For the Taste Pavilion portion of the Foodbuzz Festival, I headed down to a place called City View at the Metreon. It lives up to its name with a stunning view of downtown San Francisco. Inside the giant venue were over 60 providers of food and drink, many local, waiting to offer us everything from bbq sauce to wine to ice cream. It was overwhelming to say the least. Thankfully I could bring a friend with to help me tackle the challenge!
Here are a few of the samplings from this epic food extravaganza:
I’m going to start with my absolute favorite from the whole thing: BALSAMIC VINEGAR TASTING. I love balsamic like nobody’s business, and this stuff was legit. Just a taste transported me back to Italy. I got to try them in order of age, from youngest to oldest, so I could really see how the flavor develops as it ages. They also had some tasty balsamic jellies, and especially liked the balsamic strawberry jelly.
My next favorite was probably (and surprisingly) the Tcho Chocolate. I say surprising because I’m not a big chocolate person. Yes, we exist (There are dozens of us! DOZENS!!). But when I do have chocolate it should be dark, and as dark as possible, so I’d come to the right place. Tcho offers amazing quality as well as variety, but in a unique way. Their table had the chocolates arranged by “flavor”(such as fruity, nutty, citrusy)… but they don’t taste that way because they’re flavored with anything. All of the chocolates have the same simple ingredients. What makes them taste so discernibly different from one another is the origin of the cocoa beans. I am baffled as to why I don’t have any photos of their table, but it was the last things I tried at the Pavillion, and I was in a stupor of chocolate enjoyment. Check out the TCHO website to see what I’m talking about (and you can order it there, too!)
All right, from now on I’ll go with what I have photos for. Kikkoman had a delightful ponzu mango salsa that I’m defintiely going to make myself someday.. probably when summer rolls around again. (No, I’m not in denial about the impending Chicago winter. What are you talking about?)
The Girl and the Fig had tasty condiments like dried fig compote and red onion confit. They offered up some pork to taste them with. They were all good but the fig and cherry jam was my favorite, as those are two of my favorite fruits!
There were many, many more, but too many to mention here. All in all, it was a splendid event, and I left with a belly full of food and booze, as well as a bag packed with business cards, brochures, and samples.
There was only one disappointing thing about the event: most of the vendors were from California, which is not exactly in my neighborhood. I asked “can I get this in Chicago?” to so many of the vendors and the reply was almost always “no.” Come on, west coast! Here we just have a bunch of flat, oceanless land and extreme weather. Can we please get some imported California goodies? We need something to hoard when the blizzards snow us in! Pretty please?