Sunday, November 22, 2009

Foodbuzz Festival - Day 2

And the feasting continued! We began the second day of the festival with an olive oil tasting seminar, which was a completely new experience for me. We were told to hold each cup in our hands, swirl, sniff, and sip the oils, paying attention to aroma, flavor, density, and aftertaste. Sounds just like wine-tasting ... and after this seminar, I believe that there are just as many nuances to olive oils as there are to wines! (For more info, check out the UC Davis Olive Center website.)

Olive oil samples. My favorite was the middle one in the top row...

...which was perfect, because it was the bottle we got to take home!

We then trotted over to the Metreon for the afternoon Tasting Pavilion -- a roomful of vendors with plenty of special food and drinks to offer some hungry foodies.

Oils, chutneys, and fruits

Wines from Jessie's Grove from the Lodi region (a great place for zinfandel)

Shrimp ceviche with Peruvian chilies
From Chef Jesse Perez of Fuego

Vanilla cupcakes from Mission Minis - you can't have just one!

Assorted sweets from Gateau et Ganache
Left: Passionfruit ganache
Right: Vanilla, pumpkin, and cranberry candied marshmallows

A Palo Alto-based store that makes small, seasonally-appropriate batches of rich chocolates and confections from local ingredients. I loved the delicate candied marshmallows ... think I'll have to go get myself a box soon!

California Sparklers seminar with Alder Yarrow, author of

Chocolates from Neo Cocoa - the richness made it my fave chocolates for the day!

Annie the Baker

Annie's catchphrase is "for those who love the cookie dough more than the cookie," and it's easy to taste why. Her handmade cookies have a moist cookie dough texture, which makes for super soft and decadent treats. The toffee milk chocolate chip is an example of what cookie-makers everywhere should be trying to emulate!

Beer-braised pork over polenta from the Mezzetta booth

Kerrygold cheeses

My favorite was the Ivernia, a hard, sharp-flavored Italian cheese that would pair nicely with red wines.

Dinner was in the Greenleaf Produce Warehouse to give us the farm-to-table feeling, with the folks from Namu and Outstanding in the Field teaming up to create a Korean fusion meal from fresh, local ingredients.

Our dinner courses were paired with a variety of wines from Bonny Doon Vineyard in Santa Cruz. I have to admit that I wasn't impressed when I went tasting at their winery, but a few wines really stood out at dinner. This 2007 Le Cigare Blanc, a combination of roussanne and grenache blanc, was both earthy and slightly sweet, with a silky texture and smooth finish. Also noteworthy was the 2005 Le Cigare Volant, the red counterpart to Le Cigare Blanc.

Mushroom dashi, maritaki, shimeji, enoki mushrooms
A light broth with earthy mushroom flavors

Udon, grilled Monterey calamari in a browned butter ponzu reduction, cucumber, kaiware, frisee & yellow pear tomato with chojang and sesame vinaigrette

Wow, I had to look up what some of these ingredients were. Kaiware are sprouted daikon seeds, frequently used as a garnish in Asian dishes. Chojang is a sweet and spicy vinegar-based sauce common in Korean cooking, which added a nice kick to the udon noodles.

Soy-braised beef cheeks and oxtails, baby carrots and fingerling potatoes

My fave dish from dinner. Juicy, tender, perfectly seasoned oxtail meat with subtly sweet soy flavors. Time to make some variations to my mom's oxtail recipe...

Since this is on the footer of my blog, I had to take a photo :)

Thanks again to Foodbuzz for a wonderful event! I can't wait until next year's blogger festival!


gin said...

best peanut butter cookies ever! i need to buy a bag...

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