Tour de Donut: Saratoga Edition
Upstate New York may not have a lot of Michelin starred restaurants, but we have a ton of apples. We live in the heart of apple country, and in the fall it’s an amazing place to be. There are orchards and country stores everywhere throughout the region, and most of them sell apple cider donuts.
These are a quintessential treat of fall. The only problem is that people are rarely exposed to a wide variety of these seasonal delights. And that’s fine. Family traditions are important and meaningful things, so I’m not going to try and change your rituals of the season.
However, there are some regional food lovers out there who are really curious to know which orchard, or bakery, or farm stand makes the best apple cider donut. And to answer that question, the Fussy Little Tours were born two years ago. Since then, I have led intrepid groups of eaters around the region in search of other tasty treasures.
But now fall is upon us yet again, so it’s time to circle the wagons and head north. Because I understand there are some mighty tasty specimens to be sampled on the far side of the Mohawk river. Today I have the details of the tour.
Mark your calendars. We are departing on Saturday, September 22.
Yes, not everyone will be able to make it that morning. Mindy will be getting married, and I don’t suspect her bridal party will be joining us. But we will think fondly of her as she enters into matrimony and we enter into sugar shock.
The tour commences at 10:00 am sharp.
And yes, there will be a lot of driving, but not as much as one might fear given some of the prospective nominees from last week. We will be visiting a wide range of places. There will be adventure and uncertainty. And some promising places have been left off the list. But time is limited, and so is the human capacity for donuts. Five is the absolute most I can reasonably ask anyone to evaluate in one day.
Our adventure will begin at Liberty Ridge in Schaghticoke. They are a giant operation, with an equally giant parking lot. I’ve confirmed that one doesn’t need to pay the entry fee to eat their donuts, which is nice, because that would be beat. They open at 10am. I’ll be at the farm market, right next to the parking lot with my FLB baseball cap and a fist full of official scoresheets.
I’ll ask for $4 from everyone to cover the cost of the day’s donuts, and in exchange I’ll give you a scoresheet. My hope is that a few people might consider leaving their cars here and hitching a ride with other participants. But that’s up to you. I’ll go into the bakery and ask for our donuts. I’ll ask for hot ones. Maybe they will give them to us, maybe they won’t. But I will not be asking for special treatment. The idea is to try the donuts that anyone can get, not just the ones for bloggers who are going to be judging them against their local competitors.
After sampling and scoring Liberty Ridge, we’ll be heading north to Saratoga Apple in Schuylerville. There’s a lot of love for this place among the Saratoga set. We’ll get to see if it lives up to the hype.
Stop number three is a bit of an adventure. It’s a place that is amazingly not really on the internet and comes via a reader recommendation. Reggie’s Veggies is located at 15 Brophy Road, in Greenwich. But wouldn’t it be wonderful to discover a place that’s off the map? I think it’s worth the risk. And just in case it turns out to be closed for the season, or something unthinkable, I have a backup plan that I’ll tell you about in a minute.
Anyway, Reggie’s is really on the way from Saratoga Apple to Hick’s in Granville. And Hicks is the other highly regarded orchard in the Saratoga region. They are also the home of Slyboro cider. I’m pretty excited about seeing that too. We may need to take a quick peek at their operation while we’re out there.
For our fifth and potentially final stop, we head back west to civilization – aka Sutton’s Market Place in Queensbury. This puts us back on the 87 corridor for the relatively straight trip south back to Liberty Ridge.
In the off chance something goes wrong with Reggie’s Veggies (or anywhere else for that matter), we will dip down a bit below the turnoff for Liberty Ridge and make our fifth and final cider donut the one at DeVoe’s in Clifton Park. Then it’s just a short jaunt back to Liberty Ridge to drop off any accumulated passengers you may have picked up along the way.
The route can be found here.
[Note from Mrs. Fussy: Holy s***balls, that’s a lot of driving..]
It will be exhausting. But in the end, I promise you will have a new appreciation of the apple cider donut and a better understanding about what makes a good one, which places are overrated, and what spot is your favorite in the region.
Hopefully you can join me. This is open to everyone who wants to come. I just ask that you let me know if you plan on attending so I can make sure to have enough scoresheets on hand, and so we don’t head off without you. And if you want to come for just a few stops that’s fine too. However only fully completed scoresheets will be used to determine which of these donuts is the best of the five.
I’m looking forward to seeing you there.