On the banks of the Mississippi River in the Marcy Holmes neighborhood on one of the last summer Saturdays over 30 local cheesemakers, brewers, and purveyors of all things local, artisanal, and edible assembled in The Soap Factory building. More than 400 attendees of the ninth North Coast Nosh circulated among them, through the brick-walled, wood-floored artistic exhibition space. (For another recap of the Nosh, head on over to Alcohol By Volume).
For the third time, Nosh attendees had the option to upgrade their tickets to a special Pre-Nosh: an intimate presentation by four local purveyors. This event’s included Alemar Cheese, Badger Hill Brewing, Gerhard’s Brats, and a cold press coffee tutorial from Peace Coffee.
Alemar Cheese founder Keith Adams (above) was on site discussing the well regarded Bent River Camembert in his Pre-Nosh presentation. “I want to show you what you can do besides put cheese on crusty bread and water crackers,” he told the small audience as he whipped up a salad of mixed greens, red onion, pear, apple, spiced walnuts, pomegranate, horseradish dressing, and a smear of Bent River Camembert. “Cheese is only as good as the milk you start with,” he says. “And high-moisture cheeses lead a short but delicious life.” Alemar uses 100 percent grass-fed Cedar Summit Farm milk. Adams was excited to also serve the newest flavor from Alemar: the Surly Bender-laced Good Thunder. Think of it as Bent River’s funkier counterpart.
Brittany Krekelberg of Badger Hill Brewing showed attendees how to pair beer with desserts. “When pairing beer to food you can do one of three things,” she says. “Match strength, contrast tastes, or harmonize flavors.” They paired Minnesota Special Bitter Ale with a salty caramel, Foundation Stout with a grainy cube of dark chocolate, and High Road Everyday Ale with a key lime hard candy. Krekelberg jokingly referenced her college years as what first peaked her interest in pairing food with beer. “I would ask for olives in my beer because I was so poor that I couldn’t afford to eat.”
Gerhard’s Brats represented the newest purveyor of the bunch (having just launched in early 2013). Austria native Gerhard Riautschnig (above right, with co-founder Rob Lee, above left) keeps the recipes simple for his fresh and smoked bratwurst. There’s not much more than fresh-quality meat, salt, pepper, garlic, and an authentically honed skill of making traditional, tender, juicy sausages. He sources all his meat from Iowa farms and keeps the batches small. In addition to his bratwurst (available at retail spaces like France 44 Cheese Shop and Golden Fig), Riautschnig will soon offer Landjager, a savory smoked and semi-dried beef and pork sausage.
Peace Coffee taught pre-Nosh attendees how to brew the perfect cup of cold press coffee using two different methods (see embedded video, above). The first — a mildly bitter cold brew — uses room temperature water that is steeped between 8 and 18 hours, and served with equal parts water or milk.
The second — a chocolatey hot brew — takes about the same amount of time as traditional hot coffee and is cut with equal parts ice. (32-oz growlers are also available for purchase at their Wonderland Park location, if you’re not feeling up to the task). They also passed out samples from their Alchemy series — small-batch roasts that have been selling out quickly.
Melissa Gallant and Anthony Guarnaccia of Petite Sweet Pastries passed out whoopie pie flavors like Bacon S’more and Banana Pineapple Ginger … and also announced their recent engagement. Verdant Tea (above right) talked about their new bricks-and-mortar location in the Seward neighborhood while pouring cups of traditional and decaffeinated Chai tea. Verdant Tea partner and co-resident Ashlee Olds of Sweet Science Ice Cream (above left) was on hand as well.
Iowa-based Kalona SuperNatural combined their tangy yogurt with Birchwood Cafe granola. There were fresh, doughy pretzel buns from Breadsmith stuffed with pulled chicken doused in Triple Crown BBQ next to a trio of flavors from TeaSource (including an refreshing strawberry oolong). Hibbing-based Sunrise Creative Gourmet (above) dished up cups of butternut squash ravioli and walnut-apple potica.
Dangerous Man Brewing Company (above) poured tastes of Chocolate Milk Stout, Cream Ale, and Belgian Style Tripel. Caves of Fairbault (below) had samples of a double-cheese mashup using St. Pete’s Select Blue and Jeffs’ Select Gouda. Gamle Ode poured a special Celebration Punch made using their namesake Aquavit, Bittercube bitters, grapefruit, lemon, and seltzer.
Gray Duck Chai (below) served samples of their original blend alongside the new Burnt Sugar Ginger (and Chai profiteroles, too). Exiting attendees were greeted with a substantial farewell via the Moral Omnivore food truck, which passed out mini versions of beet sliders and fried tomato BLTs.