Category Archives: SFDC Events

SFDC run events

Cultivating Coffee Appreciation with Vigilante Coffee

In addition to being pioneers of specialty coffee in the Washington, DC area, Snail of Approval winner Vigilante Coffee is also dedicated to increasing the coffee knowledge of both retailers and consumers.  Working from the perspective that coffee should never be intimidating, Vigilante has developed a special “Lab Series” designed to present the world’s most interesting coffees in an intimate, engaging, and comfortable environment.

During a special Slow Food DC Lab Series on July 23, local Slow Foodies learned all about Panamanian Gesha coffee from Ninety Plus Coffee, a single-origin, single-variety grower and producer in both Panama and Ethiopia. In addition to the rarity of this particular varietal, the Gesha coffee’s uniqueness also comes from the special natural processing methods Ninety Plus uses to emphasize and preserve the bean’s flavor and aroma characteristics.

Along with producing award-winning coffees, Ninety Plus is known for their ecological and sustainable cultivation methods, principles Vigilante Coffee also embodies.

Owner and founder Chris Vigilante explained during the event that he personally visits each and every producer the company buys from and when possible, imports beans directly from the source, allowing growers to recoup a higher percentage of profits.  This hands-on approach is also an avenue for encouraging and sharing sustainable business practices, enabling Vigilante to offer harvest incentives for producing higher quality beans.

Director of Retail and Marketing Austin Redington demonstrated four different ways to brew these special Gesha coffee beans, including cold brew, espresso, aeropress, and siphon.  Each method highlighted different aspects of the coffee’s unique flavor profile that participants could compare and contrast.

Lab Series participants were fortunate enough to take home their very own sample of Gesha, roasted during the class by Vigilante’s expert roaster Franklin Ventura.  Each coffee that Vigilante offers is specially roasted on site at their Hyattsville location, according to what level of roast will showcase the best of that bean’s flavor and aroma profile.

This special Lab Series was a great way to learn why Vigilante is known for their award-winning, single origin coffee and there’s much more to learn!

Vigilante Coffee offers classes at their Hyattsville location several times a week that are open to both wholesale partners and the general public.  Classes cover everything from different brew methods to coffee cupping to latte art basic.  Find out more on their website at:  http://vigilantecoffee.com/classes/.

Growing hyperlocal ice cream flavors with Cultivate the City

On August 16, Slow Food DC and Snail of Approval winning Cultivate the City held an ice cream making demonstration in a slightly unusual location: the rooftop of a hardware store on Bladensburg Avenue! This particular rooftop has been transformed into the home base for an urban garden center and CSA that is changing how we think about growing food in dense urban areas.

Cultivate the City is the work of many people in the community, with Niraj Ray running the show and Dan Weisshaar managing the farm. Their focus is on maximizing growing potential by implementing vertical gardens and building a steadfast volunteer force rooted in existing communities. Cultivate now has 25 gardens throughout the city, a full-fledged CSA program for both produce and seedlings, and they’re always trying out new things including growing plants from the Slow Food Ark of Taste catalog.

For our H Street Farm rooftop garden tour and frozen treat session, Chef/Farmer Dan introduced us to lemon basil and melon sorbet and chocolate mint ice cream featuring herbs from their garden, of course. The delicious cantaloupe melon had been a volunteer that sprouted in the compost pile from last season! We also taste-tested papaloquelite (a common Mexican culinary herb that tastes a little like cilantro) and bitter melon (a fascinating and unusual plant that’s also full of nutritional value) along the way.

Also on the rooftop were three greenhouses and an aquaponics operation: a closed loop growing system featuring basil, tomatoes, and tilapia sharing the circulated water. (Fish fry later this fall, btw.) Niraj emphasized that some people have misconceptions about hydroponics being less flavorful than soil-grown, but this is because the hydroponic tomatoes we usually have access to have been shipped great distances. Produce that is picked at peak when fully ripe and fresh — including hydroponically grown veggies and herbs — and served immediately, locally, has absolutely the best flavor!

One of the major goals Cultivate aims for is to help people understand farming, gardening, and cooking as viable occupations.  The H Street Farm aggregates produce from their 25 gardens across the city and distributes it to CSA clients, local restaurants, and locals who volunteer with them. The business also focus on working with the communities around their gardens to help locals learn to grow their own food, offering services such as a home consultation for just $100 or the option to work at the farm for discounted CSA shares and event passes.

The ice cream was tasty, the garden beautiful, and Cultivate the City is truly Good, Clean and Fair! Check out Cultivate’s upcoming volunteer opportunities and events here.

Preserved strawberries and ground cherries!

Snail Winner Catoctin Creek is Raising the Standard of Rye, Locally and Sustainably

About 20 Slow Food DC members and friends took advantage of a warm spring evening on April 29 to visit Snail of Approval winner Catoctin Creek for an exclusive, hands-on cocktail making class and distillery tour.  The first distillery to operate in Loudoun County since Prohibition, Catoctin is making a big name for itself with its award winning craft spirits and community-driven approach.  Located in a former car dealership in the heart of Purvellville, VA, our group was warmly welcomed with a cocktail made from Mosby’s Spirit, Catoctin’s version of white whisky.  

