We sampled more than 30 bites and sips at last week’s Heavy Table + Wedge Community Co-op North Coast Nosh. (I know. Tough job.) Not a single one of them disappointed, but there were a handful that stuck with us — and might even subtly change the way we cook and shop and look at food.
I have a few culinary regrets in my life. And after the Nosh, I have at least one more: I regret every time I walked past the long line at Rise Bagels at the farmers market. I regret thinking, “A line for bagels? Have we no self-respect?” Because, damn, these two sisters make a fine bagel. A beautiful bagel, inside and out. A chewy bagel with a deeply developed flavor in the dough. A bagel worth a few minutes in line. And now you can learn from my mistakes by following Rise Bagels wherever they may show up.
Poorboy Caramel Sauce
This is my favorite instance of culinary synergy — pretty much ever. The Lone Grazer has vats of whey left over after making cheese. Whey is a thin liquid, but it’s packed with protein and milk sugars. Poorboy, makers of delicious caramels, takes that whey, boils the heck out of it to reduce the liquid, and makes jars of rich tangy-sweet caramel sauce unlike anything you’ve ever tasted.
Lone Grazer Ricotta with Curry, Cilantro, and Caramel
Culinary synergy, part 2: The Lone Grazer was showing off its whole-milk ricotta in a dip that I never in a million years would have dreamed up. Hold your judgment until you try it: ricotta mixed with curry powder and cilantro, then drizzled with Poorboy Caramel Sauce — the stuff made with Lone Grazer whey. It was like the caramel had come home. Smoky, sweet, herbal. Perfect. (Sorry, you can’t buy the dip; you’ll have to make it yourself.)
Macaron Ice Cream Sandwich from Cocoa and Fig
I can’t believe that in these macaron-obsessed times I have never bitten into this sublime combination. Cocoa and Fig previewed its four- or five-bite sandwiches, soon to debut at its retail locations. (Companion: “But how can you keep them cold on the way home?” Me: “?”) Made with Sebastian Joe’s ice cream and Cocoa and Fig’s own crispy-chewy macarons, these are an instant classic.
Wisco Pop Ginger Soda
Some craft ginger ale is nasal-clearingly sharp. Which, don’t get me wrong, I fully support. But I also really appreciated Wisco Pop’s smoother take on the soda classic: a little lighter on the ginger, with lemon and lime to cut the heat and lavender to smooth it out. We heard it was created to ease a pregnant woman’s morning sickness. Lucky lady.
Here’s a motto I can get behind: Chocolate is not candy. Chocolate is food. The folks at K’ul want us to enjoy chocolate for what it can do for our bodies, so they’ve mixed it with maca (an Andean root), pumpkin seeds, currants, guarana (a mild stimulant) and other ingredients (some trendy, some not) that are full of energy and nutrients. Result: a little packaged pick-me-up that will make you feel great in more ways than one.
Garlic Cheddar from Redhead Creamery
There was plenty of delicious cheese at the Nosh, from the Lone Grazer, Alemar and the Caves of Faribault. But the semisoft, ultra-garlicky cheddar from one-year-old Redhead Creamery stood out for its unapologetic, unpretentious flavor. This is cheese that can and should kick off a hotdish dinner. And for this reason: It needs a name. Think vampires. Think stinking roses. Think alliteration. (It’s joining the Little Lucy and the Lucky Linda.) Then get in touch with Redhead with your suggestions.
Meat and Cheese Lines
One of the things that differentiates the Nosh from other food events is that, instead of moving from line to line to line, you walk right up to every table and start noshing and chatting. Well, almost every table. At the most recent Nosh, the lines for superstars Red Table Meats and the Caves of Faribault eventually got so long they nearly merged into one perfect antipasto chain. To those of you who chose to stand in line for salami and aged Gouda: I salute you. You have your priorities straight.
ALSO SEEN AT THE NOSH:
David Friedman of Chef Camp Minnesota talks with a guest
Patisserie 46‘s epic spread
Du Nord pouring spirits
Song Lee of Gerhard’s Brats
The Verdant Tea team sampled three different creative Arnie Palmer drinks in advance of their appearance at Chef Camp Minnesota
Samples from the Wedge Community Co-op
Amanda Henke of Annie B’s and B.T. McElrath