Regional Spotlight: New England

New England is the cornerstone of American history. It was a breeding ground for intellectuals at the time of our nation’s independence and is now home to top Ivy League schools like Harvard and Yale. Despite being the oldest settled region of the U.S., New England is still as charming as ever.

Historically, New England relied on fishing and dairy production, which is still reflected in the cuisine of the region today. Lobster, pies, baked beans and maple syrup are iconic foods associated with the New England states. The country’s oldest operating restaurant, Union Oyster House in Boston, serves a classic New England clam chowder that rings true to its roots. After tasting the chowder, you will understand why the version is world renowned.

There are many variations of clam chowder, but none comes close to the heart-warming richness of New England clam chowder. When most people think of clam chowder, it is New England’s famed variation that they imagine. The milk- or cream-based chowder is chock-full of potatoes and clams, and garnished with ample amounts of oyster crackers. The chowder typically incorporates salt pork and onions to create its distinct flavor.

Certainly don’t expect to find tomatoes in your New England clam chowder. Although Manhattan chowder is tomato-based and the Rhode Island variety adds tomatoes, it is a major faux pas to include tomatoes in the true New England version. A 1939 bill went as far as making it illegal to add tomatoes to the chowder in Maine. While you won’t be arrested for doing so in your own kitchen, it’s best to stick to the authentic version.

The vast New England region boasts numerous reasons to visit. It was home to our nation’s founding fathers, the site of many monumental moments, it has a beautiful Atlantic coastline, and delicious cuisine. There is something for everyone in each of the six states that make up the region no matter what time of year you visit. After a trip to New England, you will return home with a greater sense of our nation’s history — and a full stomach.

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