This month we dial up the picnic experience and go in search of epicurean fixings for your basket. (Pair with a rosé— click here to find our Northern Michgan winery selections.)
A culinary closet of delights, immersion in the Elk Rapids Wine Shop draws us into a savory vortex of pissaladiere fresh from the oven, pungent cheeses breathing under glass and mirepoix simmering for the daily preparation of coq au vin or beef Bourguignon.
New proprietors Rob Crandell and Mary Sawyer have infused their passion for food, wine and travel into this beloved portside wine shop and are actively developing a Mediterranean gourmet-to-go program that services the Elk Rapids community and its transient boaters and summer picnickers with housemade pâtés, savory French meat pies, marinated vegetables and individual desserts like crème brûlée or tarte aux fruits.
Avid boaters themselves, Rob and Mary have a stable of boat-friendly sides and read- to-grill meats that make dockside dining a little more delicious. To rinse down its signature Euro-delicacies, the Elk Rapids Wine Shop offers a dynamic selection of international wine, craft beers and infused mineral waters.
Salumi, olives, aged cheeses and ready-made delectables like spanakopita and arancini (deep-fried, cheese-filled globes of saffron risotto) abound at this classic Old World emporium on Front Street.
Fill your basket with cured duck breast, fig compote, Spanish sheep’s milk cheese and a crusty baguette to feast al fresco in Charlevoix’s picturesque East Park.
Pick up the trappings of a bangin’ cheese board or amble back to your motor yacht with a heavy bag of signature sandwiches like The Big Canoe. Small but creative selection of wines and microbrews.
Proprietor and chef Karen Williams keeps her cases loaded with creative comfort foods like marinated slaw, bourbon-glazed ham and rosemary potato gratin as well as Mediterranean delicacies like falafel and Tuscan bean salad.
Housemade sausages, culty smoked fish spread, international cheeses and ready-to-grill premium meat and seafood enable your picnic bliss beside Little Traverse Bay.
A 25-year veteran of the wine industry and a retired TCAPS teacher and hobbyist baker, Rob Crandell and Mary Sawyer have channeled their lifelong love of food and wine into ownership of the Elk Rapids Wine Shop. We sit down over a warm tourtière to talk about travel and the perfect spread for an early summer picnic.
Every trip seems to inspire a new menu item, how have your recent travels shaped the kitchen at the wine shop?
Last fall we visited Montreal and reconnected with tourtière, a savory French meat pie that’s been made in Mary’s family for four generations. This spring we spent time in Paris and Nice, where we were inspired by open-air food markets and patisseries, which have brought pissaladiere and fruit tartes to the cases.
When building the perfect picnic basket what do you suggest?
A cold bottle of Provençal rosé, a piece of country pâté, a demi-baguette, some of our ol’ jalapeños (olives marinated in garden herbs and jalapeños) and some Mexican chocolate for dessert.