The Gourmet Experience Preview

This coming weekend the Gourmet Experience will be making it’s debut at the Del Mar Fairgrounds. It’s an event that will showcase various gourmet foods and drinks for purchase and sampling, cooking demos, products demos and more. Last Wednesday I was invited by Fast Forward Events to come out to Fixtures Living’s showroom for a small preview event to give a taste of what could be expected at the upcoming Gourmet Experience. Check out the photos below!

The first “station” I went to was for a company called Sip Smoke Savor. This tasting involved chocolate and scotch pairings. You drink a little scotch, eat a little chocolate, and let the scotch bring out the flavors of the chocolate. There were three different scotchs to sample, plus about 5 different chocolates, each paired with a different scotch. This was a really tasty way to start the evening. My favorite combo was the first one I tried with Bunnahabhain (a 12 year old Islay scotch) and 2 different kinds of bonbons.

Next I swung by this station: Nature’s Agave. They let me sample each one of their Nature’s Agave products: Clear, Amber and Raw. These premium nectar’s are a natural sweetener which are kosher and naturally gluten-free. All of the samples I tried were sweet, but not overpowering. They also gave out recipe cards for suggestions on how to use their products ~ they told me many people like to use the agave as a replacement for sugar in teas, coffees, on top of pancakes, and more. If you use something like this for baking (or another recipe), you’d use less than the regular amount of sugar as well. I’d be interested in trying to use this for cakes, muffins or other desserts! Also, Nature’s Agave is a local company in Encintas, CA!

Gluten Free Spices Latte Mini Cupcakes from Sweet Cheeks Baking Company. Really good! Another local company in San Diego, CA.

ONEHOPE Wine is a really unique business – they have 6 different types of wines (only 5 of them were here at the preview event) and 50% of the profit for each wine goes to a certain charity or benefit. They have a Chardonnay which supports Breast Cancer, a Merlot that supports AIDS Awareness, a Cabernet Sauvignon supporting Autism, a Sauvignon Blanc in support of the Enviroment and a Zinfandel in support of Our Troops. The one wine not featured here was a Pinot Noir, which supports Children’s Hospitals. It was refreshing to see a business that is so involved in giving back! I tried a couple, but since I haven’t really ever acquired the taste for wine I really couldn’t tell you much about their flavors and tastes. The one I tried and liked was the Sauvignon Blanc.

After having a little wine, I made a beeline for the cheese samples provided by Fixtures Living.

They had chocolate dipped gooseberries that looked like little flowers (!) as well as a large variety of veggies and dip.

And more cheese. Yesssss. More cheese is good.

This station has some really fresh and lovely bruschetta made from ChileCo Catering. The lady prepping these lovelies told me that the tomatoes were picked just yesterday – and you could really taste the difference. Really fresh flavors!

Ergo Chef was also on hand to demo their specialty kitchen knives. The knife up there on the right is from Guy Fieri’s collection. I picked it up and held it – very weighted and balanced, I liked how it felt in my hand. I want one. I also like the “prong” on the end. Good for stabbing, er, picking up stuff with your knife.

OMG, tequila samples. I had to pass. I did have to drive myself home.

These were on the floor – a pink fridge! It amused me for some reason.

Chef Bernard Guillas from The Marine Room was also on hand to sign copies of his newest cookbook, Flying Pans. He also brought food!

A Kahlua Chocolate Tart.

The slices had these grapes on top… I don’t remember what he called them… but they were filled with wine. Holy crap. The tart was very rich – loved the tart pastry crust. Delicious.

I was nearing the door to make my leave when a server had a tray with these cute little boatfuls of food – this in particular was Elk and Mushrooms (with some other veggies). I had to look this up on my little guide/map – all I remember were the delicious mushrooms. I love mushrooms so much. I even put them in a stir fry I made the other night for Jake & son, both of whom say they don’t like mushrooms. I didn’t care. I missed having mushrooms in my dishes. Jake ate them anyway.

If you’re interested in going to the Gourmet Experience after this little preview event, here’s a little extra information for you. They have a schedule of who will be presenting at the Gourmet Expo on Saturday and Sunday. The schedule includes cooking demos, mixology lessons and instruction in cake decorating. Check it out!

The Gourmet Experience takes place this weekend on October 9th-10th at the Del Mar Fairgrounds. Buy tickets on their website and be sure to use a code floating around to get a discount (FB10 will get you $10 off your ticket!).

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