ranked Traverse City their #1 Foodie City in America, the James Beard Foundation tapped three chefs from the area as semi-finalists for their Best Chef: Great Lakes award, and USA Today, Wine Enthusiast and Trip Advisor have all tagged the area as one of the hottest wine regions in the country.