Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Experiencing Boston's local flavors on the Greenway

 This Sunday marked the third annual Boston Local Food Festival. I always look forward to this opportunity to be surrounded by delicious, local food from enthusiastic farmers and producers.  My anticipation this year had increased ten-fold because I was on their 2012 blogging team, busy promoting the various vendors and purveyors I so looked forward to meeting.
Due to the success and high turnout from the event last year, this time around, it was moved to the Greenway.  I am very glad it was; the mile long parkway separating the financial district from the Seaport was a perfect place for the numerous vendors, chef demos and live music venues.

We were lucky with the weather, having been dealt a beautiful fall day, even though it was a bit nippy.  Laura Weinstein from Cookie Lady Treats must have checked the weather beforehand and had come prepared with perhaps the best hot chocolate I have ever tasted....and yes, that includes L.A. Burdick's! (Gasp!) 
It was rich and decadent, but not too thick or sweet and best of all? It came topped with a homemade marshmallow, which melted into a delightful layer of thick, gooey sugar:) 

Hot chocolate in hand, my friend and I strolled leisurely around, tasting samples of this and that and catching snippets from some of Boston's most acclaimed chefs at their demo stations.  Jason Bond from Bondir was busy demonstrating the proper techniques of carving up big, complicated cuts of mutton meat. He somehow made it look so easy! 

It was also a pleasure bumping into Josh Lewin, head chef at Beacon Hill Bistro.  He had prepared a tasty parsnip soup with apple crumble and tiny tart berries.  It is so nice to see such enthusiasm and dedication to the local food movement.  Chef Lewin did a demo on foraging:)
All this strolling, tasting and chatting made us tired and we needed a caffeine boost...ok, well maybe this was not entirely the case, but after passing by Barismo and their single cup, pour-over was impossible to resist.  
The process is so detailed and precise making the finished product well worth the wait - dark, strong and somehow, not bitter. I admit, I ruined mine by adding too much cream...oh the sacrilege!

As usual, bakeries from outside of Boston make an appearance and I am always excited to see what Sofra Bakery has in store for us.  This year, we had apple butter biscuits and butternut squash tarts among other house-made delicacies.  Two of these also made it onto my itinerary:)
By around 2:30, the good weather had started to drizzle away and rain drops were becoming more and more frequent.  Seeing as my friend and I had only really been tasting and nibbling (sort of), we decided to take advantage of our proximity to Pasta Beach - reputed for having some of the best pasta in Boston.
With a reputation like that, we had to order a few different pasta dishes...just to be sure. We went for their Tagliatelle with duck and vegetable ragout (above), their Carbonara and their spaghetti with clams, olive oil, chili flakes and parsley.  The latter ended up being our favorite, as the first was a bit underwhelming sauce wise and the Carbonara lacked crispy bacon....but to be fair, the pasta itself was quite splendid.
All in all, it ended up being a perfect October Sunday, from the smell of autumn in the air to the crowd of people out enjoying both the city and the local food community. It is no wonder I get so excited for these festivals....they are far too few and far between!
Until next year?

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