Monday, May 7, 2012

Sofi Awards Preview

The Summer Fancy Food Show is coming to Washington, DC on June 17-19, 2012, and last week we previewed the 20 finalists for the 40th annual sofi™ Awards that will be on exhibit at the show.  (The show is for industry only and not consumers.)  The sofi™ Awards, the top honor in the specialty food industry, will be the highlight of the event with a red-carpet ceremony hosted by renowned Chef Jose Andres.

The 20 finalists, ranging from Sweet Potato and Cracked Pepper Crackers to Goat Milk Caramel and Grapefruit Campari Sorbet, were on display at Sapore Oil and Vinegar in Eastern Market.

Of particular note were Carrie Morey’s Cheese and Chive Biscuits and Fiery Pimento Cheese.  Carrie is a five-time winner of the sofi™ Awards and sells her products all over the country at fine markets and gourmet food stores.  The Cheese and Chive Biscuits had the perfect crumble threshold and captured Carrie’s southern twang well.  Her Fiery Pimento Cheese was, well, fiery and delicious (and that’s coming from a food blogger whose ability to handle spicy foods is admittedly weak).

Speaking of spicy, Earth and Vine Provisions’ Spicy Apply Garlic Jam nearly stole the show on Tuesday night and could very well steal the sofi™ Awards in June.  It boasts a remarkable savory contrast that is sure to make your taste buds come alive like bats rising from the branches at sunset.  The jam works well on sandwiches, and can also be used as a dipping sauce for bread and crackers, as it was on Tuesday evening.

The aforementioned Sweet Potato and Cracked Pepper Crackers were an unexpected treat.  Sweet potato fries are obviously a foodie favorite, and these circular crackers provide a genuine taste without doing so in an overwhelming fashion.

Alexis Konownitzine and La Pasta, Inc. provided another gem of an exhibit.  Their Pink Vodka Sauce, perhaps the simplest of the entries, produced quite possibly the boldest taste of the event.  The sauce supplements the rich tomato flavor with a spicy twist that literally blew my palate to smithereens.  It is prime for pasta (especially some of the pasta that Sapore Oil & Vinegar sells) but again, would also be a great dipping mechanism.

One of the highlights of the featured spreads was Sabatino North America’s Pistachio Cream.  The possibilities are endless when it comes to this product. Its sweetness begs for it to be used after a meal with cookies and shortbread, while its consistency allows this cream to substitute as a spread for sandwiches or a snack. The appeal of the Pistachio Cream comes from its versatility; it can truly be enjoyed in a wide variety of ways on a number of different items.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t comment on the hosts of the preview show.  Sapore Oil and Vinegar has a refreshing vibe to it as a shop to buy pasta, oils, and other dressings from.  The shiny jugs that line the walls welcome you to try anything and everything that the store has to offer and the adventurous customer will mix and match the different oils and vinegars to come up with their favorite dressing.  It would be a great activity for a Saturday afternoon after purchasing food at Eastern Market to make your way over to Sapore to add the finishing touches.

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