Monthly Archive for October, 2012

In Case You Missed It…A Recap of Our Fabulous Weekend!

The 2012 Sun Valley Harvest Festival, sponsored by Lyle Pearson Company of Boise, was a success before it began. Excitement was burgeoning in town for what has become Sun Valley’s signature food and wine festival; one that had completely sold out of two of its signature events (the kick-off Restaurant Walk and the swanky Martini and Caviar party). “We’re thrilled about our ticket sales…but…I want everyone to come! We’ll definitely be expanding next year,” says Heidi Ottley, co-owner of the Harvest Festival along with partner Ed Sinnott. The two started the Sun Valley Harvest Festival with the dream of making the Sun Valley area a destination for those seeking a weekend of epicurean indulgence. And, in its third year, it’s been appropriately nicknamed “Foodie Heaven.”

The positive vibes from the great turnout were tangible (or, should I say, palatable?) on Friday evening. Guests lined up and strategized for getting the most out of their Restaurant Walk experience; perhaps a necessity when trying to hit up 19 locations in two hours leaving about six minutes per restaurant for the only most dedicated. Boise Weekly writer Brian Furber described the event as similar to “trying to see all of Southeast Asia in a month or Europe in a week—a fool’s errand, but the opportunity to dine and dash is hard to resist since the smorgasbord is prepay ($35) and comes without repercussions.” Despite the instinct to rush in order to experience everything, some strolled aimlessly through the streets with old friends, met new ones along the way, and enjoyed the offerings of our creative local chefs. Some restaurants served their signature dishes like Dashi’s caramelized ribs with anise and B.’s Thai-style poke on a crisp wonton. Others stepped out of character for the evening, like Scott Mason at Ketchum Grill, who fired up his pizza truck and churned out crispy pies for the special occasion. Overall, the feedback was unanimous– great food, great drinks, and great company!

Saturday’s event layout was mellower than the frenetic rush of the Restaurant Walk. Throughout the day, Carol’s Dollar Lodge was host to five different demonstrations and presentations by nationally-recognized chefs and a sommelier. We were thrilled with the turn out and the talks given by Chef Jesus Gonzalez, Josh Kilmer-Purcell and Brent Ridge of The Fabulous Beekman Boys, Chef John Tesar, Chef Jason Wilson, and Sommelier Jackie Quillen. Each brought to the table something different that expanded our knowledge and incited our culinary curiosities. The best part? The presentations each finished with a tasting and wine pairing, which was a perfect way to enjoy the fruits of the chef’s labors.  De-lish!

Meanwhile, the Harvest Marketplace was held indoors at Carol’s Dollar Lodge with local and regional artisans, producers, and kitchen gagetteers who peddled a variety of goods such as fresh produce and homemade salsas, honey, sauces, cheeses, and super duty Vita Mixers. It was also a great spot to purchase the books written by our presenters before the signings, which was a chance for guests to meet and greet the chefs and Jackie Quillen after their talks.

That evening, we hosted the Martini and Caviar party on the upper deck of Boca in downtown Ketchum. The weather was perfect as guests mingled and sipped artisanal cocktails with Square One organic spirits including the “Garden Gate,” with basil flavored vodka, strawberry balsamic jam and rhubarb simple syrup, garnished with rosemary. The other option was the “Summer’s End,” appropriately named with the fall chill approaching,  that featured Square One Botanical vodka, grapefruit and pomegranate juices, and a dash of peach bitters. The only things that could compete with the deliciously unique martinis were the imaginative Fish Breeder’s of Idaho sturgeon caviar canapés that were passed by the fantastic Boca staff.  A fun competition took place to name Square One’s Cucumber Vodka and ginger beer-based martini— and Cynthia Kearn’s winning choice,“La Cuke-aracha,” was rewarded with a bottle of the delicious organic spirits!

Sunday’s events culminated with a River Guide Cooking Demonstration beginning early in the morning. With a distinctly Sun Valley-esque Fall chill in the air, the three different river guide companies, Far-and-Away Adventures, Mackay Wilderness Journeys, and Idaho River Journeys fired up their grills and cast iron skillets to prepare “river food” with a gourmet flare. Between the sour cream coffee cake, “cast-n-blast” trout paella, and the chipotle shrimp skewers, you could say I had achieved Foodie Nirvana by the time we were ready to start our next event at noon.

The grand finale of the festival, appropriately named the “Grand Tasting,” was a benefit for the newly formed Sun Valley Culinary Institute. In Dollar Lodge’s great room, 24 different vendors presented tastings of local craft beers, distilled spirits, wines, and delicious foods. This event was a great opportunity for non-bricks-and-mortar businesses to share new dishes while interacting with both the local community and those who made the festival a weekend destination. Foodies gathered and mingled, and were afforded the chance to try these unique creations. What a great event!

“Overall, we were thrilled with the turnout of this year’s Sun Valley Harvest Festival” said co-founder Heidi Ottley. “We’re looking forward to making next year even bigger and better! Thank you to everyone who came out and supported us—we hope you had a great time in Foodie Heaven”