I attended quite the exciting event last weekend (October 24-25, 2015). It was the tenth year of MetroCooking DC, hosted by E.J. Krause & Associates, Inc! MetroCooking DC is a two day cooking and entertaining show held at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, DC. This huge foodie event has something for everyone from celebrity and James Beard award winning chefs to cooking lessons, tastings from local restaurants, demonstrations, vendors, book signings, and so much more. I had such a great time last year (MetroCooking DC Part 1 and Part 2), and this time definitely did not disappoint.
Giada de Laurentiis was the featured Celebrity Chef on Saturday. She held two demonstrations, a VIP meet and greet, and a book signing for Giada’s Feel Good Food: My Healthy Recipes and Secrets. I attended the 11 am demonstration where she guided participants in making Lamb Ossobuco and Tomato Sauce. While the guests were preparing the ingredients, she talked with the audience and answered questions such as her favorite cuisine other than Italian (Japanese) and plans for future shows.
Christina Tosi (Springfield Virginia native and owner of Milk Bar/judge on MasterChef) and Peter Meehan (former writer for the New York Times, cookbook co-author, co-editor of Lucky Peach) did a question and answer session about Tosi’s newest cookbook, Milk Bar Life: Recipes & Stories. They included background information, how the idea for the book came about, and how it is geared more for home cooks.
This year was the debut of the BBQ Bash highlighting some of the best BBQ and grilling restaurants in the area. There were also demonstrations and a book signing for Grill Nation: 200 Surefire Recipes, Tips, and Techniques to Grill Like a Pro by Chef David Guas, owner of Bayou Bakery and host of the Travel Channel’s Grilled. Here is a sample of some of the restaurants in attendance:
Old Glory (Washington DC)– BBQ Chicken Wings
Smokers Delight BBQ and Catering (La Plata, Maryland)– Pork and Chicken
She Peppers (Alexandria, Virginia)– Chipotle Bourbon BBQ Sauce and Apricot BBQ Sauce
Hot Wings On The Run (Woodbridge, Virginia)– BJ’s Smoked Honey Barbecue Sauce
Picky Vicki Gourmet Barbecue Sauces and Rubs (Bel Air, Maryland)– Sauces with BBQ Pork
Bayou Bakery (Arlington, Virginia and Washington DC)– Smoked Pork Tenderloin with Sweet & Spicy Guava BBQ Sauce
Pickett’s American Craft Ginger Beer (Brooklyn, New York and Denver, Colorado): Also available online and select retailers– Ginger Beer Syrup
RG’s BBQ Cafe (Laurel, Maryland)– Ribs with an Orange Sweet Chili Glaze
Hill Country Barbecue (Washington DC)– Brisket (Moist or Lean Options) with If You Gotta Have It Barbecue Sauce
Smokehouse Live (Leesburg, VA)– Brisket and Route 7 Mac ‘n Cheese (Seven varieties of cheese!)
Tessemae’s All Natural Matty’s BBQ Sauce (Essex, Maryland)
Smoke & Barrel (Washington DC)-BBQ Pork
Southern Belles BBQ– Original Belle, Spicy Hickory Smoke, Pineapple Twang, Ms. Mango, Blueberry Blues, Southern Heat, and Hot N Sassy Peach
In case you didn’t have enough to keep occupied, the center of the hall was filled with hundreds of specialty food vendors to explore. The businesses ranged from artisan products to chocolates, desserts, olive oils, candy, ice cream, cookbooks, and so much more. Here are some of the vendors I visited on Saturday:
I was first introduced to Pericles Konstas of Spartan Oil at MetroCooking DC last year. His olive oil is produced from the family’s ancient olive trees in Sparta, Greece that are harvested by hand, pressed mechanically within 24 hours of harvest, and is not filtered. The olive oil is stored in all natural stoneware bottles that help keep the oil at a consistent temperature, are non-reactive, and prevent light transmission. I featured the olive oil in my Feta with Oregano and Olive Oil recipe. Also, check back mid-January for even more recipes featuring Spartan Oil. You can buy their products online and at these locations.
Dolce Kitchen, located in Frederick, Maryland, was founded in 2013. This family-run business features authentic, all natural desserts from around the world: Alfajor (South American Shortbread Cookies filled with Dulce de Leche), Baklava, Flan, Rizogalo (Greek Rice Pudding), Tres Leches Shots, Tiramisu Shots, Choco Tarts, Key Lime Tarts, and Vegan Nut ‘N Honey Cookies. They also offer catering and a variety of cakes, flan, tarts, and more. I took home a box of the Alfajores. My plan was to have just one as a snack before bed, but all four were gone shortly after. The shortbread cookies filled with dulce de leche and dusted with a layer of powdered sugar were quite addictive. You can find their products at various Whole Foods, Common Market, Grosvenor Market, and Dawson’s Market. Starting in November, their products will be available in Harris Teeter and Wegmans. You can also find Dolce Kitchen on Facebook.
