My foodie dreams came true today.
Along with thousands of other local food and wine enthusiasts, including eight of my lady friends from church, I attended the annual food show in Cleveland.
Aniko, Beckie and I stuck together most of the time and devised a plan for covering the entire event space by weaving up and down the aisles. Our idea worked well, as we started with show cakes and ended with hearty fried cinnamon bread drenched in butter and maple syrup.
Three hours of sampling bites from every food group and region of the world, exchanging recipe ideas, talking with exhibitors about their products, marveling at the latest health food trends (cookies that look like cookies and taste like cookies, but are composed of vegetables) and gluten-free offerings, tasting fresh cooked risotto and handmade chocolate truffles, throwing caution to the wind of calories and carbs. It was bliss.
My first favorite break of the day was when we sat at the Fruit Growers Marketing Association and Ohio Apple Marketing Program booth to rate new strains of apples. We were each presented with a tray of apple slices to taste and compare, including the whole version for us to look at and judge by appearance. We had crackers and water to cleanse our palates after each bite, and a survey form to share our opinions. I felt like I did my part as a produce consumer. After all, the fruit industry depends on me.
P.S. If you ever see the Gold Rush apple at your local grocery store or farmers market, buy it! You will love it.
The other favored break of the day came at the end of our food sampling tour when we sat in on an hour presentation by Food Network celebrity and chef, Alton Brown. He is known for his sarcasm and science, and was sure to keep things interesting by demonstrating cooking techniques with salt and beef. He also took questions from the audience, including the expected, "What is your cooking inspiration?" His answer: hunger.
With sausage and coupons under my arm, I left the events center satisfied. It was a day of culinary wonder and indulgence that I hope to repeat next year.
Thank you to Amy & Nancy Girton for the awesome tickets!