Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Tomato Festival!

On Sunday, I attended Big White Barn Produce's Tomato Festival. I estimate that there were about 400 people at the event and everyone had a fantastic day. I don't think I have ever eaten so many tomatoes in my life; but what a DELICIOUS journey! My cousin, my aunt and I had the opportunity to sample over 40 varieties of heirloom tomatoes, wines from top VA and MD wineries, cheese, olive oil imported from Greece and other delicious gourmet items.

Anita and Steve did such a great job with hosting this event! They are planning a pumpkin festival in the fall. You'll be among the first to know the details.

Tasting tables with over 40 varieties of heirloom tomatoes were a highlight of the event. Each one was so perfect and delicious; my favorite was a zebra stripe tomato. The best chefs in the area tempted guests with their unique and delicious creations using different varieties of tomatoes from Big White Barn Produce.

Chef Bryan Voltaggio from Volt Restaurant was incredibly popular with attendees. Luckily, I got in the line fairly early in the afternoon and didn't have to wait long to sample his incredible creation. Don't you love the bobblehead of Bryan??

The process for making Volt's tomato treat was incredible to watch. The four chefs looked like equal parts artist, scientist, and master chef while preparing the unique creation. Dippin Dots ice cream was made on the spot with gazpacho and fennel puree. Laughing Bird Farms shrimp ceviche added another layer of flavor to the Big White Barn Produce's heirloom tomatoes. This was served with a coriander seed craker with micro fennel. To top it off, Bryan was spinning cotton candy that was sprinkled with dehydrated tomato and sea salt. The explosion of flavors and different layers of taste was unlike anything I have ever experienced.

Simply beyond words incredible!

The heirloom tomato popsicles from Cafe Nora were one of the minnies' favorites! This DC restaurant offers Organic American Cuisine. I've now added it to my list of places to try.

Another favorite of mine was from Chef R.J. Cooper who is known for his experiments at Vidalia. His restaurant Rogue 24, is scheduled to open in 2011 and I hope to be among the first to try this multi-course tasting menu experience. If the treat I sampled is any indication of the quality of food that will be offered at Rogue 24, this restaurant is going to be a huge success.

This modern day interpretation of a bruschetta starts with a stick dipped in balsamic vinaigrette. Tomato tartare and tomato gelee form some of the first layers to this treat. Carefully slivered parmesan cheese along with basil and olive oil powder add further layers of flavor. But perhaps the most unique part of this creation are the pop rocks candy that top the bruschetta. Such an amazing taste sensation.

Truly a treat for the eyes and mouth!

Firestone's is another one of my favorite restaurants. Chef Jack Walker served delicious gazpacho that was incredibly smooth and light. I'm a HUGE gazpacho snob and have had some of the best and this was top notch. The texture was perfect and the hint of cucumber was so delicious on a hot summer day. Another one of the minnies' favorites was the watermelon and tomato served with feta cheese. They actually ate two portions of this, they liked it so much!

Anita and Steve did a fabulous job of making this event family friendly! The minnies and their cousin Brennan were thrilled with all of the kids activities. Here the girls are visiting the goats. They spent so much time with the goats, on a hayride, and playing on the moonbounce. Of course, the snowcones, popcorn, and other treats were also a big hit. Natalia especially loved the fresh roasted ears of corn.

Thanks to the chefs and my dear friends Anita and Steve who made this event so special!



  1. I love festivals like these. So much fun.

  2. Looks like a great event for everyone!

  3. Oh my goodness, did you have the best time ever or what?!!? Bryan's dish looks incredible, my sister (Theresa) has been telling me all about the different ways Bryan uses liquid nitrogen to make the "dippin dots" from various liquids...isn't he so creative! Theresa said right now the wait for the 21-course chef's table is nine months...we have to get on it ASAP! She starts this Friday, I am so excited, we might try to make it down for Labor Day weekend - I will let you know!! :)

    xoxox Hugs to you and the minnies!



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