Many of us have heard stories about our grandmothers or great grandmothers stopping at the roadside and picking dandelion greens for soups. Others may already be familiar with sweet dandelion jelly. But dandelions have many other uses, like in wine, as Breitenbach Winery knows. For decades, they’ve been making their famous dandelion wine. As interest in the product grew, the winery decided to host the first Dandelion Festival in 1993.
You can still sample that unique dandelion wine and an assortment of dandelion infused foods and other products at the annual spring festival, May 1-2, at the Roadhouse Amphitheatre on the Breitenbach Winery grounds.
I recommend that if you eat nothing else that day, you try the dandelion gravy. In my opinion, this gravy alone is totally worth the trip to Dover. It’s a surprisingly tasty concoction made of butter, bacon, hard-boiled eggs, flour, milk, vinegar and dandelion greens . It’s served poured over homemade mashed potatoes. You might even save room top try other delicious dandelion dishes such as the bread, lasagna, sausage, ice cream and sangria. And food isn’t the only attraction. The festival gives you a chance to take in the gorgeous scenery of the winery’s property and to pick up a bottle of one of their wines or jellies.
The festival a family-friendly outing too. On Saturday at noon, there’s a dandelion-picking contest for kids. All those dandelions will be used later on to make dandelion jelly. On Sunday, May 3, if you are not too full from dandelion delicacies, you can participate in the Dandelion Run/Walk, which will take you through some beautiful Amish countryside.
Other festival fun includes music entertainment, arts and crafts vendors and cooking demonstrations. One vendor I should mention is Westbrook’s Cannery out of Zoar. They have a wide section of sauces, butters, pickled products and more, which can all be sampled at the fest. You might be taking some of their jars home with your Breitenbach Dandelion Wine.
Feeling inspired? Find a delicious dandelion recipe and Sara Graca’s story on the 2013 festival in the Spring 2013 issue.
— Kristian Campana
Note: Check out Kristian’s Ohio Festivals site for a list of festivals and other events to see this year as you explore Ohio and beyond.