Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Cochon Napa 2014 - Another Great Pork-fest

sigh. I forgot this somewhere.

If pork is your favorite meat, like it is for me, then there is no better event than Cochon 555

"Cochon" is French for "pig" and the 555 means - 5 chefs, 5 pigs, 5 wineries. What could be better? 2014 is the sixth tour of Cochon. It was established as a way to support family farms that raise heritage breed pigs. The tour stops at 10 U.S. cities where the five chosen chefs compete to make the best dishes from their heritage pigs. The winners from each city then go on to compete in the Grand Finale at the Aspen Wine & Food Classic. If you like what you see in this post, then consider going to the final Cochon event in San Francisco scheduled for April 27th.

One of the competing chefs for the Napa event was someone we Sacramentans are familiar with - Kelly McCown, formerly the chef at Ella. Kelly is now the Executive Chef at Goose and Gander in St. Helena. He was assigned one of the most flavorful types of pigs - a Mangalitsa. This wooly pig is known for its abundance of fat. It's 50-percent fat content gives it a coveted marble and buttery flavor. The other breeds were Yorkshire, Red Wattle, Duroc, Mulefoot, and Old Spot.

There were actually seven pigs. Along with the five that the chefs used, a group of students under the guide of Larry Forgione of Conservatory for American Food Studies had one for making the late night Asian inspired bites and the last Red Wattle was butchered on site and then the meat sold.  All money raised from the sale was then donated to the Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts.

Sadly, I couldn't taste it all. I was so stuffed that I could only gaze at the Asian bites that came out at the very end. And since I had to drive home to Sacramento, I bailed before the winner was announced.  The bartender from Goose and Gander won for his bourbon concoction. The chef who won was Chef Dustin Valette and his Dry Creek Kitchen team.

Loved the cheesecake cones and took the chicharron home

the letuce wraps were good, but the pozole was cold and the meatball too dense

Kelly had a wonderful plate but I had a terrible picture of his menu

Hudson Valley sent foie gras, duck rilletes, sausage, breast

lots of cheeses to taste as well

some beef tartare was nice

Prosciutto and Iberico as well
this is actually a cake with bacon fat (slices below it)
pig snout shooter anyone?

Now I look forward to this summer's Heritage Fire event when local chefs Michael Tuohy (Block Butcher Bar) and Michael Thiemann (Mother) will participate. That takes place August 3rd at the Charles Krug Winery.

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