Monday, September 1, 2008

Slow Food Nation 2008

I don't even know where to start, Slow Food Nation was such a massive event and I was a little overwhelmed when I got there. I think it was the combination of trying to find the event and the large line of people waiting to get in to the Taste Pavilion. Once, I got in though, all was well. I went a little against the grain. The lines started at the bread pavilion so I decided to go all the way to the back. However, the last pavilion was for wine and I didn't feel much like drinking at 11 in the morning. I had a couple pieces of free cheese and then I decided to start my day with the Ice Cream. I chose the lighter flight which was made up of Cherry Lambec Sorbet from Jeni's Ice Cream in Columbus Ohio Cici's Gelateria in Mill Valley and Strauss Creamery provided Black Mission Fig and Yogurt flavors. I am so glad I picked this flight. The cherry flavor was nice and refreshing and a good palate cleanser. The yogurt was better than (dare I say?!) Pinkberry! And since I just finished a love affair with figs, I slowly savored the mission fig flavor.

The next stop was Charcuterie aka MEAT!! Since I returned to the meat eating world early last year, I love me some meat. I must admit, I hit this one twice. There was an appetizer of mortadella on crostini with sauerkraut and then three pieces of salumi. Prosciutto from Col. Newsom's, Berkshire VA Ham from Surry Farms, and the best (save the best for last) Salame Piccante from Perbacco. Each was great with their salty meatiness, but the spice of the salame put it in a class of it's own.
After the meats came the fish stop. The focus (of course) was on sustainable ways of catching fish. Here I had the Artic char that was smoked and mixed with tomatoes and other spices. Honestly, this was good, but it didn't blow me away. There was also a mix of seafood dishes, but I didn't want to use all my ticket space on this since there was still much more to try, but it seemed to be pretty good, judging from people's reactions.I headed towards the bread pavilions which were made up of pizza and Indian breads. I chose to go with pizza and I am so glad I did. While waiting in line I met Scott and Jennifer. Scott is in finance, but also has a sommelier's license which is how I found out that wine was actually one of the best bargains in the whole place. We all talked and enjoyed the rapini and sausage pizza which was being made right before our eyes in wood burning ovens. Then we headed to the wine. We enjoyed a lovely glass of Rubicon red (the varietal is escaping me at the moment, but I know it was delish) and some discussion. Scott and Jennifer had to leave me early, but not before they left me their extra tickets. (Thanks guys!!!) That left me with more opportunities to taste almost everything there.

The lines for olive oil, chocolate, and tea/coffee never really went down and since by this point, I had already had a couple of glasses of wine, I wasn't really in the mood to wait. I decided to try the honey pavilion and I am so glad I did. I am so passionate about people learning about the disappearance of honey bees and what we can do to help, the only regret was that I wasn't able to buy anything to contribute to the cause. I was able to taste several wonderful varieties of honey, my favorite being the Chicago city honey that had a wonderful fruitiness and a nice floral background.I finally made it through the cheese line and tasted several delicious cheeses, but like the pizza pavilion, there was little information about exactly which cheese I was tasting and where they were from. However, they were all amazing, and in the end, isn't that what it is all about?

By this point, I was quite full, but of course I kept going back for more wine. Sustainable, organic, and local wine? Hello! I am so there!! I tasted the meat again, but wasn't much in the mood for spirits so I went to the pickle and chutney pavilion. I only had one sample, but it was enough to tide me over until I got my flight back home to LA. It was cornbread topped with Newsom ham, and that was topped with a corn relish. I am not the biggest fan of corn, but that relish was enough to make anyone sing about the glories of corn from the rooftop.
My last stops were at the beer pavilion where I sampled a Summer honey brew from Big Sky Brewery in Missoula, MT and the Saison by the Sea from Coronado Brewing from Coronado, CA. Do you remember that song "Summer Love" by Justin Timberlake? That was so *my song* last summer even though I didn't have a summer love and this beer was so my beer at Slow Food Nation. It was bright and fruity and filled with the summer sun. Forgive me if that sounds so cheesy, but OMG it was good stuff.
That was it. My darling sister who lives in San Francisco came to get my lost ass and take me back to the BART station to catch my flight back to LA. Overall, I am so glad I made the trek. Everything was beautiful and the sense of community was so strong. Of course there were organizational things that could have been improved, but for a first event, I would say that Slow Food accomplished it's goal and put on a very successful event. I am looking forward to many more festivities like this in my future.

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test it comm said...

The Slow Food Nation event looks like it was a lot of fun!

Bear said...

Thanks for the pics and commentary!

Just one correction, from Columbus, OH -- you did an admirable job of remembering your ice creams, but you got the manufacturers a bit jumbled. I don't know about Black Mission Fig, but the Cherry Lambic is definitely one of Jeni Britton's signature flavors (from Jeni's ice cream). It even won a gold medal not long ago at the Gallo competition for artisanal foods.

Alicia Foodycat said...

I don't know which part of this is the most tempting - charcuterie? Icecream? The yoghurt flavour sounds wonderful. What a fun event!

Prudy said...

What an amazing event. I've got to try to get there next time. The ice cream alone would be worth it to me.