This weekend was the premiere of the first ever Gourmet Experience. I was lucky enough to get a press pass to attend the event and I bought a ticket for my friend, Stacey, to tag along with me for the afternoon. We went on the first day of the expo, which was yesterday. Stacey met me at my house and we headed over to Del Mar Fairgrounds for the event. I knew beforehand how much parking was going to cost us and I wasn’t really thrilled by it – $9 for parking. Damn you, Fairgrounds! In any case, we headed inside to enjoy the afternoon.
One of the first places we lingered by was this booth doing demos with fondant by Ro Z’s Sweet Art Studio. I didn’t actually get a photo of the demo, but I thought it was cool how easy it was to roll it out and use cookie cutters, rubber stamps or other tools to use the fondant. It also came in various flavors – as a cake baker myself, this was totally something I was interested in. Ro Z’s Sweet Art Studio also offers classes at their store in San Marcos, CA.
There was a more than food and drinks at the Gourmet Experience. There was a lot of artwork, fixtures, home furnishings and even one photographer there. One of the home items we saw where these hand made candelabras by Iron Eyez that fit into the tops of wine bottles. Very cool!
Kind Bars – a snack bar made from nuts and fruits, “made from ingredients you can see and pronounce” – was in a couple of places at the expo. At this booth you could try little samples of each bar and if you were over in the “21+ area” they were giving out full size bars. I liked these, especially the nut only ones. I also liked that it was made from real ingredients and not a bunch of crazy processed foods. Jake and I are really trying to cut out a lot of processed foods from our diet. I haven’t actually seen these in the stores yet though so maybe I need to take a closer look.
This is one of the olive oil tasting booths – there were multiples of these around the show. This particular one is from Sutter Buttes Olive Ranch. They had some interesting infused olive oils, such as Meyer Lemon, Thai Chili and Habanero. Stacey liked the habanero and I was too chicken to try it. Me & spicy don’t go well together. But I did like the fruitiness of the Meyer Lemon olive oil and the rosemary olive oil.
This is a little tray of some gourmet sea salts from She Sells Sea Salts. I didn’t actually get to try any of these, too many people crowded around the booth, but they looked awesome. Also a local company.
Pubcakes – beer in cupcakes – was Stacey and I’s favorite thing of the whole day. The little samples they were giving out were called “Beer for Breakfast” cupcakes. They had Alesmith® Wee Heavy beer, bacon, and maple cream cheese frosting – and were SO GOOD. It sort of tasted like eating a pancake cupcake… with maple covered bacon in it. Maybe that sounds weird, but it was really, really tasty. Stacey bought a bunch of these for her co-workers and her boyfriend and she also bought me one. I got the “Irish Car Bomb” (lower right in the photo above) which had Guinness®, Irish Cream frosting, and chocolate whiskey ganache. Could totally taste the whiskey! So exciting!
The Pubcakes ladies also had doggie treat samples from their buddy – Doggie Beer Treats. Doggie Beer Bones are made from the leftover grains in the home brewing process and contain no additives or preservatives. And, Maya really, really liked it:
Maya finishes off that bones – she even licked up those crumbs she made!
Next up, we went to the “21+ Area” to try some drinks with booze in ’em.
Here’s one of the boozy things we had from Mypressi called a “Twistini” – warmed vodka with a medium dark coffee roast, chilled with ice and Bailey’s Irish Cream. Very strong in flavor, but very good. I didn’t actually even really see the demo for their portable espresso maker – I just got the goods.
Our wine samples from the Temecula Valley Wine Grower’s Association. I had the white wine, since I’ve determined I don’t like reds.
There was more booze to be had, but since I’m a lightweight I had to cut myself off early and give the rest of my beer to Stacey, who is the anti-lightweight.
There were also things we tried, such as cheese samples, little samples of BBQ with BBQ sauce, some hummus, and other snacks and foods like gluten free breakfast cereal. All in all, I thought there would be more food to try at the event. There was one place that had actual food samples but the line was really long and then they ran out of food. My only purchase of the day was some really fresh, delicious pesto from Lisko Imports who also sells their foods at the farmer’s market. There was plenty of booze to be had but I had the impression there would be more foods to eat and that we’d leave stuffed… but I guess that just wasn’t the case. Half of the expo was art, artwork and home furnishings and I wasn’t sure how that all fit into the “Gourmet-ness” of the expo. In any case, it was still fun – and man, Stacey and I really dug those Pubcakes!