Color Style Kyle

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Slow Food Nation in San Francisco – Kids Are Foodies, Too

Posted by Kyle Design on September 1, 2008

Ever tried eating snail? This bread display makes it appealing!

Ever tried eating snail? This bread display makes it appealing!

I took my girls (9 and 12) to the Slow Food Nation 2008 show in San Francisco Saturday. The deal was, if I was going to spend $65 on a ticket for each of them, they were going to try everything. I feel I got my money’s worth out of it because we overcame some big food hurdles this weekend, in particular with my youngest who is a picky eater.

Slow Food USA is a movement promoting good, clear, fair and sustainable foods and the pleasure of eating them. We attended the Taste Pavilions and loved almost everything we tried (and tried again). It was wonderful! We had tickets for the 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. time slot, got very lucky with parking in the Fort Mason center and then lined up behind the other 2,000 foodies waiting in line to get in at the stroke of 5:00. There were some other kids, but certainly not a lot – maybe about 20.

As you enter, you walk past the brick ovens baking bread and pizza outside the pier and your salivary glands go wild. We came hungry and left stuffed and happy, yet still had extra spaces on our taste cards for more if we were so inclined. You receive tickets for 20 tastings, and samples “cost” from 1-3 tasting dots. When I first got there I thought, “Oh, I can eat more than that.” HA! By the end, my daughters were trying to give away our extra tickets, but everyone they approached had the same stuffed-to-the-gills look on their faces. We ended up leaving our unmarked tickets on the table for any hungrier (or thirstier) individuals who might exist.

Slow Food Nation Taste Pavilions - Ate Like a Pig and Proud of It

Slow Food Nation Taste Pavilions - Ate Like a Pig and Proud of It

The taste pavilions were divided up into about 13 different sections: Fish, Charcuterie (Meats), Honey and Preserves, Chocolate, Cheese, Olive Oil, Tea, Coffee, Ice Cream, Pickles and Chutney, Breads, Wine, Spirits, Beer. As it turns out, we only went to about half, but didn’t feel like we were missing out at all. Our stomachs are only so big!

ice Cream Flask - Eating and Drinking Were the Nights Mission

ice Cream Flask - Eating and Drinking Were the Night's Mission

Ice Cream: We went through this line twice. We went through it at the beginning when the line wasn’t that long (we decided to have desserts first, then dinner foods – why not?) The raspberry sorbet was heavenly! And my youngest (who does NOT EAT FRUIT) loved the chocolate cherry ice cream!!! You get 3 flavors for two dots, and they had 3 assortments each time. Of course, later, when everyone was ready for dessert, the line was huge, but since we knew how good it was the first time, we were happy to wait for the new selections. The only one we didn’t like was the lemon goat cheese ice cream. It really just tasted like frozen goat cheese, and I prefer to eat that in small bites on salads and in pasta dishes. I don’t need a whole bowl of it. It could have been interesting if the goat cheese flavor were more subtle instead of overwhelming.

Cheese: Turns out, the cheese ice cream was the closest we got to sampling cheese. We kept hoping to get back to the cheese line, but it was always at least a 45 minute wait. But I take my girls out to the Cheese Board in Berkeley at least once a year to sample new cheeses, so it didn’t feel that critical to us to wait in a line that long. We asked one woman how her cheese was, but she only liked one of the three, so that demotivated us as well. I know, we should not be basing our actions on a sample of one stranger, but, oh well. But if we’d waited in line and they’d served us lemon goat cheese, I would have been in big trouble.

Eat Whatever Turns You On - Fish Rotary Light Dimmer Knob

Eat Whatever Turns You On - Fish Rotary Light Dimmer Knob

The children loved the opportunity to touch and explore the fresh fish.

The children loved the opportunity to touch and explore the fresh fish.

Fish: The fish was delicious – we tried octopus, tuna, sardine and an orange-fleshed fish called cra (sp?). Sooo flavorful! There was a cool display of freshly caught fish that we were all able to touch, including a monk fish (no scales!) that had unfortunately died before being caught. (If it had been alive, they would have thrown it back because it has been over-fished.) There was a very friendly and informative marine biologist (Ed) there answering all of our questions and explaining the differences between the different varies – halibut, tuna, etc. Fish eyes don’t feel anything like I was expecting….

