With a full day of classes, tents and dinners, it was hard to narrow it down to just a few things. Here are highlights from some of our favorites.
A revealing peek behind the curtain at an experimental test kitchen revealing the secrets of great Southern cooking. Featuring The Lee Bros. (SC) with Sean Brock (SC), Greg Best (GA), Ashley Christensen (NC), Ford Fry (GA) and Andrea Reusing (NC).
Chef Ford Fry taught us how he uses wooly pig fat to make “Oreo” cookies, while The Lee Brothers spoke about using juices as a base for dishes, for example Rhubarb.
Andrea Reusing created a custard without the egg. She substituted the egg for ginger juice, as the ginger is what actually sets the custard, and topped it with ponzu sauce. An influence of Japanese cooking, this style is happening more often in progressive kitchens. The result was brilliant – an intense flavor, not for the weak palette, and the perfect blend of sweet and savory.
“Shouldn’t you use vinegar in all cooking? For example if you’re cooking carrots, shouldn’t you flavor it with carrot vinegar? Well, the better question is how would you even make that? Make carrot wine of course! So we took carrot juice, added yeast and then hid it from the health department.” – Chef Sean Brock
Greg Best took the stage next and started mixing a gluten free margarita with corn milk (juiced raw corn), mezcal and pepper infused honey. Our gluten and dairy-free friend Lindsay was inspired by this creation. “We can keep things simple and make it taste really good.” – Greg Best on why he took off his Yankee hat and hung it in the south.
The Drink Goes On
Steven Grubb (GA) and Cynthia Wong (GA) of Empire State South paired dessert wines with cheeses and fruits, and proved why dessert sometimes is our favorite part of the meal…
Stephen and Cynthia did a great job at pairing the bold and sweet flavors. The Garrotxa is a young goat cheese, so the boldness and sweetness of the Riesling brought out the flavor in the cheese – taking it from a young cheese on its own, to a more mature flavor all together. It’s not a seamless pairing, but it came close. There was almost a salty/minerality along with sweet notes to the Madeira that actually calmed the sharpness of the cheddar (which had a nuttiness to it) in a pleasant way. Finally, you almost needed the bite of the salty blue cheese to cut through the intense spice and oak of the brandy (Bas-Armagnac), definitely the most intense of the 3 pairings. One important thing that was noted was when creating cheese plates, both Greg and Cynthia agreed its always best to stick with compotes, fruits, etc. to compliment the cheeses and stay away from bread, crackers and crudités which only takes away from the flavors.
And off to the tents we went…
OK, we got all the hype.. It was definitely one of the highlights for #AFWF2012
…and then we entered “The Whole Pig” section of the tents. Poor little piggy. But it was oh so good.
Three little piggies went to #AFWF2012 and became this masterpiece of food…
Asha Gomez and her team are just brilliant. One of the best bites from the inaugural year at #AFWF which confirmed that Cardamom Hill was going to be a hit, was back and better then ever.
If French Broad Chocolates opened an outpost in Atlanta, we’d be there every day. For now, you can find their chocolate perfections in Asheville, NC – including a Gluten Free and Vegan strawberry balsamic truffle!
Southern Cocktail Hour
They turned the entire Loews conference floor into a moveable Southern cocktail party open house, which also featured a mixologist showdown. The hour featured Greg Best (GA), Feizel Valli (AL), Gina Chersevani (DC), Bobby Heugel (TX), Neal Bodenheimer and Nick Detrich (LA) and Jared Schubert (KY), Tony Conway (GA) and Stephen Satterfield (CA/GA).
Whiskey @ Whiskey Park
A collection of Southern Chefs & Mixologists came together to create unique savory small plates and winning whiskey pairings featuring masterful mixology. Familiar faces included Empire State South, Holeman + Finch, Southern Art, Rosebud, The Family Dog and more.
A fantastic way to end the day..
*Full disclosure: We received media passes to attend the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival