Eating My Way Through Bellingham, Part II

by Merle Exit
photos courtesy

Continuing with my food tour of Bellingham, Washington and its suburbs, we are off for more indulgence.  Located in the Nooksack River Valley, less than 15 minutes from Cloud Mountain Farm, Samson Estate Winery is a small family-owned operation noted for the raspberry and blackberry wines produced by their winemaker Rob Dhaliwal. We were led to the raspberry field and let go to pick and sample. You’d think that I was deprived of food on the entire trip the way I just couldn’t stop eating these absolutely most delicious and largest raspberries I’ve ever indulged in.

Not only were they sweet but also lacked those tiny little seeds that get stuck between your teeth. Having been joined by representatives of the Washington Red Raspberry Commission, we got the low down that 65% of all US raspberries are grown in Whatcom County. The fresh ones that you tend to buy from Driscoll may be fresh but not picked when they are fully ripened. Thus those annoying seeds are embedded. The raspberries from Washington are either sent to companies to juice or frozen. It means that you have to read the package to be sure that it did come from Washington.

As far as the wine tasting, we were provided with lunch (I know that you’re laughing) to pair with their various wines, including one regular raspberry and sweeter dessert version.

It’s off to Lynden for the Raspberry Festival. I love this town, Washington’s largest Dutch settlement with 30% of its residents still embracing their Dutch ancestry. I know that we’re there specifically for the festival, but I just needed to sample some of the Dutch fare — specifically the sweets. They were making something called Poffertjes (little pillows). There was the Dutch bakery and Dutch chocolate shop. Oh yeah, the raspberries. We had a freshly made vanilla ice cream with a chunky raspberry sauce.

Back to Bellingham and Chocolate Necessities, where owners Kevin Buck and Mark Pantly use the finest grade of Callebaut Chocolates for most of his creations. Aside from tasting the various cocoa percentages of both dark and milk chocolate, we went to the kitchen where he was preparing chocolates with fruit. We just had to sample those. This was the first chocolate store where I was able to taste Amarena cherries dipped in chocolate.

We later headed for the Silver Reef Hotel, Casino, Spa, located in Ferndale, where we were also bedding for the night. As if we hadn’t indulged in enough sweets…Amongst the dessert offers were: chocolate rockettes, a pastry topped with chocolate feet; a peanut butter cookie creation, and both flaming bananas Foster and cherries jubilee prepared tableside.

The Lummi Nation is responsible for the acreage used for this resort and operates the casino. I didn’t partake in the casino due to lack of want to lose my money, nor the spa due to my time constraint as I was hosting my radio show there. I did get a great night’s sleep in a most comfortable king bed…that had a chocolate on the pillow. Oy!

For further information on Bellingham and Whatcom County visit

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