Last year was my first year EVER year attending feast -I know super late bloomer here. After experiencing all of the magic of eating and drinking to my heart's fill I knew I couldn't do another year sans feast.
One of the main events, the grand tasting, is held across two days, Friday and Saturday and located within the pioneer courthouse square -a brick amphitheater within the city center. The grand tasting is an event set up to sip and sample many new-to-the-market items and many wonderful food items prepared by local chefs. This year I was given an amazing opportunity to attend as a guest blogger -which allowed me entry to both grand tasting days. Since I had attended the grand tasting the year prior I had a great idea of what to expect and even planned a strategy on how to get the most of my time at the grand tasting.
Below are a few highlights from my time at the Grand Tasting events that from both Friday and Saturday:
FEAST PORTLAND 2016 GRAND TASTING
Just like the year prior I had a good guess that there would be a tasting station with a food and wine pairing somewhere within the grand tasting, so this year I made it my mission to find it straight away. After doing a quick run-through the grand tasting I found it immediately and got to enjoy some tasty bites before the massive crowds discovered it.
Local guest Chef Doug Adams, formerly of Imperial and currently working on his proposed restaurant Bullard (opening 2017), was behind the cutting board at the USA Pears tent serving up delicious bites featuring USA PEARS. An additional wine pairing featuring wines from Chateau Ste. Michelle was also present.
DECADENT CREATIONS BAKERY
Being the big fan of sweets I made a mad dash to find Decadent Creations Bakery as this bakery has been on my list to try. The baking gods must have known I was coming because the gals were serving up a few of my favorite flavors; pumpkin, passion fruit, and salted chocolate. For starters anything pumpkin flavored will always get my personal taste test, as does salted chocolate, and passion fruit so slap me a little because I couldn't believe my eyes when I noticed three of the four items they were featuring were among my favorite taste profiles.
Decadent Creations' drunken pumpkin cake was by far my favorite bit of the entire grand tasting. The cake was super moist with a wonderful balance of pumpkin spice, a rum cinnamon ganache layer, and a thick creamy dollop of hazelnut meringue buttercream. This little bite was heaven. I may have had a few extra pieces, more than my share as it was so darn good!
I've been a big fan of DRY SPARKLING for years, the beverages are fizzy, and delightfully light in flavor.
BON APPETIT TENT
For two days there were so many goodies featured under this tent, Olympia Provisions featured a beautiful array of their finest charcuterie, Bee Local Honey and Jacobsen Salt Co. shared bites highlighted by their flavor enhancing salt and honey, Yogi Tea served up hot tea, and Wolf Gourmet featured grilled chicken tacos and roasted plum and ricotta tartine with their high-performance countertop items.
OREGON FRUIT PRODUCTS
Oregon Fruit Products featured three wonderful items: crispy pork belly bites topped with black berry gastrique and whipped herb goat cheese on a bed of endive and frisee, and vanilla bean wanna cotta topped with dark sweet cherries poached in oregon pinot noir and topped with salted pistachios, aside from the eats Oregon Fruit Products was also serving up refreshing strawberry lemonades with their pourable fruit.
OREGON CHEESE GULID
The Oregon Cheese Guild featured four local artisan cheeses, chubut wedge, chèvre with cajeta drizzle on a apple chip, fiesta cheesorio in a cup, and brindisi squares.
WILLIAMS-SONOMA + JACOBSEN SALT CO.
I hope you all had a chance to get you hands on any of the dishes that came off this table. Both days at the Grand Tasting featured back to back chef demos from our very own local chef talent and chefs across the nation.
Guest Chef Gregory Gourdet of portland's Departure restaurant and finalist on Top Chef behind the cutting board prepping his dish for his upcoming demonstration time slot.
Local Chef Peter Cho of Han Oak helping being the scenes at saturday's grand tasting
SALT & STRAW
Hello, a Salt & Straw cart and no line?! You bet I got in the non-existent line and ordered up three mini scoops of every flavor I was curious about, the tom douglas triple coconut cream pie, the white toast and apple butter, and the strawberry honey balsamic with black pepper!
NECTAR CREEK MEAD
I cannot wait to get my hands on some more of that Waggle Mead, a lightly carbonated and fermented honey adult beverage.
Nature's path featured two yummy dishes, a vegan raspberry eton mess with coconut cream, crushed meringue, raspberry and chia granola, and crispy avocado tacos with panko bread, pumpkin flax, granola, avocado and tahini.
Portland Sangria is a spritzy blend of rose and juice in a can
ADDITIONAL FEAST BITES
MY FEAST STRATEGY
My biggest tip for all Feast main events: find the biggest plate that you can and save, this will be your tray during the remainder of the event. I figured out this method last year when I recieved an alaska airlines tray, that tray was put to great use during my first feast weekend but since I didn't keep the tray from last year I scooped up this plate and used it during the entire event. Having this plate helped me gather more than one bite at a time which meant I was able to stay in lines longer while I stocked up on bites. It made taking the time to enjoy my food loot much more enjoyable as I was able to sit and enjoy it all at once.
full disclosure: i was kindly provided a Feast 2016 pass that included entry to the grand tasting and media events in exchange for media coverage. all opinions expressed are my own.