The Oscars of artisan jam are happening tomorrow at the Ferry Building, and expert picklers, coffee producers, cheese makers, and brewers from all over the country are being flown in to accept medals for their products. They're called The Good Food Awards, the first awards were given in 2011, and the event is an annual celebration of the local, slow-food ethos, "honoring people who make food that is delicious, respectful of the environment, and connected to communities and cultural traditions." Awards are now given in nine categories: cheese, charcuterie, preserves, pickles, chocolate, coffee, confections, beer, and spirits.
This year's finalists are all listed here, and they include Bay Area names like Bi-Rite, nominated for their kohlrabi kraut; Mill Valley Beerworks, nominated for their Four Brothers beer; Fatted Calf, nominated for their duck pate with pistachio and stone fruit; and St. George Spirits, nominated for their Agua Libre California Agricole Rum.
On Friday night, hundreds of people from the artisan food community will gather in the grand hall, upstairs at the Ferry Building, for the awards ceremony hosted by Alice Waters. They will fete the 114 winners, who come from 30 states and one federal district, and then proceed downstairs to the gala reception, which this year they're saying is black tie optional.
Tickets are still available for the reception ($95), which will feature many of the winning products to taste both on regional tasting plates and in dishes by ten local chefs, including Sarah and Evan Rich of Rich Table, Comstock Saloon's Carlo Espinas, Bill Corbett of The Absinthe Group, Trevor Ogden of Chambers, and Slanted Door alum Grace Nguyen of Asian Box.
Plus, there will be an open bar serving the fourteen winning beers alongside cocktails by Rye on the Road using the thirteen spirit category winners.
To get an idea, see the slideshow from last year.
Then on Saturday, January 19, for one day only, many of the winning products will be for sale at the Good Food Awards Marketplace, in the Ferry Building alcoves during the farmers' market. It gets very crowded, and it's $5 to get in to the area or $15 if you buy an early-access ticket, which gets you in at 8 a.m.