Hudson Valley Restaurant Week Spotlights One of America’s Great Culinary Destinations:

March 18-31, 2012 Event Links Regional Farms and Restaurants

Hudson Valley Restaurant Week, March 18-31, 2012, invites locals and tourists alike to discover world-class dining while exploring the scenic, historic and agricultural wonders of New York’s famed Hudson River Valley.

This culinary extravaganza runs a full 14 days, including two weekends, making it tantalizing for those looking for a tasty overnight getaway. Two hundred participating restaurants will offer three-course prix-fixe dinners at $29.95 and three-course lunches at $20.95. Participating restaurants are located in seven counties (Westchester, Rockland, Putnam, Orange, Dutchess, Ulster and Columbia) along the Hudson River from north of New York City to just south of Albany.

Last year’s event drew more than 200,000 diners, and for good reason, stresses Janet Crawshaw, Hudson Valley Restaurant Week organizer and publisher of The Valley Table magazine, the recognized authority on all things food related in the Hudson Valley. “The Hudson Valley food scene is truly vibrant,” she says. “The Valley is home to the Culinary Institute of America, the country’s foremost cooking school. Plus, we have many celebrated artisanal cheese makers, world-class wineries and distilleries, and some of the top chefs in America.”

It’s no wonder, Crawshaw states, that The Lonely Planet, a leading travel website and travel guide publisher, recently named the Hudson Valley as the #2 pick on their 2012 top ten list of places to visit in the U.S., notable for its farm-to-table foodie options.

Visitors to the Hudson Valley during Restaurant Week can enjoy relaxing in an elegant spa, antiquing in quaint river towns, touring national historic landmarks, sampling wines and beers at local vineyards and breweries, tasting cheeses and other locally-produced foods at farm markets and catching the first sap run at maple-sugaring operations. Many will want to include a visit to the renowned Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park on their itineraries.

Because of the Valley’s strong agricultural base, the use of locally-produced ingredients on Restaurant Week menus is part of the event’s appeal. “Chefs go all out to use ingredients produced in the Hudson Valley, from venison, duck and heritage pork to artisanal cheeses, wines and seasonal fruits and vegetables,” Crawshaw says. “Our chefs find both inspiration and amazing ingredients in the surrounding farms, orchards and vineyards.”

Hudson Valley Restaurant Week is presented by The Valley Table in partnership with Dutchess County Tourism and Westchester County Tourism. Major sponsors are M&T Bank, WHUD Radio, The Gold Standard, The Culinary Institute of America, Hudson Valley Bounty, Crown Maple, Millbrook Vineyards and Winery and The Journal News.

To consult the list of restaurants participating in Hudson Valley Restaurant Week 2012, as well as hotels offering special overnight rates, go to www.HudsonValleyRestaurantWeek.com.

To obtain a free Hudson Valley travel guide, call 1-800-232-4782. Online tourism resources include www.travelhudsonvalley.com, www.hudsonrivervalley.com and www.hudsonriver.com.