07 September, 2016

Deliciousness in the Delta - Favorite Things from #IFBC16

Gowan's Cider = fun
This summer's International Food Blogger's Conference was as tasty as it was fun.  Joining about 300 fellow writers in the Sacramento area was a great way to discover wonderful things I had been passing by in my day-to-day life, since I travel to SMF at least once a week.  The keynote by John Ash was inspiring as he shared insights from his friendships with Julia Child, MFK Fisher, Wendell Berry and his own experience. Julia's advice to "Chew with your mouth open" might not be acceptable in all social settings, but her example of connecting with food, with people and with her passion were great tips.

Here are my top 10 Favorite Things in no particular order (because it would be too hard to stack rank this rich and wonderful experience)

Ginger Elizabeth Chocolates
Care and artistry goes into the products at Ginger Elizabeth Chocolates.  Headed up by the wonderful Ginger Elizabeth Hahn, those silky chocolates make great gifts or just a luxe indulgence for yourself.  The Parisian Macarons were insanely delicious with vivid flavors and a tender perfect texture.  The Ladureé cart at CDG has nothing on the SMF.  When made into a salted caramel ice cream sandwich, the flavors were amazing. Care is also taken that producing these heavenly treats is managed sustainably and responsibly.  So you are doing good supporting this delightful purveyor of yumminess

Hyatt Regency Sacramento
The view from my room was postcard perfect of the State Capitol, but the view I will remember is plate after plate of amazing food at our dinner.  The Hyatt transformed J Street into a flower filled garden party.  Celebrating the theme of Farm-to-fork, the catering staff took fresh ingredients and summoned the magic necessary to transform them into perfect dishes for 300 and drop them on a table simultaneously. Perfect Black Prince tomatoes, juicy chicken and polenta and the crescendo of white peach shortcakes for dessert.  Elegant, yummy and an example of perfect hospitality

California Produce
California figs are the most photogenic, but California Peaches, California Almonds and a host of fresh, delicious everything made eating a joy at every meal.  I got to meet producers of California Endive and learn how they are grown.  I came away with a surprisingly easy salad recipe made from canned peaches, mozzarella and basil.  The California Almond folks provided a cool single portion tin I keep with me to do quick, healthy snack/meals on the go.  Figs inspire me to grill and put in salad or make into ice cream for a fresh, creamy dessert.  Meeting all the producers and hearing their stories was amazing.

 Marin French Cheese has been in business since 1865 producing award winning cheese like their famous Breakfast Cheese.  It was delightful to try at the opening reception.  Laura Chenel with the marinated Cabecou was something I hadn't tried, but now keep in the fridge.  Laura Chenel cuts their fresh goat cheese into disks, then dries them for about a week.  Then they are packed in tubs with infused olive oil. The disks soak up the great flavor of the oil.  Seasoning the oil enhances the delicious cheese even more.  Bonus for us busy hostesses:  the disks come out of the container ready to delight your guests. No last minute slicing.

About a Bite Bakery
Bars, bites and sandwich cookies.  Each more temptingly delicious than the one before.  I am a little ashamed how may of these I packed away, but to my credit, they are all amazingly tasty.  The bakery's philosophy that variety is the spice of life is aided and abetted by their smart portioning.  These tiny treats make amazing gifts,

The Old Sugar Mill
Eleven wine producers have tasting rooms in this lovely brick building in Clarksburg.  I wrote about the wine more extensively yesterday, however I have to claim it as a favorite. Especially because I really want to go do a comparative tasting of wine slushies, which, given my predilection for frosé, is way overdue.  Only fifteen minutes from Downtown Sacramento, yet in the heart of a fun American Viticultural Area, it's a great place to visit and get a survey of what the AVA has to offer.  Bring a picnic lunch, a friend and even your canine companion

Gowan's Heirloom Ciders
Gowans have been growing wonderful apples in Anderson Valley for 140 years.  In 2015, they started making hard cider with a farmer's dedication and ciderist's expertise.  Our founding fathers drank this frizzante beverage for breakfast. Lovely apples make this refreshing drink with a sense of place delicious.  Sierra Beauty, Gravenstein and 1876 Blend are three varieties that I tried.  I liberated about a dozen Gravenstein apples and enjoyed their perfumed aromas all conference long.  Now I seek out Gowan's  Cider every chance I get

 Jimboys Tacos
Jimboys have been serving tacos in the Sacramento area since 1954.  Why I never had one till 2016 at #ifbc, I cannot explain.  Their tag line is "Get out of your Shell" urging you to try their exotic flavors, which are tasty.  However, the powerful allure of the Classic ground beef taco, is one that entranced me.  Rich and flavorful the taco had a homemade taste that reminded me of tacos we made when I was a child.  And paired with a Due Vigne Nebbiolo, it was very tasty.
Mother - Sacramento
"Serving Southern style American food that happens to be meatless" is how the restaurant describes themselves.  When I tasted the plum farro salad I was blown away by the freshness and balance of the flavors.  I did not miss the meat and am always on the prowl for new places to go.

Vanilla Garlic and BCL
Okay, so I misled you.  With the plethora of wonderful food and beverage, interesting historical and social perspectives at the sessions, and luxurious surroundings, I have to say I did have a favorite favorite thing and that is getting to hang out with other bloggers. This conference was so friendly and I learned so much.  Learning is always more fun when you are accompanied by other kindred spirits and IFBC was packed with those

Many thanks to the organizers, Foodista and Zephyr, as well as all the attendees and presenters.  You made my IFBC16 experience memorable and productive.  See you next year when I will again enjoy the reduced conference rate for writing about the conference! #Whatadeal

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