Ed. Note: What follows is a Patch reader-generated announcement:
Hudson Valley Restaurant Week, the Hudson Valley's largest and most successful culinary event, returns to cities, towns and villages throughout the region this year from March 18-31. The list of participating restaurants is now live and reservations are open.
Participating restaurants in seven counties (Westchester, Rockland, Putnam, Orange, Dutchess, Ulster and Columbia) will offer three-course prix-fixe dinners at $29.95, and three-course lunches at $20.95 during the two-week event.
"Now in its sixth year, Hudson Valley Restaurant Week demonstrates why the Hudson Valley has become one of America's most talked about culinary destinations," says Janet Crawshaw, Hudson Valley Restaurant Week organizer and publisher of The Valley Table magazine. "The Hudson Valley has long been a vibrant agricultural region," Crawshaw says. "Now, in addition to our farms, we are home to the country's foremost cooking school, celebrated artisanal cheese makers, world-class wineries and distilleries, and some of the top chefs in America."
Because agriculture is still the Hudson Valley's biggest industry, the use of locally-produced ingredients on Restaurant Week menus is key to the event's popularity. In fact, the farm-to-table movement -- a long tradition among Hudson Valley chefs -- is becoming a national culinary trend, accord ing to the National Restaurant Association, which recently named locally-sourced-ingredients as the hottest restaurant food trend in 2012.
"Sustainable, local cuisine is more than a trend here," Crawshaw adds. "Hudson Valley chefs find inspiration and amazing ingredients in the surrounding farms, and they go all out to use local products on their menus--from venison, duck and heritage pork to artisanal cheeses, wines. There's so much to use, even in winter." Hudson Valley Restaurant Week includes two full weekends, making it even more tantalizing for those looking for a tasty getaway. Many Hudson Valley hotels, inns and bed and breakfasts are offering special Restaurant Week rates, so adventurous foodies can spend a weekend or longer sampling menus at some of the finest restaurants in the region while treating themselves to mini-vacations.
Another exciting development for the event is involvement by the Culinary Institute of America. Tim Ryan, President of the CIA, now co-chairs the Advisory Board of Hudson Valley Restaurant Week, along with Peter Kelly of the renowned Xaviars Restaurant Group. "We are delighted to be partnering with the Culinary Institute of America on building Hudson Valley Restaurant Week," Crawshaw says. "Many of our participating chefs are CIA graduates who have chosen to remain in the Valley and contribute their skills and imagination to our ever-expanding food scene."
Hudson Valley Restaurant Week is presented by The Valley Table in partnership with Dutchess County Tourism and Westchester County Tourism. M&T Bank is the Official Bank and Credit Card Sponsor. Major sponsors are WHUD Radio, The Gold Standard, The Culinary Institute of America, Hudson Valley Bounty, Crown Maple Syrup and Millbrook Vineyards and Winery.
For more information and a full list of participating restaurants click here.