Category Archives: Food

Boulder Farmers’ Market Voted No. 1 in the Nation

Local market tops USA Today list.

FarmersMarket-logoThe Boulder Farmers Market, our wonderful seasonal marketplace for locally grown produce, locally produced food products and local artisans, tops USA Today’s 10Best Farmers Markets list  or 2015. Twenty contenders were selected by a panel of food and travel experts — Bernadine Prince, president of the Farmers Market Coalition; food writer Eric Grossman; travel writer Megy Karydes; M. Linda Lee, former editor for Michelin Travel Publications, Akila McConnell travel and food blogger, The Road Forks; Larry Olmsted, USA Today food writer, and food writer Kim Sunee. The panel’s selections were presented to the public for four weeksof daily votes.

Boulder Farmers Market is the brainchild of a group of local farmers, who came together with their vision of a local market in 1987 at the Boulder Courthouse. What started with a few tables of produce loaded off the backs of pickup trucks has evolved into a robust destination market on 13th Street between Canyon Boulevard and Arapahoe Avenue more than 100 vendors who set up for the longest market season in Colorado. There’s also an outdoor food court with wine beer and sangria available too at the Wednesday night market that runs from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. from early May through early October, and the original Saturday market runs from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. from early April through late November. During the peak summer season, the Boulder Farmers Market attracts over 5,000 customers per day.  My husband and I are often two of them.

‘The Shed’ Launches Website to Support Boulder Food Resources

DiscoverTheShedLocal foodshed becomes reality & gains momentum with online presence.

A bit over a year ago, I wrote a post called “Foodshift to Foodsheds” — a foodshed being defined as a small geographic area that includes the boundaries of where food is produced, transported and consumed. I then thought that the local foodshed comprised the Front Range, but Boulder now has an even more localized one. The Shed, as it has been named, is a new public-private coalition with a website as its first initiative to educate and build awareness about Boulder County’s local foodshed.

A good group of local officials, community leaders and food influencers were present at the Boulder Public Library's new Seed Café for the introduction of The Shed.
A good group of local officials, community leaders and food influencers were present at the Boulder Public Library’s new Seed Café for the introduction of The Shed.

Boulder City Council members Tim Plass and Suzanne Jones shepherded the initiation through the local legislative process. The Shed has emerged as a coalition of nine private and public entities that aims to increase awareness, consumption and production of local foods.  The founding entities are the City of Boulder, Boulder County, Boulder County Farmers’ Markets (Boulder and Longmont), Boulder Valley School District, Chef Ann Foundation, Local Food Shift Group, Naturally Boulder, University of Colorado and 350 Boulder County. While the City of Boulder (again) took the lead, it is a county-wide initiative with room for other communities and organizations to join.

Plass listed benefits from the local foodshed: economic (i.e., keeping more grocery dollars in the community), environmental (reducing the carbon footprint of food consumed here) and social (building community through food).  Continue reading ‘The Shed’ Launches Website to Support Boulder Food Resources

World’s Fair Focuses on Food

Milan’s Expo 2015 theme is feeding the world.

Expo2015-logoExpo Milano 2015 is the Universal Exhibition that Milan, Italy, hosts from May 1 to October 31. Over this six-month period, Milan will become a global showcase where more than 140 participating countries will show the best of their technology that offers a concrete answer to a vital need: being able to guarantee healthy, safe and sufficient food for everyone, while respecting the planet and its equilibrium.

In addition to the exhibitor nations, the Expo also involves international organizations. It expects to welcome more than 20 million visitors to its 1.1 million square meters of exhibition area.

As the organizers put it, ” A platform for the exchange of ideas and shared solutions on the theme of food, stimulating each country’s creativity and promoting innovation for a sustainable future, Expo 2015 will give everyone the opportunity to find out about, and taste, the world’s best dishes, while discovering the best of the agri-food and gastronomic traditions of each of the exhibitor countries.”

