Get the best tastes from your vacation delivered to your door

Cherry Republic's Original Cherry Salsa is among the many cherry products the company sells that can be shipped to your door. CONTRIBUTED

Credit: Alexis Larsen

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Cherry Republic's Original Cherry Salsa is among the many cherry products the company sells that can be shipped to your door. CONTRIBUTED

Credit: Alexis Larsen

Summer is synonymous with travel.

School’s out and it’s time to see the sights.

Not in school and don’t have kids to worry about? Well, you’re halfway through the year and you’ve earned a trip out of town to treat yourself.

Travel is about experience which means it’s also about diving with wild abandon into delicious food, calories be damned. Trying the flavors and ingredients that the region of the country or the world you find yourself in is known for is an absolute must.

You’re not going to the east coast without stuffing your face with seafood unless you have a seafood allergy, in which case, I’m no doctor, but stick with chicken or beef. There’s nothing like a proper New England lobster roll or a good clam chowder, or both.

Don’t you dare leave Florida without a box of citrus. Heading to Indiana? Go to the state fair, which runs July 29 through August 21 (www.indianastatefair.com) and find a pork tenderloin sandwich as big as your head.

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Michigan has cherries, Minnesota has walleye, the south has barbecue and sweet tea. Even adventuring through Ohio there are specialty cooking products, ingredients and foods that each city can boast as uniquely theirs.

On a recent trip to Michigan I was reminded of what wonderful local products are out there that you can discover when flexing your travel muscle.

The best part of this is many times you don’t have to have visited that exact place to enjoy it. In the world of shipping directly to doorsteps, you don’t have to have left the comfort of your home to get it in on some of the best flavorful items found on that trip out of town, you just have to have had someone tell you that it exists so you know to order it.

My No. 1 revelation from my trip to Michigan was the Boss Mouse Smoked Butter being whipped up under the watchful eye of owner and head cheesemaker Sue Kurta in Kingsley, Michigan (bossmousecheese.com).

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Boss Mouse Smoked Butter is produced in Kingsley, Michigan. CONTRIBUTED

Credit: Alexis Larsen

Boss Mouse Smoked Butter is produced in Kingsley, Michigan. CONTRIBUTED

Credit: Alexis Larsen

Combined ShapeCaption
Boss Mouse Smoked Butter is produced in Kingsley, Michigan. CONTRIBUTED

Credit: Alexis Larsen

Credit: Alexis Larsen

The butter is hand cut and wrapped after being infused with a beautiful two-hour apple wood cold smoke that’s as easy on the nose as it is the mouth.

It’s sold in 1/3-pound blocks for $8 each.

It’s one of those basic ingredients that can magically transform a meal or a dish to the next level. Top it on seafood, eggs, corn, potatoes, sandwiches, sauteed vegetables, popcorn, and even a patty on a good steak to help infuse a flavor to your dish that will have everyone asking what exactly you did to achieve that perfectly wonderful smoke.

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Boss Mouse Artisan Cheese has a membership club that allows members to receive cheese and butter selections by mail on a regular basis. CONTRIBUTED

Credit: Alexis Larsen

Boss Mouse Artisan Cheese has a membership club that allows members to receive cheese and butter selections by mail on a regular basis. CONTRIBUTED

Credit: Alexis Larsen

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Boss Mouse Artisan Cheese has a membership club that allows members to receive cheese and butter selections by mail on a regular basis. CONTRIBUTED

Credit: Alexis Larsen

Credit: Alexis Larsen

Boss Mouse also makes cheese one wheel at a time using pasteurized grass-fed cows milk. If that’s of interest they run a Boss Mouse Monthly Cheese Club Membership in three and 12 month options to sign up for. The recipient receives one of those magical smoked butters by mail along with a postcard detailing their gift at the time of purchase followed by a block of cheese mailed within the first month via USPS.

There’s also the absolutely wonderful Cherry Republic (cherryrepublic.com) celebrating “Life, Liberty, Beaches and Pie” that is celebrating their 1989 roots with free ground shipping when you order more than $89 which is not hard to do especially when ordering the full board charcuterie box ($110) with their signature smoky habanero summer sausage, original summer sausage, cherry mustard, cherry salsa, cherry horseradish sauce, cherry hazelnut crisps and cherry nut mix

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Cherry Republic's Great Hall of the Republic is on Michigan's Northwest Lower Peninsula. The company provides free shipping on some orders. CONTRIBUTED

Credit: Alexis Larsen

Cherry Republic's Great Hall of the Republic is on Michigan's Northwest Lower Peninsula. The company provides free shipping on some orders. CONTRIBUTED

Credit: Alexis Larsen

Combined ShapeCaption
Cherry Republic's Great Hall of the Republic is on Michigan's Northwest Lower Peninsula. The company provides free shipping on some orders. CONTRIBUTED

Credit: Alexis Larsen

Credit: Alexis Larsen

Tomato Bliss gourmet soups (tomatobliss.com), made in southwest Michigan from local grown ingredients, was awarded best soup of 2022 by Prevention Magazine. A four-pack soup sampler is $49.95 featuring tomato basil, vadouvan curry, smoky New Mexican and Moroccan Roasted all bottled up by local farmers with no added sugars and gluten and dairy free. It’s another taste of someplace else that you can enjoy and relish in knowing you’re supporting something local while getting a sense of the flavors being produced in another area of the country.

When hearing about trips from friends, acquaintances and really, anyone who will share stories of their adventures with me, because I love to hear them, I want to hear as much about the food as about the highlights and adventures.

Of especial interest is in what they brought back. What was it? Coffee from New Orleans, a special bottle of wine from California, Moon Pies from Tennessee? There’s always something with great local flavor that you may not want to miss, so as you’re hearing those wonderful stories this summer from friends and family that leave you with a slight case of Wanderlust, be sure to ask about the can’t miss food and sundries that were unearthed. You may not be able to go yourself, but it’s always nice to be able to have a taste.

Like those lucky folks that visit Dayton and try Marion’s and Esther Price for the first time.

I’m probably the only one that’s going to say the can’t miss item from my most recent vacation is butter, but for me it was and that’s my truth. Now go and get yourself something that really is that good and will elevate whatever you are doing in the kitchen to a new level of flavor you probably had never considered.

Dayton Eats looks at the regional food stories and restaurant news that make mouths water. Share info about your menu updates, special dinners and events, new chefs, interesting new dishes and culinary adventures. Do you know of exciting outdoor spaces, new exciting format changes, specials, happy hours, restaurant updates or any other tasty news you think is worth a closer look at? E-mail Alexis Larsen at alexis.e.larsen@hotmail.com with the information and we will work to include it in future coverage.

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