Total Pageviews

Friday, September 20, 2013

Foodie Geeks Celebrate!

west arm of Grand Traverse Bay from the Open Space event venue in Traverse
City MI, 2013

The first Taste of Traverse food festival was a couple of weekends ago. I've never done one and we thought that it would be a good idea to try it out. I think our little town might have festival fatigue. We have so many through out the year that I guess people are just tired of going. We didn't get a huge turn out for the event. Then again, it was the first one so what can you expect? These things need time to grow.

Area restaurants and merchants as well as area vintners and brewers were invited to set up shop for a day and serve the best of the best. Between samples attendees could listen to live music, take in a lecture or just stare at the beautiful bay with sailboats blazing trails across the horizon.

Like I said, it was a small event. A small event that had some big surprises. There was a rumor floating around work that Robert Irvine might be there. I never saw him if he was. There were local celebrities for foodie geeks to froth over. A pulled pork battle between Blue Tractor and American Spoon Foods. [My vote goes to American Spoon Foods despite the pretzel bun from Blue Tractor.] All the Gewürztraminers were white.  And one internationally recognized celebrity chef to whet the appetite for next year.

Chef Darren McCraddy, currently of Dallas, formerly Princess Diana's personal chef, presented a few recipes and several stories of life with the royals while promoting his book. Only a few scant days before the festival Royal Watchers marked the 15th anniversary of Diana's death. It was an emotional thing for him to talk about still. He is as much a stand up comic as a lecturer being so personal and interactive with the audience. Between the stories and recipe demonstrations I came away with a few interesting bits of information:
  • Without meaning to, he gave me the clue to figuring out the chocolate sauce Vian served with rabbit in Chocolat.
  • The house in Downton Abbey operates on the same hierarchy as Buckingham Palace but on a smaller scale. I seem to remember now reading in "one of those horrid novels" that the Ton modeled their whole life on the Royal House. Interesting confirmation in his stories.
  • The Royal Kitchens prepare meals like a restaurant: some times making 9 different meals for family members if they are all eating independently of one another.
  • Harrod's supplies the kitchens on emergency basis which was handy when someone gave them a 45 minute notice requiring something that was not in stock. In the States, no such grocer service.
and as for the other bits:
  • Michigan Gewürztraminers are white, as are most varieties around the world. I found that interesting because the first Gewurtzmariner I had was red. According to Wikipedia most German varieties will be red and rather dry.
  • We tried a cherry from Bel Lago that Cristin called her "desert island wine". You know, if you were stranded on a desert island and could only have one wine what would it be kind of thing.
  • Micro-brewing is the growth leader in the alcoholic beverage industry and we have tons of them in town.
  • There are a lot of accessories available for drinkers: cork jewelry, wine glass rings, a vast array of ways to chill and store wine and all the t-shirts and posters to advertise your flavor you can imagine.
All in all I would say that we had a blast. It was the kind of size that I can handle with my social anxiety and still feel like I was out and did something. There were not as many vendors as I had hoped there would be. The vendors that were there didn't do the same things that everyone else has been doing. There were a good many surprises in the few booths that were there. Chocolate Chicken with a Cilantro Jalapeño sauce from one place and an Apple Cider slaw from another. The raspberry wine from Dizzy Daisy in Bad Axe (no where close to Traverse City but hey.... ya gotta bust into the market somehow) and lots of ideas on how to use these products beyond the manner intended.

I also found a coffee cherry almond caramel corn from Slab Town. Slab Town is a neighborhood in Traverse that is seeing a huge growth spurt. It was the definition of ram-shackle. Temporary housing near the water for the lumber workers eventually became permanent housing for the poorer workers and families. It's the new hot spot in town. Lots of places honoring the Slab Town roots have sprung up. The coffee caramel corn is delicious. It's my Doc Martin watching snack.

No comments:

Post a Comment