So I’ll make you a deal. I promised a full recap of the delicious eats at Eat Drink Norfolk on Friday. I will deliver the recap, and you don’t judge me for how much I ate! ….it was a 20% night, to be sure, but I enjoyed every bite. And everything was small, so I can eat more, right? (Please say yes to enable me in my rationalizations).
Eat Drink Norfolk is an event that is a fundraiser for our local fair that celebrates the delicious and diverse food and drinks grown and prepared in Norfolk County and surrounding area. You pay an $8 admission, then buy food and drink tickets for $1 each. All the vendors are serving something that costs 1, 2 or 3 tickets, so you take your tickets to various booths to get small plates of food or a drink. So are you ready for the LONG list of what I ate? Brace yourselves! Since many of my readers are not from Norfolk county, I won’t list the vendor names…but if you locals (or anyone else) want specifics…let me know and I’m happy to oblige.
I started with local fingerling potatoes with pesto. My mom really liked these, but I wished that the pesto flavour came through a bit more. And before I continue, if you are thinking that my photos aren’t the greatest, you’re right. Try juggling a plate, glass, food, tickets, camera and a wristlet and see what kind of pictures you can take!
Next was some AWESOME mushroom soup! It was cream of mushroom, but made with several different kinds of mushrooms, and mushroom pieces throughout. I could also taste a hint of wine or some sort of alcohol, which added great flavour. I especially enjoyed this since I almost never eat cream soups when dining out…so this small cup was really delicious!
Pulled pork came next….oh so good! I made the observation that pulled pork was really popular this year – it was part of a dish served at 4 booths! I got mine from an authentic BBQ place, with extra sauce, YUM! I ate part of the bun, but left some of it, because it was nothing special, and really, the meat was the main event.
This little beauty is a slice of perfectly-cooked steak on a seasoned potato slice, topped with sour cream, chives and bacon, from a local butcher. It was simple, but delicious. When you do it right, you don’t need all the bells and whistles to make great-tasting food.
Now, I have to say, I’m a bit disappointed in you guys. No one made any guesses as to why I was up on stage. You guys are no fun! So I guess I’ll just have to tell you – I volunteered to compete in a grilled cheese challenge using all local ingredients with the Two Fairly Fat Guys. For those of you who don’t know, the Two Fairly Fat Guys are “Norfolk County’s official volunteer ambassadors of local food and agriculture.” The challenge was to work with one of them to create several original grilled cheese sandwiches in three minutes, then plate them however you wanted and describe them to the crowd. I made 3 – smoked cheddar, pear and prosciutto topped with apple/hot pepper jelly; honey goat cheese and mixed berries topped with strawberry pie in a jar and bacon, cream cheese and extra old cheddar cheese topped with hot pepper jelly. The contest was declared a tie – both of us won a Norfolk County oven mitt filled with white chocolate popcorn and an official map and local food guide. It was so much fun – I felt right at home up there!
Check out the plating – I think the Fat Guys were impressed! I got to eat my creations. I ate the bacon one and gave the other two to my companions for the evening.
You’re probably wondering where are my drinks? After all, the event was called Eat Drink Norfolk. Fresh-squeezed lemonade was my drink of choice for the evening (as well as an undocumented cup of Earl Grey tea later in the evening). Wine and beer don’t really do it for me. The lemonade was really good. I used to get this kind at the fair when I was younger, so it was a nice flashback – not too sweet and very lemon-y.
Now dessert starts. Of course I couldn’t limit myself to just one dessert when there were SO MANY delicious options! Dessert # 1 was apple strudel with maple caramel sauce. YUMMY! The strudel was good, but the sauce just put it over the top. I could have drank the stuff! No matter how much had been on there, it wouldn’t have been enough, it was just THAT GOOD.
I shared this next photo with you yesterday….but not the back story that went with it. All night, we saw people walking around with these cute and delicious-looking cheesecakes. I finally made my way over to the booth and saw that most of the flavours were crossed out, and asked what they had left. I found out that there was ONE CHEESECAKE LEFT – a single cinnamon dolce! I didn’t hesitate, I nabbed it (what can I say, I’ve got killer cheesecake instincts). My mom had also wanted one, so to make up for it, I got her a caramel pecan brownie and we shared both. Both were absolutely out-of-this world! Knowing how good that cheesecake was, I am so glad I didn’t arrive a moment later.
Dessert continued with a tiny little dark chocolate cupcake with Irish cream frosting. Meh…it was nothing special, actually not even really worth the calories. Not to sound snobby, but I could have made better at home. Oh well, at least it was small, so I didn’t waste too many calories.
We’re nearing the end! This is a mini-cone (it’s small, really!) of peach melba ice cream. For those of you who don’t know what peach melba is, it’s a dessert with raspberries and peaches. Normally fruit-based ice creams don’t really excite me if there’s no chocolate to go with the fruit, but this one was outstanding. I didn’t even miss the chocolate!
Last but not least, some chocolate-covered bacon. I just couldn’t say no. It’s been a food fad for a while now, so I decided to try it for myself. The ladies at my table refused when I offered them though. The verdict? I liked it. I’m a big sweet and salty girl, so it definitely hit those notes for me. I don’t think it’s something I’d crave/eat on a regular basis, but I didn’t find it disgusting.
I had a few extra tickets at the end of the night, so I used them to purchase some cookies/tarts for a lunch I was making for yesterday (post to come). Full disclosure: there are a few things I ate that don’t have pictures here – a bite or two of my mom’s pulled pork and jalapeno poutine (SO good – I went back for my own, but they were out…maybe for the best!), some free samples at a couple of booths, a couple slices of cheese, and a chocolate cake ball from the same place as the cupcakes (again, sadly, I could have made better).
At the end of the night, I was stuffed! But it was all local (mostly) delicious food. I love this event, but I’m glad it only comes once a year! I was suffering a bit fro m the “well, the day’s a write-off anyway” mentality when I got home, so I was nibbling a bit more….but, one day at a time, right?
I started the next day with a trip to the gym for my weekly “long run” (didn’t feel like drowning in the rain). I just did 6 miles instead of the planned 8 since I had a busy day ahead, but I held a 5.5 mph pace for the whole time, which I was happy about. I returned home for a healthy breakfast (yogurt, mangoes, strawberries, cereal and a cafe mocha)…so back into the healthy routine right away.
What local foods are your favourite? Does your region have any specialties that are a must-eat?