Monday, November 7, 2011

101 Bottles of Sauce on the Wall...

Don’t let anyone ever tell you that Washington DC is not a food town! 

This weekend the Metropolitan Cooking and Entertaining Show came to Washington DC for the 6th year in a row.  Thousands upon thousands of enthusiastic foodies came out to rub shoulders with celebrity chefs, attend cooking workshops, buy the latest autographed cookbooks, and sample the countless varieties of yummy foods.  There were hot sauces, BBQ sauces, pasta sauces, dipping sauces, jams & jellies, cupcakes, cheeses, fresh herbs, olive oils, balsamic vinegars, wines & spirits and much more!  The convention floor was jam packed with vendors, chefs, bakers, cookbook writers, and the occasional miracle mop, sharp knife and never-stick fry pan vendors.  It was astounding!  After cruising up and down the aisles for a couple of hours, our green “trick-or-treat bags” were stuffed with coupons, samples, brochures, and products we had purchased.   Plus, our bellies were stuffed with crackers, sauces, cheese, wine, cakes, beef dishes, and bunches of other goodies.  Our taste buds were definitely on over-load.  We can’t imagine that the food stalls did much business with all the free samples within arm’s reach.

One of the most creative products we saw on the floor was a plant-based food called Cavi-art.   For caviar lovers, this product has the taste, look and smell that amazingly rivals the real fish roe.  Can you keep a secret?  It’s actually made from seaweed...really!  Cavi-art was developed in Denmark and comes in a wide range of colors and styles.  I tasted several, including the salmon and beluga styles  and loved them all.  Check them out at:

“The Pickle Ladies”  are Ashlee and Jenny  from North Carolina.  They offered four flavors to sample.  They’re based on family recipes, all natural and absolutely delicious.  We bought several jars – need I say more?

Another very original product was the line-up of nine sauces sold by Quebec-based La Maison Le Grand.  They come in foil pouches that can be easily squeezed to extract the sauces.  We tasted several of the varieties and bought:  Lemon Confit & Pumkin Seed,   4-Nuts & Cheese Pesto,  Olive & Sun Dried Tomato Tapenade,  and a Greek Tzatziki sauce to go on grilled meats and sandwiches.  Yum!

Finally, a big shout out to a local bakery called Cakes By Happy Eatery.  They have retail outlets in Centreville and Manassas, VA, and do private and corporate catering as well.  Cakes, pastries and desserts for all occasions.  We were invited to sample a range of their cupcakes.  All flavors were great, but surprisingly enough the ones we enjoyed the most were their sugar-free and gluten-free varieties, both great choices for sinners with dietary restrictions.

This is a great food show.  Attendees get chances to shake hands (and maybe even the occasional hug) with popular TV stars such as Paula Deen, Giada, Guy Fieri, Jaques Pepin, and others.  There are scores of expert presentations and workshops on topics ranging from knife skills to planning parties, and all things food in between.  There were over 300 exhibitors showing off their best stuff.  And it was a great opportunity to observe, learn, taste, and immerse ourselves in foodie heaven.  In 2012, the show will be visiting Atlanta, Houston and Washington DC again.  Watch their website  for exact dates.  YUM!

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