There were oysters…
There was cheese…
And there were drinks…
But we came for the pig.
Five pigs, to be exact.
And there was oh-so-much more than bacon! (Though the bacon was copious and incredibly divine!)
A competition and celebration of heritage pigs, this event showcases five chefs, five pigs and five lovely, local wines. Held in several cities throughout the country over a period of six months, the winning chef from each city on the Cochon tour moves on to the final competition at the Food and Wine Classic in Aspen.
Our pork adventure began with crespelle with blood, chard, and beet jelly, made by Chef Jason Stratton from Spinasse. It featured the Tamworth pig from Zorn Family Farm. I’m not sure I had ever intended to try “blood” in a dish – but at this event, it was not to be avoided. And it wasn’t bad…maybe, as they say, an acquired taste…
In between “blood ” tastings, my favorite dish of the evening:
The pork and kimchi stew with house-made tofu, one of the offerings by husband and wife chef duo Rachel Yang and Seif Chirchi, from Joule and new restaurant Revel, featured Old Spot, Duroc and Poland pigs from The Collective. I have never really been a big fan of the spongy texture of tofu – but this, with the house-made tofu? Oh, I am truly a convert! It had such a rich, almost cheese-like texture to it – coupled with the tender, succulent pork and flavorful broth, this simple soup was my top-pick dish of the evening.
Over at Chef Ethan Stowell’s table from Ethan Stowell Restaurants, we were treated to more blood.
Pork stuffed ravioli’s topped with cracklings. The pasta was made with the blood of the Berkshire pig from Newman Farms. Again, an acquired taste.
But Chef Stowell’s pork flavored doughnuts? Second only to the aforementioned soup! I could not get enough of these warm, little balls of melt-in-your-mouth, sugary/savory, fried dough.
Mmmmm! I never knew that a warm doughnut paired with a cold creamy treat could be so…so… so…well, there really are no words.
And the winner for the evening based on the judges and attendee votes?
Chef John Sundstrom from Lark and Licorous with the Hampshire pig from the Jones Family Farms. His trotter fritter with black truffle aoli was incredibly tasty! Trust me – why do you think there is no photo? Yep! I inhaled it! Only after did I realize I had neglected to snap a shot
The showmanship did not stop with the chefs. I was truly impressed with Butcher Extraordinaires Joshua Graves from Olympic Provisions, OR
vs. Brandon Sheard from Farmstead Meat, Vashon Is, WA
These little piggies went to market! The Farmers Market that is!
Raffle tickets were sold throughout the evening with 100% of the proceeds benefiting the Seattle Neighborhood Farmers Market Alliance. Winners of the raffle got to take home the butchered pieces of these two Berkshire pigs from Newman Farms.
I didn’t win the raffle, but luckily was able to score some of the bones they were giving away for free – now what to do with them? Hmmmm – I do have a few ideas! But I’d love to hear yours – What would you make with them in your kitchen?
The Five Wineries: