Totally Doin’ It with Art and Emily: Fresh Taste Festival

We went to the second annual Fresh Taste Festival, an “organic, sustainable food and wine event” put on by Minnesota Monthly.

Art’s Part

While I truly enjoyed the Fresh Taste Festival, for me this was an exercise in fantasy. The tickets cost $55 each, which I would never have been able to afford had Emily not won them. And even with the cost absorbed by the fact that the tickets were won and not purchased, nearly all the foods I tried were organic or otherwise boutique, which means they were mostly cost prohibitive on my nonprofit wage.

But as far as exercises in fantasy go, this one was pretty great. I got to see people and be seen by people, I got to be outside (sometimes) on a perfect August day, I got a pretty sweet commemorative wine glass, and I got to gorge myself on interesting and not so interesting foods.

The biggest surprise was a habanero-based spread. It did not singe my mouth; rather, it left a pleasant warmth on the sides of my tongue unlike any other kind of spicy food I’ve ever eaten. This came from Kayak Kitchens, which does not have a storefront, but which has a website. It’s all good.

This tasting gave me an excuse to confirm something I had long suspected: grass-fed beef is bogus. I was actually a little excited to try the hamburger patty they provided, but was let down to find the beef tasted normal at best and was actually a little chewy—NOT the buttery-soft supermeat I had been promised by oh so many hippies.

The chef demonstrations went at such a pace that I don’t even know if they were interesting because I got up after 20 minutes due to it being boring crap and not actually a demonstration of how to cook food. Live chef demonstrations are dumb in general though, so there you have it.

Overall, I’d say I really enjoyed this event, but I don’t know that I’d make a point to save $55 for it. If I had $55 lying around, I’d definitely make it back, no question. If you need more convincing to go next year, the proceeds do go to Minnesota Public Radio! (But considering all the new stations they’re opening all over the state, I think they might be able to get by without your $55 donation just this once.)

Emily’s Part

I’ll preface my review by saying that I won two tickets to this event via Minnesota Monthly’s brand new Twitter account. I’m very interested in food and wine, especially sustainable and organic food and wine, but $55 in advance and $65 at the door?

I don’t have a job, people.

But anyway, when I saw that they were giving away pairs of tickets to basically the first ten people to ask for them, I jumped at the chance to go.

So Sunday morning, with our stomachs empty and our hopes high, we got on the bus and headed to Nicollet Island for the event.

After a bit of a snafu at will call (no one seemed to have informed them of the 20 tickets that were given away via Twitter), we were handed our passes, a wine glass (one of their goals is to make it a waste free event, so we rinsed and reused the glasses) and a free subscription to Minnesota Monthly (score; I love magazines!)

Then we went on our way to try some food and wine.

Which, for the most part, was very good, and most of the exhibitors were knowledgeable and excited to talk about their offerings. Some particular standouts were butter from the Hope Creamery (no idea butter could taste that good) and Haute Habanero Paste (I don’t know who came up with the idea to put it in pumpkin bread, but I want to kiss him or her on the mouth).

I also didn’t mind trying a few varieties of Flat Earth beer, which was being distributed at a booth that was also offering massages and chocolate. That’s excellent planning.

And, though they weren’t feeding me, I had to respect the people from Tap Minneapolis, who were very enthusiastically extolling the virtues of our city’s tap water and pointing out the many ways in which drinking bottled water sort of makes you an a-hole (but being nicer about it than me).

So anyway, let’s get to the bottom line.

Did I have a great day?
Yes.

Would I have paid $55 for it?
No.

Would I be willing to pay $55 for it someday in the future when I have a job and a little more disposable income?
Perhaps.

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