Sunday, March 6, 2011

Wine + Food

Friday was a crazy day at school during my Petit Fours class. The Charleston Wine + Food Festival was in town from Thursday-Sunday March 3-6. My school, the Culinary Institute of Charleston, was one of the event sponsors so different events were held at the school. This was great because we had a small chance to be involved.

During my Friday class, we were asked to provide some products for Food + Wine attendees. For one event, we were asked to make chocolate chip cookies and chocolate mousse. I didn't have a lot to do with the production of these, but I did help in the plating of the chocolate mousse. Here's what that product looked like:

I had the pleasure of making pizzelles, flavored with tarragon, which were used as a garnish for a Chef's chicken and waffles dish. This may sound random, particularly to those of you who like me view pizzelles as a dessert flavored with anise. Well, tarragon has similar tones to anise and for this application, the use of the herbs made a great deal of sense. None of the other students in my class had previously made pizzelles; some hadn't heard of them. I gladly volunteered for the task.

I spent about two hours using the pizzelle iron to make these, and a classmate helped cut them in half after coming off of the iron. These come off of the iron extremely hot, so again I was experiencing pain to my predominate fingers and my thumbs. It was worth it though, and I'm sure my grandmothers would be proud of my pizzelle making skills.

After a short break, I headed back to campus for another Wine + Food event. Chef Alexander had been asked to create a plated dessert for one of the events, so I was lucky to be involved. A few students and I helped Chef plate 55 desserts as shown here:

On the bottom is a smear of caramel flavored with nutmeg. There's a circle of toasted coconut. The cake is roasted pineapple with polenta. There's a ginger and vanilla bean ice cream and a line of goat cheese filling. The garnishes are diced pineapples, cilantro, and pineapple.

I signed up on Saturday and Sunday as a volunteer through the Food + Wine organization, so I got to help out at a tasting event and in a ticketing booth. All in all, I had a great three days helping out with Wine + Food and experiencing the festival from different points of view. I even had some time after volunteering to be a guest, and got to sample the great foods and wines highlighted in the grand tasting tents. So that's a wrap on another great culinary weekend.

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