After an awesome day at the farm, the next event was Baconpalooza. How awesome is that name? What is Baconpalooza exactly? Eight teams of skilled paleo chefs were tasked with presenting appetizers featuring bacon for judging. Each team partnered with a local farm to provide the bacon for their dish. If this sounds like heaven to you, I can say it was pretty close. There were also four kombucha brewers there for tasting and judging. The event was held across the street from the Stonewall Jackson Hotel in Staunton Virginia, on a grassy hill.
They even had the band from earlier in the day set up for a little dinner music.
I apologize that I did not get pictures of every entry in the contest. I was balancing my ballot, my drink, my camera (iphone), my plate and eating utensils in a large crowd in a small area. Here is a link to all of the competitors and the farms they partnered with to make their dishes.
I tasted Paleo Comfort Foods' entry first: Stuffed Jalapeno Poppers. I was so thrilled to see that Julie was wearing the apron I gave her earlier in the day.
They had both sweet and hot peppers. They were not joking around with the hot ones, but they were quite yummy.
Another favorite of mine from the evening was Charred Scallion & Sweet Potato Biscuit with Bacon Apple Butter from Team modPaleo. It tasted like sweet baked beans to me. Just because I no longer eat beans doesn't mean I don't like them. I'd love to get my hands on that recipe for a treat. Yum.
Diana Rodgers was there with a lovely recipe from her cookbook Paleo Lunches & Breakfast's on the Go.
They called it a "Blended BLT." She made the Peppery Smooth Gazpacho from her new book, with a bit of bacon and sprout garnish. So cute and tasty.
Stacy Toth from Paleo Parents was there with a Savory Bacon Jam with Apple Slices.
I was very impressed with the mandolin skills for "Team Honestly Delicious." This was a super tasty Mini Pastured Pork "Taco" with Paleo Carolina Gold Bacon BBQ Sauce. The "taco" was jicama.
Another great entry was this bacon wrapped apricot appetizer named "Apriocity." It was made by Team VA is for Hunter Gathers with bacon from Polyface farms.
Last, but certainly not least, was this Bourbon and Cider Braised Bacon from The Domestic Man. This dish won the event. Russ Crandall asked me if I'd be reviewing this recipe and just as soon as I find some good bacon, I'm going to. His preparation was awesome, so I'm really curious how this will fair in my kitchen.
There were also 4 kombucha brewers there for tasting and judging. Including Hannah Crum from Kombucha Kamp. She had a bacon flavored kombucha. Yes, it exists.
Another brewer was MTO Kombucha. They had several flavors to try. The flavor I liked the most was the grapefruit.
The night ended with a screening of a new food documentary, American Meat followed by a panel discussion about the movie.
Sunday: P3: Paleo Polyface Porkfest
Sunday, was a day for more great food and presentations.
First up, breakfast. They had a selection of two fritattas. The one pictured there is a Polyface Bacon and Kale Frittata made with Polyface Pastured Eggs. I went back for seconds. I love that they had pats of Kerrygold butter. Pure Indian Foods was also there as an exhibitor and they had ghee available for your coffee.
I must say this was maybe the best paleo breakfast I've ever had for a number of reasons.
1. The pork sausage was the best I've ever had in my life. It was from Tendergrass Farms. They had a booth set up in the exhibit area. David Maren was walking around and more than happy to talk about how they help farmers who produce high quality grass-fed/pastured meat find customers. I've since ordered a variety of their meats and will be doing a review.
|The Maren Family|
2. My breakfast company included Julie and Charles Mayfield and Robb Wolf. I nearly died when Robb Wolf sat down at my table. One of these days I'll say something intelligent around him, but for now, I'm still just in awe.
First up was Robb Wolf. He spoke in two sessions about Gym's Farms and Medicine. He talked about using gyms to connect people with farmers. He detailed case after case where having someone with serious health issues take up a basic paleo template had improved health. He also talked about how the economics of saving money on health care might actually made paleo more main stream. His current participation with the Risk Assessment Program in Reno, NV has saved the city a projected $22 million. He ended his session with a question and answer session from the crowd. If you ever have the opportunity to hear Robb talk, go.
After Robb Wolf's presentations, we broke for lunch. I had a Julian Bakery Coconut Paleo Wrap with lettuce, Cilantro Polyface Pastured Pulled Pork, and fresh Pico de Gallo. I also got a bowl of Fire Roasted Gazpacho. If only all conferences I went to had food as good as this for lunch.
After lunch, Joel Salatin spoke about water management. Last but not least, Jenny McGruther of Nourished Kitchen gave a us a basic class on fermenting vegetables and then cooking organ meats.
She wanted us to leave with the ability to ferment some veggies and I certainly will be. She talked us through making some pickles and sauerkraut.
The last part of her presentation was about cooking organ meats. She talked about using chicken feet in broth, something I already do. She also talked about chicken livers. If you read the blog, you know that I keep trying liver recipes in the hopes that I'll find a way to like liver. She walked us all through some great tips and made a chicken liver pate on the spot. One thing that I'm going to try is cleaning the organ meat of blood.
You do this by soaking the liver in salted water. She recommended 2 tablespoons of salt to 1 quart of water. The water should cover the organ meat you are soaking by about 2 inches. She says to soak the offal for at least 20 minutes up to 24 hours in the refrigerator. The longer, the more mild the offal will become. She invited people of for samples and it was heavenly. Of course, it had quite a bit of ghee in the pate, but I'd never have guessed it was chicken liver.
This was truly an awesome weekend. Thanks again to Paleo Comfort Foods for having the contest that got me tickets. I met some great people, had some awesome food, and learned quite a bit. Whenever I go to a paleo event I feel sad when its over. It is so refreshing and rejuvenating to be around like minded people and not have to defend your food choices to anyone. Since going, I've certainly been thinking a lot more about my food quality.
If they have this event again, I highly recommend it.