As a lifelong Marylander, I know the amazing array of food we offer visitors. We also have things you can ONLY find in Maryland. As a local, I take these treats for granted. Take a look with me at my favorite “Maryland only” food finds. Travel is not only about the destination but what we find along the way. I hope you will try a few of these on your next visit to “The Old Line State.”
Seven Local Food Finds To Discover in Maryland
Marylanders love to eat. There is no other way to say it. Bordered by the Atlantic Ocean and the Chesapeake Bay, summers are all about the seafood. Heck, even winter is, as raw oysters are a Christmas appetizer every year. But our menus go way beyond the seafood that makes us famous. With hometown bakeries as unique as the owners, there is no shortage of delights.
Now when I say Maryland food, I mean the food that makes you think of our great state. Not something you may find in the DC Metro area or just to the east in Delaware, it has to be found only in Maryland. Once you try these treats, you will crave them at the strangest times.
Maryland Food Finds
Brace yourself, because these cookies are rich and decadent and only found in Maryland. German immigrant Henry Baker came to the Land of Opportunity with a recipe and a dream. These cookies have been in Maryland markets since the 1800’s and continue to grace store shelves today. This rich shortbread chocolate goodness is a treat not to be missed. If you find yourself craving these delightful cookies you may purchase them online. These cookies have been named “Best Thing I Ever Ate” on Food Network.
Smith Island Cake
This cake is the official cake of Maryland. It consists of eight to ten layers of yellow cake with chocolate frosting between each layer and slathered over the whole cake. Many variations have evolved but the real deal is from Smith Island Baking Co. Smith Island can only be visited by boat and is the southernmost part of the state. This cake came about as families would gather after a long oyster season in fellowship when the water men would return.
Nobody does crabs like we do. We steam them, not BOIL. NO water-logged crabs in Maryland. Our beautiful blue crabs are steamed in seasoning with water and vinegar to keep them moist. Enjoy with a cold beer and steamed corn. Eating crabs is a very social thing, meaning if people hear you have crabs they will come running.
National Bohemian Beer
In 1885, a Bohemian-style beer, Natty Boh was first brewed by the National Brewing Company in Baltimore, Maryland. National Bohemian became the official sponsor of the Baltimore Orioles in 1965. It was served at Memorial Stadium and cemented its reputation as “official” beer of Baltimore. Natty Boh is best straight from the can, ice-cold. It is the quintessential partner for our steamed crabs. If you aren’t having crabs with your Natty Boh, line the rim with Old Bay. We put Old Bay on all kinds of stuff here, it never disappoints.
Oh, these hand-cut fries found on the Ocean City boardwalk are heavenly. Add malt vinegar and a little old bay seasoning and it’s just greasy bucket of goodness. I have had fries from all over this country, and no fries come close to Thrashers. Started in 1929, Mr. Thrasher a southern man proposed a new concession way to sell single items. Through five generations and eighty years, Thrasher’s has changed hands only twice. Still in the same location this beach tradition will be around for generations to come.
This treat is another Ocean City staple. The only thing better than the taste of Fisher’s is the smell wafting along the boards. This caramel popcorn is best hot and in the box. Fisher’s Popcorn was founded by Everett Fisher in 1937. He developed a world class recipe for delicious buttery caramel popcorn that has remained unmatched almost 80 years later. You can order online but come on down the ocean and try for yourself.
Goetz’s Caramel Cremes
This sweet treat is legendary in Maryland. It’s a chewy caramel with a rich creamy center. I grew up on them treats and now share them with all of my out-of-state friends. Once they take a bite they are hooked for life. My great aunt’s family owned Goetz’s candy, we always had them on hand at family affairs.
Not shaved ice, not a snow cone, they are snowballs. A classic Baltimore snowball arrives in a Styrofoam cup. Shaved ice sloshed with sweet syrup, mostly artificial flavoring (not any of that “real fruit” stuff) and typically topped with marshmallow cream. I prefer chocolate with marshmallow. And YES they do taste different. You cannot get snowballs during the winter because our stands are only open mid May until late September.
If you find yourself in Maryland be sure to add all of these to your “must have” list of foods. Which Maryland food are you most looking forward to enjoying?