Cooking the local specialties can be an essential part of a foodie’s vacation. Delaware’s beach resorts have fully embraced gastronomy as a holiday activity. Along with traditional seaside fare and a wide spectrum of restaurants, Sussex County has attracted numerous specialty providers offering choice culinary products and ingredients.
Hickman’s Meat Market is a leading example. This classic butcher shop sells USDA prime beef, all natural pork, veal, lamb and poultry. Opened in Rehoboth in the late 1800s, five generations of Hickmans have custom cut and created delicious meat products, currently including four types of bacon and nearly three dozen types of sausages.
To accompany that beef tenderloin fillet or free-range turkey, visit the Good Earth Market & Organic Farm for locally grown, certified organic produce, some from their own 10-acre farm. Good Earth also sells health and beauty products, supplements and natural cleaning products. Their restaurant specializes in local and seasonal items, with a focus on traditional European stylings.
In Selbyville, Herbs, Spice & Everything Nice grows a unique selection of organic flowers, herbs, and vegetables, much of it from year-round, climate-controlled greenhouses. Dave Wiley’s cardamom, ginger, basil, garlic and other specialty herbs supply local farmers markets, along with tomatoes and more than 20 varieties of scented geraniums. Also, look for exotic papyrus plants and native fig trees.
If seafood is on your menu, try Dewey select oysters, locally raised as a part of the Delaware Delicacy aquaculture program. Bluecoast Rehoboth serves them, literally, just a couple of hours out of the water. Though small, the Dewey selects are very sweet and incredibly fresh. Bluecoast presents them well iced with all appropriate accompaniments.
A good bread can make a meal, and Old World Breads, in Lewes, sets a high bar for innovation and quality, regularly producing more than 50 types of breads and pastries along with soups, potpies and quiches. Everything is made from scratch, using locally sourced ingredients and whole grains without any additives or preservatives. The flavorful orange cardamom bread is a particular standout.
Coastal Delaware does not lack ethnic food markets. Jerusalem International Grocery, in Lewes’ Tenley Court, offers Middle Eastern, Turkish and Russian products including bulgur wheat, halva, coffees and teas, dried fruits and other sweets.
Touch of Italy, in Rehoboth and Lewes, admirably serves as a trattoria, salumeria, and pasticceria, with a full service restaurant and extensive deli and carryout counter. Try the house specialty chicken parmigiana, or the focaccia robiola, stuffed with robiola cheese and prosciutto and drizzled with white truffle oil.
Rosenfeld’s Jewish Delicatessen, in Rehoboth, is an homage to the classic Kosher-style deli counter and dine-in. From the stuffed kishka to the chopped liver to the Dr. Brown’s sodas, even the delicious smells and wall murals celebrate Jewish ethnic cuisine. The well-stuffed Reubens are the house specialty.
For added spice, Peppers, in Lewes, is home to the world’s largest collection of hot sauces. Peppers specializes in “…all things zesty, hot, mild, tasty, cool, weird, unusual, and unique!” Owner Chip Hearn stocks some 3,000 items including barbecue sauces, dry rubs, seasonings, drink mixes, marinades, pickles and hot sauces of all types, flavors and heats.
Chip Hearn also runs the Ice Cream Store, on Rehoboth Avenue, next to the boardwalk. With more than a dozen other shops serving ice cream, Hearn’s store stands out for his creative, often whimsical, and frequently off-the-wall flavors. Nowhere else will you find Bacon Maple Crunch, Better than Sex, and dozens of other unique flavors including — yes! — Booger ice cream.
Canine family members find their own special treats at Tail Bangers, a bakery for dog biscuits. Owner Lisa St. Clair has a retail shop and invites visiting dogs to tour the factory. All of her biscuits are decorated, some with seasonal themes, and may include Canine Cannolis, Barkin Bon Bons and Doggie Doughnuts.
In Southern Delaware, a beach vacation does not necessitate eating all meals in restaurants. With the wide scope of culinary opportunities, vacationers can add cooking to their list of seaside adventures.
Bone Suckin’ Beer Can Chicken
Courtesy of Peppers at www.peppers.com
1 whole chicken
Bone Suckin’® Chicken Seasoning & Rub
1/2 can beer per chicken
Preheat grill to medium high heat at about 375 degrees F. Rinse chicken and pat dry with paper towel. Coat chicken with Bone Suckin’ Chicken Seasoning. Pour 2 tablespoons of Bone Suckin’ Chicken Seasoning in 1/2 can of beer, place on grill and sit chicken on it. Cook on indirect heat for about 1 1/4 hours, or until internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165°. Let cooked chicken rest for 8-10 minutes. Enjoy!