Sunday, November 3, 2013

Incredible Food Show 2014

One of Lexington foodie's (me for one) highly anticipated event was the Incredible Food Show last Saturday. To be honest, I was not all too excited about the Deen Brothers as the special guests of the event. That was until a few weeks before the event, the show producer asked me to one of the judges for the show. I was delighted and accepted the challenge as a judge for the savory category. With 37 booths on my list to judge, I thought I was in foodie heaven...until I was sampling the 11th beer cheese and cracker.

Here are some of my favorites from the show:

Kenny's Farmhouse Cheese from Barren County, Kentucky has handmade artisan cheese. It got the Honorable Mention of Savory category at the show. My favorite product of all the samples was their Wheel of Awesome which was a Brie cheese. It was an awesomely and creamy soft cheese that melted in my mouth.

Started by Sylviana Herrin in early 2013, La Petite Sucre is a handcraft macaroon boutique that only cater customs orders for private events. This booth won the Best Booth Display of the show. I think Herrin has not only delivered beautiful presentation, but also perfected these small and colorful French desserts. When I tasted the blackberry macaroon (not knowing this at the time), it was no doubt the ingredients used were the top notch, as well as the painstaking efforts put into making these delicate sweets.

My favorite Kentucky Proud producer, Sadistic Mistress. Her hot sauces are one of a kind. Sadistic Mistress knows her peppers, with a line of 13 hot sauces, each pairs well with various food items. We got "The Safe Word Is" and "She Ain't Pretty; She's Hot". Creative names and spicier than hot sauce, that's Sadistic Mistress for you.

I have a secret. Instead of tasting First Fresh Extra Virgin Olive Oil with a piece of bread, I drank it. I would drink a cup of this olive oil if I could. It's California blend was named "One of the World's Best Olive Oils" at the 2013 New York International Olive Oil Competition. Their olive oil has a fruity aroma and buttery taste, yet without the overwhelming "greasy" flavor. I can't believe it took me this long to find this.

Nevertheless, I skipped the Dean Brother's presentation..twice. But I was super excited to meet one of my favorite chefs from Bravo's Top ChefChef Edward Lee. His new cookbook "Smoke and Pickles"  blends in Lee's Korean background and a twist of Southern cuisine. From making Korean style pickled vegetables to Kentucky's distinct bourbon and Southern cooking, as well as Lee's stories of growing up and becoming a Chef, the cookbook is worth every penny. Instead of asking him intelligent questions like "How did being on Top Chef help you start your restaurant", I started talking endlessly about Kenny's Farmhouse Cheese. Cheese? Really?

Being a judge at the Kentucky Proud Incredible Food show was a great experience in learning and tasting what Kentucky has to offer. I love talking to the food makers to find how they come about making their products. Although I think it comes to a point when too much beer cheese just starts to taste the same. Even though each beer producer has his/her distinct spin on the cheese, I think Dad's Favorites has the most unique and distinct beer cheese of all.

Besides beer cheese, bourbon this and bourbon that was another trend of the show. Bourbon hot sauce, bourbon barbecue sauce, bourbon salsa... Let's see what else we can add bourbon to and make it more "Kentucky". What's wrong with a good ol' fashion straight bourbon?

I enjoyed this year's Incredible Food Show, I met lots of enthusiastic Kentucky food producers as well as another fellow Kentucky Food Blogger  Rona Roberts of Savoring Kentucky (check out her blog, Rona is an excellent food writer). Till next year, for another stuffed belly.

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