Friday, October 7, 2011

Speed Dating at Food Blog Forum Nashville

Well, speed dating (sort of) with local businesses, that is. At the opening party for Food Blog Forum Nashville, which was held at the Nashville Farmers’ Market, and themed “Taste of Tennessee,” I walked around to each booth to experience all sorts of goodness from restaurateurs, purveyors, artisans and more from the Middle Tennessee region. And it made me fall in love all over again with Nashville. The Nashville food scene really seems to be blowing up, and I’m so proud to be here to taste, sip, snack and support it, the best I can. I’m was so inspired by the event (and huge shout out to Beth, Lindsay and Leah for all the work they put into planning this for our fair city) that I’m blogging about it the very same day!

The event was a great chance to get up close and personal with a strong representation of Nashville’s finest in food and drink. I wanted to take this opportunity to show off a few of my favorite vendors of the evening.

Corsair Distillery’s Triple Smoke American Single Malt Whiskey was amazing. Sooo smokey, but not in the artificial burnt toast kind of way – in a really smooth, deep way. The gal conducting the tasting also shared that their tasting room in Marathon Village is about to open, which means not only are they distilling spirits on location, they’re finally going to be able to sample them. They had to build out a separate space with its own door, apart from the distillery (damn you Tennessee liquor laws).

Next up is Bathtub Gin. With their spiked fruit spreads in flavors like Limoncello Strawberry, Rum Raisin Mission Fig (yes, that’s all one kind), and Basil Vodka Golden Tomato, I knew I had to sample these spreadable delights myself. Amy (one of the two sister creators) was a doll, and so excited to share her creations.

Then I ate half a hot dog. A hot dog smothered in Mista Dale’s Gourmet Mustard Slaw, that is! Mista Dale himself was so charming, and passionate about his slaw. After turning 50 last year, he says he knew he wanted to do something he was truly passionate about, and he knew he made a mean slaw. So one day he packaged up one of his prized concoctions and mailed it to Kroger in a used mayonnaise jar. Six weeks later he was invited to present his product in the Kroger national headquarters in Cincinnati, and now you can be find Mista Dale’s around Nashville and soon around the Middle Tennessee region. Gotta love stories like that. I tried the more mild of the two spicy slaws and it sure was tasty. Reminded me of a chow chow or relish over a slaw because of its heat and bright yellow color (from the mustard). Growing up in the Midwest, our slaws were pretty bland…Marzetti Dressing anyone? The ingredient list contains whole, real foods, too, and no preservatives. Nice, Mista Dale!

The Bloomy Rind, created by cheese enthusiast Kathleen Cotter, bills itself as “an artisan cheese shop in the making.” How lovely! While she doesn’t have a brick-and-mortar location yet, Kathleen keeps busy doing wonderful things like creating the first-of-its-kind Southern Cheese Festival, partnering with all kinds of restaurants, breweries and other vendors (like Bathtub Gin) to provide cheese all over town, and selling her cheese — both local and national varieties — at local shops like Turnip Truck and farmers’ markets. Way to go, Kathleen — it’s so great to have access to so many wonderful cheeses, and have someone so knowledgeable to share them.

Last on my short list of faves was Perl Catering. They’re a husband-and-wife team who offers local, organic, restaurant-quality food to their catering clients. I snacked on a pumpkin seed romesco crostini with truffled spaghetti squash on top. Holy crap was it good!

And that was just the start. Goo Goo Clusters, Olive & Sinclair Chocolates, Yazoo who custom made pint glasses featuring the FBF logo, Loveless Cafe,  Grinder’s Switch Winery and O.Liv Body Bar were present as well. Arnold Myint also did a cooking demonstration and his newest restaurant concept, AM & FM, offered up delicious crostinis of roasted beets, egg salad with pickled mustard seeds, and shrimp with pickled caper berries.

So many good folks, food and festivities tonight, and it’s all just the start. Excited to attend FBF tomorrow, to learn some blogging tips and tricks so that I can blog more and better about the excellent purveyors of Middle Tennessee, with whom I am most definitely in love.


13 Responses to “Speed Dating at Food Blog Forum Nashville”

  1. 1

    Shannon — October 8, 2011 @ 4:33 am

    Awesome post! It was so much fun, wasn’t it?! Great seeing and meeting so many people and sampling all the awesome local fare. Good times!!

    • Annakate replied: — October 17th, 2011 @ 10:27 pm

      Totally agree!

  2. 2

    Tabitha — October 8, 2011 @ 5:31 am

    Nicely done!! Looking forward to meeting more folks tomorrow, both local and from out-of-town. And now, sleep.

    • Annakate replied: — October 17th, 2011 @ 10:27 pm

      Thanks lady! What a fun conference.

  3. 3

    Hadley — October 10, 2011 @ 1:00 am

    Pumpkin seed romesco crostini with truffled spaghetti squash?!
    I want.

    • Annakate replied: — October 17th, 2011 @ 10:27 pm

      Yes. Delish. I could drink truffle oil…

  4. 4

    Lesley — October 10, 2011 @ 3:11 pm

    There are a lot of great catering companies in this city, but Perl really stands out for me. I’m so glad they were there (and I got to have that onion soup again!).

    • Annakate replied: — October 17th, 2011 @ 10:26 pm

      Thanks for the info on Perl. I’m in the market for caterers for the wedding next year. Good to know they’ve got your stamp of approval!

  5. 5

    amanda — October 11, 2011 @ 3:24 pm

    you certainly win the speediest blogger award! i was so busy eating & chatting that i ‘forgot’ to take pictures. glad we got the chance to hang out a bit.

    • Annakate replied: — October 17th, 2011 @ 10:26 pm

      Me too! What a fun conference that was.

  6. 6

    djb — October 13, 2011 @ 2:32 pm

    If you ever need a caddy to hold your iPad while you are sampling, let me know. :)

    • Annakate replied: — October 17th, 2011 @ 10:25 pm

      Ha. Will do. Thanks John.

  7. 7

    Susan — December 3, 2011 @ 8:52 am

    Just saw the blog, I crave Mista Dales yummy slaw!

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