Cakelee Sweets is a dessert company based in Hyattsville, Maryland. Their booth was filled with beautiful cakes and cookies. I took home a bag of the chocolate chip cookies and they barely lasted two days. At the time of this writing, their website was down for maintenance so I was unable to get much background information. Check out their Facebook page to keep up to date.
Neuhaus was founded in 1857 by Swiss immigrant Jean Neuhaus. He opened a pharmacy in Brussels and covered the prepared medicines in chocolate to make them easier to take. In 1912, his grandson created praline (chocolates filled with cream instead of medicine) and the business has continued to grow and sell chocolates in over 50 countries. Neuhaus has also been the official supplier to the Belgian Royal Court since 2000. All the chocolate is manufactured in Vlezenbeek, Belgium and shipped worldwide. Neuhaus has a store in Union Station and other locations around the United States. Don’t have a Neuhaus supplier nearby? You can also visit their online store.
Kitchen Table Bakers is a family-based company founded by Barry Novick as a second career. He was inspired by his mom, a home cook who taught him to use the highest quality ingredients available. In 2003, his family created a small batch of All Parmesan Gourmet Wafer Crisps. This grew to larger batches, calls from grocery stores, and more. Their products are: “Wheat Free, Gluten Free, Trans Fat Free, Sugar Free, Rich in Calcium and Protein, Naturally Low in Calories and Carbs.” The Parmesan Crisps now come in these flavors: Aged Parmesan, Sesame, Rosemary, Flax Seed, Garlic, Italian Herb, Jalapeño, Everything, Chia Seed, Caraway Seed, Basil Pesto, and Mini. The company is based in Syosset, New York and you can find their products at these locations.
Bazaar Spices is a D.C. based company offering an assortment of spices, botanicals, herbs, rice, flours, and lentils from around the world. You can find their spices and products in their shop in Washington D.C. or through their website. Free shipping is available on orders over 25 dollars. You can also check out their blog, Spicy DC.
Süss is a gourmet caramel company founded by Tammy Fahey in 2010. The handmade, all natural caramels are available in the following flavors: original vanilla, sea salt, vanilla caramel with pecans, bourbon with sea salt, pumpkin caramel with sea salt, cinnamon apple, gingerbread, cappuccino, and maple pecan. Süss caramels are available at these locations. You can also find more information on their Facebook page.
Dress It Up Dressing was created by Sophia, previously a filmmaker turned stay at home mom, and is based in Bethesda, Maryland. The idea was inspired by her brother declaring that their mother’s dressing was good enough to sell. The vinaigrette base of olive oil, vinegar, garlic, and mustard is available in the following flavors: Apple Cider, Blackberry, Champagne, and Red Wine. You can buy the dressing online or at these retailers. More information is available on their Facebook page.
Salts of the 7 Seas is a gourmet salt company featuring whole mineral, all natural sea salts. They also have a Salt of the Month Club and Gift Packages available. You can purchase products here and see their Facebook page for more information.
Theo was founded by Joe Whinney as a way to make organic chocolate from the purest ingredients grown in the most sustainable ways. All the products are organic, fair trade, and fair for life. The factory store is located in Seattle, Washington and offers tours 7 days a week, chocolate classes, and special events. Can’t make it to their factory for a tour? Here is a step by step guide of the bean to bar process. You can buy their chocolate bars, confections, caramels, specialty products, gift collections, and merchandise online.
She Peppers, started by Stephanie and Vickie, began as a love for gardening. This grew into a passion for making sauces and seasoning blends with the best possible ingredients. 75 percent of the ingredients used are actually grown in their backyard. You can find the sauces, seasoning blends, and more products online and at the SW DC Waterfront Farmer’s Market and the 4 Mile Run Farmer’s Market in Alexandria, Virginia (check out their Facebook page).
SPAGnVOLA Chocolatier is a gourmet chocolate company based in Maryland. The chocolate is created from cocoa beans grown on their farm located on the mountain slopes of eastern Dominican Republic. There is a boutique and factory in Gaithersburg and another boutique in Oxon Hill. You can also buy their products online. Free shipping is available on all orders over 50 dollars. For locals wanting an extra chocolate experience, they have factory tours and chocolate making classes available.
Purely Elizabeth was founded by owner, Elizabeth Stein, as a part of a dream to start a natural foods company. The first product line was created in 2009 and first landed on store shelves in January 2010. You can purchase the ancient grain muesli, ancient grain granola and puffs cereal, ancient grain granola, ancient grain oatmeal and hot cereal, cookie mixes, grab and go single serve, merchandise, gift samplers, and the Eating Purely cookbook online or in select retailers nationwide. Free shipping is available on orders over 40 dollars. Here is the Facebook page.
Belgioioso was founded by Errico Auricchio in 1979 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The cheese is produced using the freshest available milk with the cheese plants are located within 30 miles of the dairy farmers. The company work with farmers that pledge to not use rBST or antibiotics. All of the cheeses are naturally gluten-free and a few types are vegetarian due to the use of a non-animal enzymes. Some are also kosher certified. Check out the full listing of cheese products here.
