Guest blog post from Tamara Belgard of SipWithMe
Bacon is the new black, or so said the shirt on Cochon 555’s Master of Ceremonies. Sunday welcomed five chefs, five pigs and five winemakers to the Governor Hotel’s ballroom for Porkland’s culinary event of the year, Cochon 555. This national event pairs local wine with swine in order to promote breeding diversity and to help raise awareness for heritage breeds and family owned farms around the country.
Portland superstar chefs Naomi Pomeroy of Beast, Gabriel Rucker of Le Pigeon, Andy Ricker of Pok Pok, Cathy Whims of Nostrana and Jason Barwikowski of Olympic Provisions all participated in the competition for a cause to earn the coveted title “Prince/Princess of Porc,” but it was Jason Barwikowski who walked away with the crown after impressing the crowd with his nine renditions of the primal product.
Each of the five chefs was faced with the challenge of using the whole pig, head to tail, to create dishes that would delight an audience of epicureans and make 20 notable judges go hog-wild. Butcher extraordinaire Ryan Farr from Sweet Briar Farms in Eugene exhibited his talents in the exciting and somewhat disturbing “Whole Pig Breakdown Demonstration.”
Since pork and Pinot are a match made in heaven, some of Oregon’s finest wineries including Bethel Heights Vineyard, Soter Vineyards, Elk Cove Vineyards, Domaine Drouhin Oregon and Domaine Serene were on hand to share their story and pour their wines. VIPs had the priviledge of a little pre-funk Oyster and Reserve Wine celebration where creative props must be given to Anne Amie Vineyards who had a very beautifully unique pig decanter hand-blown especially for the occasion by local glass artist Justin Parker of Esque Studio.
Cochon 555 in Seattle May 23
All in all, over 750 pounds of heritage pork was served in every shape and form, from pork liver panna cotta to gold-crusted caramel tarts with chocolate dipped bacon and sea salt. Is your mouth watering yet? Feeling like you missed out? Well, you can follow that pig! This gluttonous event takes place again in Seattle on May 23 and San Francisco on June 6. The final showdown takes place at Grand Cochon on June 20, where all the Princes and Princessess of Porc with be competing for the ultimate title of Queen or King of Porc during Aspen’s Food and Wine Classic. Did someone say, “Road Trip?”
Tamara Belgard is a freelance writer, graphic designer and social media expert living her dream in Portland, Oregon. She currently writes a wine blog called Sip with Me detailing her journey through Oregon wine and is a lover of wine, chocolate, travel, and all things culinary.