With the food and beverage industry making up 26% of visitor spending in New Jersey, the state Division of Travel and Tourism has launched a campaign to support thousands of restaurants, more than 50 wineries and 100-plus breweries during the pandemic.

Secretary of State Tahesha Way said the goal behind the "Taste NJ" campaign is to emphasize the resiliency of these food and beverage places, promote takeout and delivery and remind residents to support local businesses.

They also want to pique the interest of out-of-state visitors who can virtually experience New Jersey's rich and diverse culinary, wine and beer offerings from the comfort of their homes.

The new Taste NJ website includes virtual cooking classes where visitors can view recipes from award-winning chefs and well-known personalities from each of the state's six regions. Way shares her prized family recipe for blueberry shortcake with homemade whipped cream.

"Take a Taste" has information and details on the state's restaurants, breweries and wineries offering convenient delivery and takeout services.

The "Dine-In Double Feature" is done in partnership with the New Jersey Motion Picture and Television Commission. Every Wednesday, visitors to the site who have existing paid subscriptions to Hulu, Amazon Prime, Netflix, Disney Plus and others can watch a movie while supporting local restaurants by ordering take-out or delivery. She said there are two cinema options: one is family-friendly, the other is for adults. The movies have an attachment to New Jerseym too. They were either filmed in the Garden State or have actors and actresses that hail from New Jersey.

"Virtual Happy Hours" feature suggestions on how to host a virtual wine and cheese night with friends. There's also "Foodie Friday" where friends can gather, socially-distanced of course and become food critics.

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