Good as Gold
Oregon artisans earn seal of approval
The Good Food Awards celebrate the kind of food we all want to eat: exceptionally delicious that also supports sustainability and social good. Through a panel of blind tasters evaluating 2,059 entries, a total of 211 products — representing 38 states — were chosen. The 193 companies offered their winning wares at a marketplace and attended a star-studded award ceremony featuring chef/activist Alice Waters and organics pioneer Nell Newman at San Francisco’s Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture on Jan. 20. The following GFA winners hail from Oregon. For a list of all winners, visit www.goodfoodawards.org.
1. The Chocolate Maker’s Studio Fennel Pollen Caramel Bar
Portlander Steve Lawrence likes to play with his food. Lucky for him his experimentation is seriously paying off. The Chocolate Maker’s Studio’s Fennel Pollen Caramel bar is an imaginative blend of two types of chocolate — both of Venezuelan origin with a cacao content of nearly 70 percent — covering a dark caramel center infused with fennel pollen, an extremely aromatic and flavorful addition.
Wine Pairing: Zinfandel
2. Alma Handmade Chocolates Pistachio Toffee
Many consider Portland-based Alma Chocolate to be the darling of the city’s craft confectioners, and it continues this sweet reputation with a 2017 GFA for its Chocolate Pistachio Toffee, one of the company’s original products. Owner Sarah Hart sets salty green pistachios in butter toffee and tops with a layer of bittersweet 74-percent (cacao) dark chocolate that’s not only organic but also sourced from a single estate.
Wine Pairing: Chardonnay
3. Old Blue Bigleaf Maple and Wild Blackberry Raw Honey
From his home base of Philomath, migratory beekeeper Henry Storch has been cultivating honey since 2006. He moves his hives to different apiaries, including an almond orchard in the Sacramento Valley during winter, but most of the time, Old Blue’s feral colonies cultivate nectar in the Willamette Valley and Oregon Coast. GFA judges thought Bigleaf Maple (captured in Philomath) and Wild Blackberry (Oregon coast) honeys were simply the bee’s knees.
Wine Pairing: Riesling
4. Jem Organics Cinnamon Maca Almond Butter
Bend-based Jem Organics handcrafts sprouted nut butters in small batches using a stone-grinding process that produces rich flavor, smooth texture and high nutritional content. Founders Nik Rueth, Jen Moore and Tim Moore are passionate about quality, certified-organic ingredients as seen in their 2017 GFA winner showcasing Red Maca, a root vegetable native to the high Andes of Bolivia and Peru; it’s believed to increase stamina, boost libido and combat fatigue.
Wine Pairing: Nebbiolo
5. Olympia Provisions Landrauchschinkin
A first-generation Greek-American, Elias Cairo founded Oregon’s first USDA-approved salumeria in 2009, Olympic Provisions — now named Olympia Provisions. Since then, the Portland success story has won numerous awards, including a 2017 GFA for its Landrauchschinkin, a “Swiss Country Smoked Ham” made by curing pork loins for 18 days, followed by a soak in burnt sugar, an addition of juniper and rosemary for flavor, and a smoking over apple and hickory wood.
Wine Pairing: Pinot Noir
6. Briar Rose Creamery Classic Chèvre
No stranger to the GFAs — also a winner in 2013 — Briar Rose Creamery Classic Chèvre is owner Sarah Marcus’ popular flagship. Smooth and rich with notes of fresh alfalfa, sesame seeds and vanilla, the goat milk cheese offers a hint of fresh citrus on the finish. Made in Dundee, in the middle of wine country, this cheese has become a staple in many a winemaker’s pantry.
Wine Pairing: Pinot Gris
7. Batch PDX Ghost Pepper Truffles and Candy Cap Mushroom Truffles
Owner Jeremy Karp takes flavors to the next level with his two winning truffles: Ghost Pepper and Candy Cap Mushroom. Covered in white chocolate, the former’s kick results from the rich, dark chocolate ganache infused with homegrown red nagas, aka ghost peppers. The latter contains only four ingredients: chocolate, cream, butter and dried candy cap mushrooms. The result’s an amazing caramel/maple syrup/chocolate flavor that’s earthy and oh, so decadent.
Wine Pairing (Mushroom): Pinot Noir
Wine Pairing (Ghost Pepper): Syrah
8. Bunches & Bunches Smoked Oaxacan Mole Sauce
Transport yourself to the heart of Southwestern Mexico with Bunches & Bunches’ GFA winner, Smoked: Oaxacan Mole Sauce. Owner Tamalpais “Pai” Star Roth-McCormick simmers smoked Oaxacan chiles with other chiles, plus tomatoes, onions, garlic and spices for hours then finishes it with fresh lime and cilantro. Handmade in her Portland kitchen, the mole can be used with your favorite meat or to spice up any meal.
Wine Pairing: Merlot
More Oregon Good Food Award Winners
Full Sail Brewing Company, Hop Pursuit IPA, Hood River
Rogue Ales & Spirits, Pumpkin Patch Ale, Newport
Tails and Trotters, Prosciutto Pacifico, Portland
Creo Chocolate, Minty Dark 73%, Portland
Choi’s Kimchi Co., Radish Kimchi, Portland
Bon Appetit Management Group, Hardwood-Smoked Salmon, Portland
Mt. Hope Farms, Raspberry-Marionberry Fruit Spread, Molalla
Martin Ryan Distilling, Aria Portland Dry Gin, Portland
RAFT, Citrus Rosemary Syrup & Essentials Vanilla Syrup, Portland
Rogue Ales & Spirits, Single Malt Whiskey, Newport
Vivacity Spirits, Turkish Coffee Liqueur, Corvallis
Noble Coffee Roasting, Ethiopian Adisu Kidane & Ethiopian Shilcho, Ashland