SuperSeedz is a company specializing in gourmet pumpkin seeds. It was founded by Kathie Pelliccio when she would make batches of seasoned pumpkin seeds in her kitchen. She was soon joined by her husband, Joe Pelliccio. Available flavors include: Sea Salt, Somewhat Spicy, Cinnamon and Sugar, Coco Joe, Tomato Italiano, Super Spicy, Curious Curry, Really Naked, and Maple Sugar and Sea Salt. You can buy SuperSeedz online or in select retailers. You can also keep up with them on their Facebook page.
Explore Asian features gluten-free pasta options. The founder, Joe, got the idea when he came across soybean noodles while traveling in Asia. All of the products are vegan, organic, gluten-free, and kosher. They also have 20-25 grams of protein, are low in carbs, and high in fiber. Flavors include black bean spaghetti, edamame fettuccine and spaghetti, soybean spaghetti, adzuki bean spaghetti, edamame and mung bean fettuccine, brown rice noodles, red rice noodles, and soybean noodle soups. You can find the pasta online or at select retailers. Check out their Facebook page for new products and offers.
Jonathan’s Spoons was also present with a beautiful assortment of handcrafted wooden spoons and other kitchen tools. The owner, Jonathan, got the idea for the business while he was working as an apprentice to a furniture maker. He forgot a spoon in his lunchbox and shaped one out of a piece of scrap wood. He moved to Pennsylvania in 1979 and began selling his spoons. After trying an assortment of woods, he now makes his spoons out of cherry wood with a natural cherry finish. His products are made in his rural Kempton, Pennsylvania shop with two of his brothers. You can find his spoons online or in select stores.
Daregal Gourmet offers basil, cilantro, parsley, red chili, dill, ginger, and garlic in fresh frozen form. The herbs are frozen within 3 hours of harvesting. They remain fresh for up to 36 months. Fresh frozen herbs would definitely be beneficial during the winter months when my garden is frozen over. You can buy Daregal Gourmet products at these locations or online. Here is their Facebook page.
The Olio Tasting Room has locations in Alexandria and Middleburg, Virginia. Products include infused oils, vinegars, teas, finishing sea salts, spices, gourmet items, accessories, and gift ideas. Not nearby? Their products are available online and free shipping is available on purchases over 75 dollars. Keep up with them on Facebook.
Shawnee Springs is the home of the Shawnee Canning Company. They have a market in Cross Junction, Virginia and an online store. Products include pies, jams, jellies, apple cider, cherry apple cider, salsa, canned peaches, pickles, dressings, seasonal produce, and gift ideas. Keep in mind that they do not accept returns. Shawnee Springs Market also has a Facebook page.
Soulfully Sweet was created to provide gourmet baked goods that are healthier, but also taste good. The products are made with mostly organic ingredients, have no wheat or soy (minus a small amount used in organic chocolate chips- soy lecithin), and are gluten free, non-GMO. Current offerings include Chocolate Chip Overload Cookies, Peanut Butter Cookies with a Peanut Avalanche, Oatmeal Cookies with Pistachio and Cranberry Chunks and Orange Essence, Double Chocolate Cookies for Chocoholics, Oatmeal Cookies with Cherries and Chocolate Chips, Chocolate Chip with Toasted Pecan Cookies, and Oatmeal Raisin Cookies with Toasted Walnuts. The cookies can be purchased online here. Keep up to date with their Facebook page.
In addition to the BBQ Bash, Tessemae’s also had a booth among the vendors. The CEO, Greg, is the oldest of three brothers and used his mom Tesse’s salad dressing as inspiration. In 2009, he sold 60 cases of the dressing to the Annapolis Whole Foods. The company’s product line now includes Balsamic, Classic Caesar, Classic French, Classic Italian, Cracked Pepper, Green Goddess, Lemonette, Lemon Chesapeake, Lemon Garlic, Ranch, Southwest Ranch, Soy Ginger, Zesty Ranch, BBQ Sauce, Chesapeake Mayo, Dijon Mustard, Honey Mustard, Hot Buffalo Sauce, Ketchup, Mayonnaise, Mild Buffalo Sauce, Teriyaki, Yellow Mustard, Slow Roasted Garlic Spread, and Gift Packages. Instead of refined sugars, homemade date puree is used to sweeten the products. They are based in Essex, Maryland and you can also find their products online and in select stores.
True Syrups & Garnishes was founded in 2014 in a small kitchen in Washington, DC. The company has now grown to Mess Hall, a food incubator space in Northeast DC, but still makes high-quality, small batch mixers for specialty cocktails. Current products include the Tonic Syrup (made from cane sugar and cinchona bark) and the Grenadine Syrup (made from two different types of pomegranate juice and cane sugar). You can find True Syrups & Garnishes at these locations and keep up to date on their Facebook page.
Part 2 will be posted later this week. Mark your calendars to attend MetroCooking DC next year- December 3-4, 2016 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, DC!