A tall order, but a necessary world conversation. Wish I could be there.

2015 Wine & Food Festivals in the Colorado Rockies

ColoradoFlagDurango, Telluride & Steamboat put on really good wine and food fests.

Most of us don’t have the budget for the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen (June 19-21 this year), an annual see-and-be-seen extravaganza in Aspen, but smaller events are both more affordable and more manageable. Here are a few of Colorado’s upcoming festivals in the high country. Expect to find such components as a grand tasting of hundreds of wines and perhaps other adult beverages, wine-pairing dinners in local restaurants, tastings guided by top sommeliers, cooking demonstrations by local or visiting chefs and other food/wine options. Click on the links for price and ticketing info. When it comes to events in mountain towns, consider that lodging is always at low-season prices in spring and still affordable in summer.

April 23-25 and May 19

DurangoWineExperience-logoComing right up is the ninth annual Durango Wine Experience in Historic Downtown Durango that starts with a special VIP welcome reception on the evening of April 23 that is followed by public tastings, more than seven educational wine, craft beer and spirit seminars and multiple wine dinners. The multi-location “Walk-About” on Friday, April 24 from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. features tastings in downtown galleries, shops and such delightful outdoor venues as the Rochester Hotel Courtyard and Steamworks Brewing Company’s Patio. It benefits the United Way of Southwest Colorado.

A few short weeks later, on May 19, Main Street is shut down for the Taste of Durango, a one-day event to benefit the Manna Soup Kitchen. Featuring local craft breweries, artisan cocktails and countless samples of the interesting and high-quality cuisine that Durango’s top restaurants offer. In addition to food and drink, guests enjoy a fantastic selection of music, dancing, fun and friends, old and new.

June 25-28

The Telluride Wine Festival benefits from timing, coming on the heels of the Food and Wine Classic. A number of vendors/exhibitors/chefs customarily stick around and do both. At this writing (late April), the schedule of classes and small-batch tastings, list of exhibitors and roster of guest chefs and sommeliers was not yet available. But traditionally, more than 1,000 guests attend the large tastings, which include wine, spirits and unique foods.

August 5-9

The Steamboat Wine Festival is noteworthy for its mix of wine, food and outdoor activities on the mountain, in restaurants, classrooms, and around town. Seminars and tastings increase knowledge, and enjoyment of food and wine, and other activities including hikes, bike rides and standup paddling. To stay informed on all the happenings, check out the website. And FWIW, the Farm to Barn dinner on August 8 is already sold out.

2015 Food Trends According to NYC Publisher

GCP-logo

Grand Central Publishing, which prides itself on keeping up with food and other lifestyle trends, has declared that 2014 trends that passed their expiration dates include “‘healthy’ gluten-free products, all-juice cleanses, coffee with butter, cronuts, cupcakes (Sex and the City ended 10 years ago), $18 small plates of brussel [stet] sprouts, uni, foraging and vocado toast (thanks, Instagram).”  FWIW, I didn’t know that coffee with butter was a trend. Shows how our of the loop I am. No excuses for this year however, if I pay attention to the publisher’s list top health and food trends for 2015.