Bee Pill Box - You Could Even Carry Your Bee Pollen In It

Bee Pill Box - You Could Even Carry Your Bee Pollen In It

Looks Cool, Smells Good

Beeswax Quilt with Real Bees: Looks Cool, Smells Good

Honey and Preserves: My hands-down favorite. The peach jam from Dry Creek Peach & Produce in Healdsburg, CA was so good I nearly came to tears. They raise their own peaches and pick only the best ones for their jam, and you can absolutely taste the quality. The honeys were really good, too, and my nine-year-old tasted honey for the first time. She LOVED the coffee-infused honey. (She’s been trying to recreate it since we got home.) Cool display: the beeswax quilts that still have bees embedded in them.

Wine, Beer, Spirits: We skipped the Wine, Spirits and Beer pavilions because I don’t drink (and neither do my children, of course) so that would not have been of interest to any of us.

Wine Connoisseurs Light Switch Plates

Wine Connoisseurs' Light Switch Plates

Chocolate Stamp Dispenser - Write to All Your Friends About How Good It Is

Chocolate Stamp Dispenser - Write to All Your Friends About How Good It Is

Chocolate: The dark chocolate samples were distinct and delicious, with the Amano being our favorite. They had actual cacao tree fruit pods and seeds (or beans). Another sampler had chopped cacao beans called nibs. They were chocolaty, crunchy and nutty at the same time, but not really sweet. They’d be great on top of ice cream and cakes, or just for a tiny, tasty snack.

Pickles, Chutney: Another long line for something I don’t particularly like and seldom eat. Maybe I’ve just been setting a bad example…. Chutney I like, but from what I could see, most of the samples were for pickles, which my girls won’t even touch. So I slid on this one.

Caffeine Business Card Case - The Kick in Tea and Coffee is Serious Business

Caffeine Molecule Business Card Case - The Kick in Tea and Coffee is Serious Business

Tea, Coffee: Skipped these too as I didn’t want to have caffeinated drinks late at night, otherwise I would never get to sleep. Also didn’t want to be giving my daughters caffeine that late at night either or again, I would never get to sleep. If we’d gone during the day, we definitely would have been in line….

We tried so many types of olive oil - huge variety of flavors, styles.

We tried so many types of olive oil - huge variety of flavors, styles.

Olive Oil: I had no idea the range of flavors that can be found in different olive oils! I always assumed that they would be close, and that maybe I would be able to tell the difference. But no! Shockingly different. Some I didn’t like at all – too bitter, others were nutty, others soft or spicy or sour. Very, very interesting and fun experience. My family’s favorites were the Bozzano and the Pacific Sun Proprietor’s Select. They were also offering samples of olive oil that you drink(!). My older daughter and I tried it, but decided it was not for us. Maybe not as weird as I first thought, but really, I don’t need to be adding random fat and calories to my diet. I would much rather be eating chocolate or jam. Lots of it, in fact.

Theres So Much More to Read About the Sustainable Food Movement

There's So Much More to Read About the Sustainable Food Movement

American Indian Foods: We tried bison stew, hominy soup and wild rice cakes. The stew and soup were both rich and delicious, but the wild rice cakes were a little bland.

The Bread display featured all kinds of fun animal-shaped loaves - alligators, lobsters, crabs, etc.

The Bread display featured all kinds of fun animal-shaped loaves - alligators, lobsters, crabs, etc.

Bread: Tandoori breads, pizza, bread sticks, all baking away in wood fired brick ovens glowing in the dusk of night. What can I say, there is nothing like fresh-out-of-the-oven bread. The smell is definitely part of the experience. Crispy and chewy, full of flavor, fresh toppings. We sat in a reed hut on rushes while eating our pizzas, protected from the winds outside.

The bread displays were fantastic, too. There was a giant snail, surrounded by cute alligators, crabs, lobsters and other animals, all made out of bread. Makes you want to bake up some fun shapes of your own. I think I will….

We stayed the full four hours, and left, well, full. For those who tried everything, I can only assume they were bursting at the seams.

We really enjoyed ourselves, experienced many new flavors (whew!!!), and I shared a love of good food with my daughters. We can taste the difference, appreciate it and crave it. It adds to one’s experience and appreciation of life, and my daughters were so proud of themselves. That makes me happy. Happy is good.

If you’d like to see more of the unique gifts above, please click on the photos or here for cool Pill Cases, Flasks, ID Badge Holders, Bookmarks, Stamp Dispensers, Business Card Holders and Light Dimmer Knobs and Switchplates.

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