News & Features

The 2020 Food Issue

Showcasing the region's signature dishes, far-flung culinary corners and foodie fanatics

Despite its brevity, the month of February can seem drearily long in the Flathead Valley, with its impenetrable grays, fleeting days and bracing chill testing the hibernal fortitude of even the most stoic winter denizens.

Even on the darkest days, however, food and its attendant communal culinary traditions beams light into our daily lives, drawing us out of our hunched postures and reanimating our spirits.

To celebrate this bond, every year at the Flathead Beacon we turn our editorial attention toward sharing recipes for delicious discovery, interviewing bakers whose pre-dawn milling helps keep the chill away, talking to the premier chefs of the Flathead Valley to learn their secrets and canvassing our readers for their favorite foods.

This week, we celebrate the finer things in life and learn that perhaps the best thing about a great meal isn’t the food on the table but the people around it.

Bon appetit!

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Wine and a charcuterie board at Woods Bay Wine in Woods Bay on Feb. 7, 2020. Hunter D’Antuono | Flathead Beacon

Uncorking Flavor on Flathead Lake

At Woods Bay Wine, bottle shop features fine wine and cuisine

By TRISTAN SCOTT of the Beacon

From their outpost on Flathead Lake’s eastern shore, David and Emily Meester could, if they were so inclined, employ a liberal definition of the term “rare” — there are sparsely populated segments of Montana where a cheeseburger and Coke would meet the criteria.

At Woods Bay Wine, however, the Meesters are truly offering something exceptional in the form of a bottleshop-restaurant hybrid offering top-tier wine and eats, all from their cozy cove off Montana Highway 35.

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An assortment of Sweet Peaks Ice Cream cones in Whitefish on Feb. 7, 2020. Hunter D’Antuono | Flathead Beacon

Sweet Peaks in New Places

As its 10-year anniversary approaches in April, the ice cream company continues to provide local flavors while expanding to Texas

By MAGGIE DRESSER of the Beacon

The famous flavor infusions of huckleberries, Flathead cherries and local ciders and breweries that Sweet Peaks Ice Cream has been perfecting for the last decade will continue their southern expansion at a new location in Texas this year.

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A boar peers through its enclosure at the H.E. Robinson Agricultural Education Center in Kalispell on Feb. 7, 2020. Hunter D’Antuono | Flathead Beacon

Feeding the Future

Flathead and Glacier high school students get a crash course in farming, ranching and more at the freshly renovated H.E. Robinson Agricultural Education Center

By ANDY VIANO of the Beacon

Students at Kalispell’s two public high schools have options to fulfill the district’s elective course requirements and graduate. Among the choices in the career and technical realm, students can study business, learn industrial tech or prepare for their future with a family consumer science course. Or, they can hop on a bus from Flathead or Glacier high school every day and head south, to one of the few working farms operated by a school district in the state of Montana.

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Scallops pan seared with garlic, butter, white wine and thyme from Cypress Yard, a Mediterranean restaurant in Whitefish, as seen on Feb. 7, 2020. Hunter D’Antuono | Flathead Beacon

Changing Tastes at Cypress Yard

Whitefish gallery and event space moves to become Mediterranean restaurant

By JUSTIN FRANZ of the Beacon

Some things, like a hearty stew or rich bisque, take a long, slow boil to reach its fullest, most flavorful potential. The same could be said about Cypress Yard on Wisconsin Avenue in Whitefish.

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A pasty, a baked pastry traditionally stuffed with beef and vegetables, from Brannigan’s Pub in Kalispell. Hunter D’Antuono | Flathead Beacon

What is Montana’s Dish?

Turns out a simple question has a complicated answer

By JUSTIN FRANZ of the Beacon

When I tell most people that I’m originally from Maine, they usually respond with something like, “Oh, Maine! You have lobster!”

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Ceres Bakery as seen on Jan. 24, 2020. The business recently underwent a remodel. Hunter D’Antuono | Flathead Beacon

The Life of a Baker: Q&A with Rick Grimm

Ceres co-owner discusses launching the beloved bakery 14 years ago and growing it into a community cornerstone

By MYERS REECE of the Beacon

Ceres Bakery has been in the same location on Main Street in downtown Kalispell for 14 years, establishing itself as a beloved coffee and pastry shop, as well as a widespread purveyor of delectable baked goods. Its breads, buns and other goodies are available in seven grocery stores and 30 restaurants.

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