He played the wealthy, handsome and proud Mr. Darcy in Jane Austin’s timeless classic Pride and Prejudice, and repeated the role in the hilarious modern day version, Bridget Jones’ Diary. So when I saw the advertisement for the film, the King’s Speech, based on the true story of King George VI, I was thrilled to discover that Colin Firth was once again the leading man. Initially, my husband was not quite as exuberant as I, however, as the accolades piled up, his interest grew as well: 12 Academy Award Nominations, 2 Golden Globe Awards, and 7 British Academy wins, including Best Actor for Colin Firth. With such high recommendations from a jury of one’s peers, we thought it worth the high ticket prices and relentless previews to venture out to the multiplex to view this production on the big screen. We were certainly not disappointed. The movie was everything a movie should be: a gripping story, superlative acting, stunning photography and beautiful music. Hopefully my favorite leading man will be posing for the paparazzi on the red carpet very soon with the coveted Oscar in hand.
The NASFT, which is a not-for-profit trade association for the $60 billion food industry, aims to bring great specialty foods to market and to award authenticity and innovation in both the domestic and international markets. The award ceremony is held once a year at the summer Fancy Food Show, and The Specialty Outstanding Food Innovation, or SOFI awards, are handed out in 33 categories of specialty foods and beverages, with Silver Finalists and Gold Winners in every category.
I found quite a number of these superstars while roaming the shelves at Sickles Market the other day. In the cookie category, Tate’s was a 2010 Silver Finalist for their Whole Wheat Dark Chocolate Cookie, a slightly lighter, healthier, but equally scrumptious version of their traditional chocolate chip cookie. Effie’s Homemade hit a double with Gold in the cookie category for oatcakes, made from a 4th generation family recipe, and a Silver win for corncakes, bursting with the flavor of toasted corn and just a hint of anise (cracker category). Harvest Song, an Armenian preserves company, also walked away with dual awards in 2010 for their Fresh Walnuts (confection category) and Wild Black Currant (Jam, Preserve). The currants are not cultivated, but grow wild in the mountains of Armenia and the flavor is intense and exploding with flavor.
The Vermont Butter and Cheese Creamery produced a winner in a jewel of a goat cheese called “Bijou.” This petite creamy aged crottin is delicious in a salad or spread on a rosemary croccantini cracker from la Panzanella. Another excellent goat cheese accompaniment is also one of the hottest gourmet products on the market today: Yuzu marmalade. This amber colored preserve is created from a South Asian citrus fruit, the yuzu. It has a taste reminiscent of grapefruit, lime and fresh pine and it takes 30-35 fruits to make one jar of this delectable marmalade. This SOFI Silver finalist is truly unique and irresistible. We have a sample in the cheese department and I am trying not to eat the entire jar myself!
This relatively new award is presented to outstanding American food producers and farmers who create exceptionally delicious food, and in addition, support sustainability and the social good. Food communities from each of the five regions of the US are awarded in seven specific categories: Beer, Charcuterie, Cheese, Chocolate, Coffee, Pickles and Preserves. The stories of each of the winners are published at goodfoodawards.org and are a fascinating and inspiring read.
I found quite a range of Good Food Award recipients in just our cheese department alone: New Jersey’s Alexian Duck Mousse with Cognac Pate, La Quercia Prosciutto, Cabot Clothbound Cheddar, Cowgirl Creamery Red Hawk, Point Reyes Farmstead Blue, and Uplands Cheese Pleasant Ridge Reserve, to name a few. Also, as a special treat, this Saturday, February 26 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Nicasio Valley Cheese Co. will be visiting Sickles Market and offering tastings of several of their organic farmstead cheeses, including their Good Food Award winning Nicasio Square.
So keep your eye out for SOFI and Good Food Award signs as you shop. I think you’ll find that these special products are the superstars of the culinary world, and, just like my much acclaimed movie, you won’t be disappointed!
Cheri the Cheesemonger