  • Fermented foods. Who knew that pickles would become a health food? Turns out that fermented food contains good bacteria and is a digestive aid. So, it’s kind of like the Activia of 2015. In addition to pickles, foods like yogurt, kimchee, kefir, miso and kombucha all share this gastro health benefit.
  • Bone broth. From newspaper articles to your hip restaurant down the street, bone broth is everywhere. And for good reason! There are numerous health benefits to consuming this nutrient-rich comfort food. Bone broth is even known to help eliminate cellulite thanks to the wealth of vitamins, collagen and keratin.
    Nourishing Broth contains all the recipes you need! (Click here for my recent post about the broth bar at Boulder’s Fresh Thymes.)
  • Hybrid vegetables. Kalettes (mash-up of kale and Brussels sprouts) and broccoflower (broccoli and cauliflower) may seem like a foreign language now, but soon they’ll be familiar to everyone. They’ll bring new life into vegetable dishes and will have chefs creating new recipes with these hybrid flavors and textures.
  • Matcha: Green tea is amazing for boosting metabolism and promotes weight loss. Matcha is even better. Matcha green tea has 130x more antioxidants than your standard bag of green tea. There are numerous health benefits from consuming matcha, but the drink contains less caffeine so it provides a more even, soothing energy boost
  • Coco loco. Sure coconut water may seem totally 2013, but be prepared for even more coconut in the coming year! Coconut sugar, coconut aminos, coconut oil, and coconut flour will all be prominent in diet recipes and in health food stores. Coconut sugar boasts a lower glycemic index than traditional sugar, and coconut flour is gluten free, is high in good fats, and is high in dietary fiber and proteins.
  • Hemp seeds. Unlike their cannabis sativa cousin, hemp seeds do not contain THC. However, they are full of omega-3 and -6 fatty acids, magnesium, iron, vitamin A, fiber and much more. They can be consumed raw or toasted, have a mild nutty flavor and can be used in salads, smoothies, oatmeal, and more. (In Colorado, with legalized recreational marijuana, hemp is a non-issue.)
  • Noodle bowls: Japanese-inspired restaurants are cropping up all over, and not just in New York City—ramen bowls in all varieties, from vegetarian to soft boiled egg-topped creations; there is something for everyone to love. Here’s a recipe to try at home from Half Baked Harvest.Fat: But don’t get too excited and start taking bites out of a stick of butter: we mean good fats, not the trans fats found in processed foods. Good fat is derived from both natural sources, so expect to see lots more full-fat yogurt, cultured butter, eggs, and oils being advocated for in a healthy diet. Trust us, this is a good thing. (Click here for my post about Sushi Tora’s weekend ramen bowls. Kasa Japanese Grill on the east end of the Pearl Street Mall is now also offering midweek ramen lunches.)
  • Millet: Millet has been around for a while in granola and breads, but it will become more prominently featured as recipes’ main ingredient in 2015. It’s gluten-free and rich in protein, fiber, and other minerals like magnesium. Also, it’s grown predominantly in the United States, which should help to avoid the backlash that the quinoa farming is generating.
  • Poutine: We’re closing our top 10 list with a much more indulgent food trend. If you’ve been to Montreal, you’ve probably had a plate of these wonderful French fries, slathered in cheese curds and gravy. Well, the trend is spreading, and with more variety from pulled pork, coq au vin, olives, vegetables, and more. Savour!

Resolve to Eat Better

Follow the lead of modern epicures.

ChefClipArtIt’s New Year’s resolution time, and Slow Food USA has some suggestions for the coming year. I don’t generally do soapbox posts, but I do believe these points are excellent and timely, as American chefs and American foodies have learned to eat well — for the body and the planet as well as the palate. Here’s what Slow Food USA reminds us, linking the resolutions to the upcoming Super Bowl (which I like most card- carrying Coloradans hope will be won by the Denver Broncos):

“It’s 2015! No longer are we nibbling at the edges of the century. We are now deep into another one. Look around: There is much to rejoice! Evidence of a promising new world is everywhere: Be it the birth of craft beer, the morphing of school gardens into a full-fledged farm-to-school universe, and consumer concern for fast food workers. However, so too do the embers of this old and faceless world glow. Consider the buckets of agri-money poured into state referenda to squash GMO labeling and animal welfare. Or, how is it possible to purchase pork shoulder for 99 cents a pound? Amidst such turbulence and transition, we must be ever mindful of the decisions we make individually and collectively to shape our future. So, consider a few New Year’s Resolutions that might inch you closer to the bright new world.

