And now for the second half of day two at Foodbuzz Blogger Festival: It’s been almost two weeks since the end of the festival. I’m glad I waited to write this post because writing about it is like reliving it and it can feel like once the post is written the reminiscing is over.
To quickly remind you of what had happened up till this point, my first night was spent socializing at a welcome cocktail party followed by filling my belly with delicious street food.
And for the first half of day two I enjoyed a memorable morning at the Ferry Building followed by a Farm to Table discussion.
After this I headed with Shannon to the Tasting Pavillon. For this event, the room was filled with food, wine, beer and other drink producers sampling their wares and answering questions. In addition, there were two wine tasting classes, one on Merlot, which I attended, and one on sparkling wines, and cooking demonstrations from the winners of the Bertolli and Nature’s Pride recipe contests. I’m big fan of events like this for many reasons. The first and most obvious is that I love free samples. I also enjoy talking to the producers. It’s fascinating to hear the stories of how they got started. As someone who would ideally like to make a transition to a 100% food focused career someday it gives me so many ideas and tips. I also find I get a lot of ideas for new recipes.
The room was full of memorable sips and noshes. I could easily write a whole post about each producer. Embarrassingly, I didn’t get to try everything because I’m terrible at pacing. The wine pours were generous and seconds of the snacks and other goodies were encouraged so as the event wore on I was more selective in what I tried. Some things, however, stuck out most clearly as my favorites. Shockingly, none of them were cheese producers. There were a couple on-site, but in all honestly neither compared to the cheeses I tasted at The Vermont Cheesemakers Festival.
1. Foodzie - Clearly I have been living under a rock because this was the first time I heard of this great site. Foodzie is to food what Etsy is to crafts – a great online marketplace to score unique items from all over the country. The Foodzie staff brought some of their local producers along with them and sampled goodies. From unique shortbread with lavender from Simply Nic’s Specialty Foods to cookies developed to taste like cookie dough from Annie the Baker I was in sampling euphoria. I was also happy to later discover that this site carries many of my favorites from my local area: Taza Chocolate, Hannahbells Thimble Cheeses from the Shy Brothers Farm, and Effie’s Homemade Crispy Corncakes. I have a feeling that a lot of Christmas presents will be coming from this site. I’m also hoping to interview some of the producers so hopefully that is to come in future posts.
2. Mission Minis – If you couldn’t tell by the fact that I rushed home to make their Horchata cupcakes, these little treats are sugary perfection. With their perfect ratio of supple cake to creamy frosting they epitomize what I’m looking for in a cupcake and put Boston cupcake bakeries to shame. Pictured above is the Banana Crunch Cupcake. I adore all things banana so this was an easy favorite.
3. Lange Twins Winery – I was immediately intrigued by this winery when I found out that they have a commitment to sustainably produced wine. I love choosing products that meet my values so I love that sustainable products are becoming more mainstream. I sampled the 2008 Voigner, 2007 Petit Verdot/Petit Sirah, and 2008 Pinot Noir. Although the Voigner is pictured, of the three the Petit Verdot/Petit Sirah was my favorite. Made of 66% Petit Verdot and 34% Petit Sirah, this wine impressed me with its pleasantly rich mouthfeel and balance of fruitiness and earthiness.
I also made sure to taste the dishes created by fellow food bloggers for Bertolli and Nature’s Promise. Far and away my favorites were the Stuffed Mushrooms that Chrystal and Amir of The Duo Dishes and the Savory Bread Pudding made by Shannon of Tri to Cook. Both were packed with flavor and will likely be on my “to make” list sometime soon.
For me, the Tasting Pavilion experience ended with a Merlot tasting lead by Adler Yarrow of the blog Vinography. I have to admit I was not sure what to expect coming into the tasting because Merlot is definitely NOT my goto wine. I’m much more likely to drink a good Cabernet Sauvingon and Zinfandel. In all honesty, this tasting made me even more convinced I’m not that into Merlot. Of the wines we tasted, the Paloma Merlot was my favorite. My parents are big Merlot fans so I think they would have enjoyed this bottle.
Later that evening we headed to Greenleaf Produce Warehouse where Outstanding in the Field set up a farm to table dinner. Sadly I didn’t get any pictures (so the one I do have has sadly been lifted off Diana’s blog). It was here that I hung out with Diana (above right) who I met at breakfast in the morning. I also ran into Christy of Balance (above middle, that’s me on the left). It was very funny because when she first came over I didn’t recognize her from her blog and there was a fun moment when we each realized that we already “knew” each other from reading each others blogs. Like many of my dining companions, The Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Ponzu Fried Garlic, Guanciale, and Bonito Flakes were far and away my favorite. Lucky for us, Foodbuzz has posted the recipe thanks to Chef Dennis Lee of Namu.
By the time the bus came to take us back to the hotel I was tired, full, and pleasantly buzzed. Sadly this was the end of the festival for me as I had to skip breakfast the next morning in order to be on-time for my car pick up to the airport. Overall I had an amazing time and now have a full Google Reader of new friends to follow.