Friday night's awards ceremony, honoring the winners of the first annual Good Food Awards, was a serious foodie love fest. "Let's hear it for pickle people!" cried one ebullient presenter. "Here's to another fruitful year of preserving," said jams-and-jellies goddess and preserves category judge June Taylor. The upper level of the Ferry Building was festooned with American flags and bunting, and winners flew in from all over the country to accept their accolades, to bring samples of their artisanal products one chocolate grower had actually flown in from Madagascar and to hobnob with the great Alice Waters, who delivered a keynote address about taste and flavor. (Alice told a now familiar story about how, after her first fateful trip to France at the age of nineteen, she was on a quest simply to find American green beans that tasted like the ones she found there.)
Sausage maker Bruce Aidells introduced and judged the charcuterie category, and he gave a little speech about what makes good charcuterie it's all about balance, fat, and flavor. Pickling and fermentation guru Sandor Katz taught us that a proper pickle needs no vinegar, and that vinegar actually kills the live probiotics in an authentic pickle.
Through all seven categories, experts in the fields of coffee, cheese, beer, pickles, etc. all expressed similar wonderment at the great, old fashioned-yet-innovative work being done across this great land of ours to make good foodstuffs. (See the full list of winners here.) They joined in cheers with Ms. Waters and MC Caleb Zigas (La Cocina), and then we all went downstairs to the Ferry Building food hall to sample plates that were constructed according to region, with winning meats, pickles, relishes, jams, cheeses and chocolate pieces all arrayed. The highlights for us: an incredible cheese from Rivers Edge Chevre in Logsden, Oregon called Siltcoos; the savory Brussels sprout relish from Ann's Raspberry Farm in Fredericktown, Ohio; and the smoked beef tongue from Berkeley's own Café Rouge. See our brief slideshow by clicking below.
Also, see some photos from the Single Guy of Saturday's Good Food Marketplace outdoors at the Ferry Building, at which many of the winning products were available to taste and purchase. And remember that for the next four weeks there are various events all over the Bay Area in celebration of Good Food Month, featuring many of the winning products and producers as well.
Earlier: CafĂ© Rouge and Girl and the Fig Top Charcuterie Finalists in Good Food Awards [Grub Street]