Monday, October 26, 2009

Eat, Drink & Be Fair, Part I

The crowd of eager foodies gather at Artists For Humanity in South Boston for the EAT, DRINK & BE FAIR event sponsored by Green Mountain Coffee.

October is not just about Halloween. It's also Fair Trade Month. I am a big believer in Fair Trade, which basically offers farmers, usually in smaller, underdeveloped countries in South America and in Mexico a fair price for their harvest, allowing them to earn a living wage for the first time in their lives. It helps provide a source of ingredients from smaller, family-owned farms resulting in a quality level that makes a world of difference for everyone, quite literally. It is the opposite of industrialized, manufactured food where corporations would rather buy up the small farms and add them to their acres of agribusiness so, as you can imagine, I am all for anything that promotes Fair Trade.

So, we were invited to the Eat, Drink & Be Fair event sponsored by Green Mountain Coffee. The event was held at the Artists for Humanity Center in South Boston, a wonderful organization in itself, and it was my first visit to this venue, a great choice for the event. We basically had tastings of all kinds of foods made with Fair Trade ingredients. Then, there was a cook-off championship by four local chefs, again all using Fair Trade ingredients. Here are some photos and descriptions of the tastings we enjoyed. It Part II we'll cover the competition and then for Part III see if we can't get the winning recipe for all our readers.

Serving at the mahi mahi station.

Fair trade mahi mahi tasting.

Slow poached sustainable mahi mahi in a white wine court bullion, chilled and garnished. Served with cold preserve chutney, horseradish (Vermont Butter Company) sour cream and local cranberry and apple compote.

Mounds of delicious rotini.

Tri-color rotini tossed with fresh organic tomatoes, capers, Vermont feta cheese, fair trade black olives and local fresh basil with a pinot noir red wine sauce.

Carving away at the tenderloin station.

A taste of tenderloin.

Roasted tenderloin of beef with Green Mountain Fair Trade Coffee demi glace, simply whipped Gary's Farm sweet potato.

A plate of haddock hors d'oeuvres.

Passed hors d'oeuvres included:

Gary's Farm Butternut Squash Risotto Arancini

Harvard Orchard Apple Stuffed Vermont Brie

Fair Trade Brined Free Range Chicken Sate with Preserved Local Peach Chutney

Fair Trade Pecan Crusted Local Haddock Dijon with Pecan and Crystal's Honey & Mustard

Atlantic Line Caught Yellow Fin Tuna Tartar on a Naan Bread Chip

As you can see, fair trade and sustainable foods can be quite sophisticated. Good for us, a creative opportunity for chefs and great for the farmers.

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