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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Plenty of Local Love at Friday's 'Oscars of Food'

Posted By on Tue, Jan 18, 2011 at 6:09 PM

click to enlarge Ecco Caffe's Andrew Barnett, judging coffee entries last October. - TONX/FLICKR
  • tonx/Flickr
  • Ecco Caffe's Andrew Barnett, judging coffee entries last October.

Friday night, a crowd gathered under the twinkling lit arches of the Ferry Building to attend the inaugural Good Food Awards. Hundreds of commercially available products from around the country were submitted, tasted, and judged in a smattering of categories: beer, charcuterie, cheese, chocolate, pickles, and preserves. In the end, 71 products made the cut and were recognized at the event.

La Cocina's Caleb Zigas emceed, introducing the keynote speaker, none other than Alice Waters. Waters spoke eloquently on the evolution of the food movement, from simply searching to find good, flavorful food to striving to make that food from clean, sustainable products. Invariably, the latter would lead to the former. (Fun fact: Alice Waters is vehemently opposed to jaywalking. You read it here first.)

Each subsequent category was introduced by a luminary in the field, many of whom were Bay Area figures: Bruce Aidells spoke of the power of salumi, and jam maker extraordinaire June Taylor discussed preserves in her chipper British accent. The winners of each category were then read off by local foodlebrities: Eileen Hassi of Ritual Coffee, Tia Harrison of Avedano's, Jen Dalton of Kitchen Table Consulting, Dave McLean of Magnolia Pub and Brewery, David Salowich of Bittersweet Café, and Karen Solomon, author of Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It, who whipped the crowd into a frenzy with her spirited reading of the winners' names in the pickles category.

Within each category, awardees were grouped by region, and within the West region, the Bay Area and Northern California had a good showing, 15 in all. The full list of all 71 winners can be found on the Good Food Awards site, but we'd like to call out the local talent:

Beer

Bison Brewing (Berkeley) ― Organic gingerbread ale

Drake's Brewing (San Leandro) ― Denoggenizer

Marin Brewing Company (Larkspur) ― ESChi

North Coast Brewing Company (Ft. Bragg) ― Pranqster

Charcuterie

Café Rouge (Berkeley) ― Smoked beef tongue

The Girl and the Fig (Sonoma) ― Coppa

Cheese

Cowgirl Creamery (Petaluma) ― Red Hawk

Nicasio Valley Cheese Company (Nicasio) ― Nicasio Square

Chocolate

Charles Chocolates (San Francisco) ― Salty sweet cashew bar

Coffee

Blue Bottle Coffee (Oakland) ― Kemgin

Pickles

Ceres Community Project (Sebastopol) ― Arame and ginger sauerkraut salad

Cultured (Berkeley) ― Spicy oregano purple carrots

Preserves

Happy Girl Kitchen (Monterey) ― Apricot chile jam

Middleton Farm (Healdsburg) ― Raspberry

Plumline (Santa Cruz) ― Damson plum

Sean Timberlake is the founder of Punk Domestics, a content and community site for DIY food enthusiasts.

Follow SFoodie on Twitter: @sfoodie.

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Sean Timberlake

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