  1. Make a Resolution to Eat Better Meat: Serve your friends cleaner wieners and better burgers at the Nationwide Nose-to-Tailgate Super Bowl Party as we advocate for Better Meat in sports stadiums. Join the event and invite friends near or far to party with us for the cause.

  2. Make a Resolution to Eat Less Meat: After a Super Sunday night fixating on pigskin, tackle Monday, February 2nd head-on by planning a year of Meatless Monday menus.

  3. Make a Resolution to Eat Local: C’mon. Take the challenge. Channel the spirit of Jane Jacobs and her hunger for the principles of import substitution with your family, friends, and neighbors by taking the 10-Day Local Challenge.

  4. Make a Resolution to Serve Local: If you’re a restaurant chef, you possess a lot of power in the equation for the local flavor/local economy. We want to hear from you. Raise your hand now to help create the new Slow Food Chefs Alliance.

  5. Make a Resolution to Be Better Informed: Learn about the world around us. Study the Slow Meat playbook with these excellent coaches: Nicolette Hahn Niman’s Defending Beef, Patrick Martins’ The Carnivore’s Manifesto, Andrew Lawler’s Why Did the Chicken Cross the World?, Ted Genoways’ The Chain Never Slows, and Christopher Leonard’s The Meat Racket. My (re)reading list also includes some of the better food books published in 2014: Dan Barber’s The Third Plate, Paul Greenberg’s American Catch, Stefanie Sacks’ What the Fork Are You Eating? and William Powers’ New Slow City. And, of course, regular trips to the Slow Food USA Blog. Yes, I believe food is paramount, but it shouldn’t be all consuming. Explore economics, politics, music, art and fashion. The wider you explore, the more you’ll recognize common themes that link the food system to everything else.”

And happy, healthy, delicious 2015 to all.

 

Denver International Wine Festival This Week

DenverWinefest2014The 10th annual Denver International Wine Festival takes place this week. Three highlight events are a four-course winemaker’s, the Taste of Elegance/Pairsine competition and the Grand Tasting. The chef dinner featuring Stellenbosch wines from South Africa takes place on Wednesday, November 19 at 6:30 p.m. at the Meritage Restaurant in the Omni Interlocken Resort in Broomfield, conveniently located between Denver and Boulder, where all local Wine Country Network events now take place. Click here for the menu. The cost is $69 plus tax and gratuities.

Maybe I’m partial because I’ve been a judge several times, but my favorite part of the festival is Pairsine, a competition in which 10 Denver area chefs prepare two dishes each to pair with gold meal winning wines from the earlier Denver International Wine Competition.  Officially known as The Taste of Elegance, this event takes place on Thursday November 20 from 6 to 9 p.m. also at the Omni Interlocken Resort. It is Wine Country Network’s signature event and this year, celebrity TV chef and author Sara Moulton, is honorary host and will also conduct cooking demonstrations. Tickets ($100) are still available online.

Nine of the 10 chefs have been announced:

  • Chef Jeff Bolton, Kachina Southwestern Grill
  • Chef Geoffrey Groditski, The University Club
  • Chef Joshua Hasho, The Meritage, Omni Interlocken
  • Chef Chris Teigland, Balistreri Vineyards
  • Chef Bill Miner, Relish Catering & Events
  • Chef Sean McGee, Rio Bistro
  • Chef Timothy Richardson, Custom Culinary Concepts
  • Chef Laurent Mechin, Jill’s at The St. Julien Hotel
  • Chef Cristino Greigo, The Bistro at Stapleton

The festival’s finale is the Grand Tasting on Friday November 21 from 6 to 9 p.m., with three hours of wine tasting and wine-themed exhibits. This popular ticket is $65, which can also be purchased online, organizers say is new lower price. I can’t recall what it was in the past. Because drinking and driving are a bad idea, the Omni is offering $99 rooms to festival-goers. Click here for reservations.

There are also trade and consumer seminars — the latter accessible with a now-sold-out VIP admission ticket. Click here FoMoInfo.