This refresher prepared us for the distillery tour portion of the evening, during which our kilt-wearing guide Jonathan introduced us to the two stills responsible for producing all of the company’s spirits:  Barney and Ron Swanson.  Barney apparently gained his purple hue fromdistilling pear brandy and Ron, well, he’s just a whisky-loving type of guy.  Committed to producing spirits from locally sourced and organic ingredients, all of Catoctin’s whisky – as well as their gin – is produced using 100% organic rye. 

If you’re wondering how gin snuck into a rye whisky producer’s rotation, know that it’s all part of Catoctin’s plan to be a zero waste facility.  By redistilling the byproduct of the whisky making process (the “tails,” for you hard-core distillers) with traditional gin botanicals, such as juniper, citrus, and coriander, Catoctin produces a smooth and lovely gin that started from rye mash. 

After distillation, Catoctin’s Roundstone whisky is aged for just under two years in new white new oak barrels from Minnesota, lending the spirit a dark caramel color and deep flavor and aroma.  Whisky that is not barrel-aged is bottled as Mosby’s Spirit. Sustainability is in practice at this stage as well.  Each run through the still produces enough spirit to exactly fill one barrel.  Catoctin also readily supplies spent whisky mash to local farms, and sells used whisky barrels to beer distillers. 

After the tour, our group sidled up to the horseshoe-shaped bar where our bartender Chad gave a brief and illuminating history of how rye became the grain of choice in early American cocktails.  Although early settlers to the area attempted to grow crops they were familiar with at home, rye was one of the few that flourished in the warm, muggy region of Virginia.

Armed with jiggers and cocktail shakers, Chad then guided us through the process of recreating a few of these early American, rye-based cocktails with Catoctin’s signature Roundstone Rye and Watershed Gin.  Despite some shaky pouring skills, Catoctin’s expertly crafted spirits helpful guides ensured we couldn’t fail to make some superb cocktails. 

The next time you’re in Loudoun County, stop by Catoctin’s welcoming facility for a visit or even better, sign up for one of the distillery’s many events. We’re already looking forward to our next visit!

 

Snail of Approval Auction Challenge – Win a Seasons Olive Oil & Vinegar Gift Set!

Did you have fun at our February 28 Snail of Approval party? We sure did, especially jockeying for those awesome silent auction goodies! If you were a silent auction winner, we want to see how you’re using the items you won! Post a photo of you using the Snail of Approval silent auction item(s) you won in February – hashtagged with #SnailAuctioninAction – to our Facebook or Twitter page for a chance to win a Seasons Olive Oil & Vinegar Taproom gift set!

Entries will be accepted until May 30 and a winner will be selected at random. Keep the Snail of Approval momentum going and show us your #SnailAuctioninAction!

 

A Preview of What’s in Store for the Snail of Approval Party

rislogo1This year’s Snail of Approval Party is just around the corner – Saturday, April 18 at Ris – and in addition to celebrating a new batch of awesome Snail winners, there’ll be all sorts of goodies to enjoy!!  First, Chef Ris has prepared an incredible menu for all to enjoy, including:

  • Fresh Ricotta Gnudi-smoked tomato vinaigrette, spinach and lemon salt  
  • Mini Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes with mustard cream
  • Eggplant Parmesan Sliders
  • Fried Scallops on Fried Lemon with tartar sauce
  • Goat Cheese, Fig and Olive Crostini
  • Deviled Eggs
  • An assortment of chocolate and lemon tarts
  • A specialty, seasonal cocktail

Plus, new Snail of Approval winner Port City Brewing Company will be pouring tastes of their local craft beers, and new winner Meat Crafters (formerly Simply Sausage) is providing samples!

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But the fun doesn’t stop there – we’ve got an amazing selection of products and experiences from our region available at our silent auction.  Check out the list below to find out what great items you can come  bid on:

  • Gift packs from Olio Olive Oil
  • A Staub Dutch Oven
  • A Growler Pack from Port City
  • A Tasting at Barrel Oak Winery
  • MOM’s gift certificate
  • A Fresh Farms Market Gift Basket
  • A Barrel Kit from Copper Fox Whiskey
  • A cooking class with Chef Mark Haskell
  • Fermentation Crock Pottery from Artist Marlisa Jeng
  • A Le Creuset Casserole Dish
  • An incredible array of cook books from Phaidon Books
  • Coffee Classes from Vigilante Coffee
  • Autographed Washington Capitals Player Card
  • Infield Box Tickets to a Washington Nationals Game
  • Glens Garden Market CSA Share
  • Mosser Glass Crystal Cake Stand
  • Gift Certificate from Route 11 Potato Chip Company
  • A night at Belle Meade B&B in Sperryville Virginia
  • Beehive Handmade: Pewter Measuring Spoons
  • Tickets to Contemporary Vegetarian Cuisine Cooking Class with the Guiding Knife
  • Wine Tour and Tasting at Chrysalis Vineyards
  • Group tour and tasting at South Mountain Creamery
  • Distillery Lane Ciderworks Cider
  • Book Lecture and Book Nora Pouillon at 6th & I

We hope you to see you there, so get your tickets now!!

Contributors Poster Snail 2015_Final_3-1

 

April 18: celebrate the newest Snail winners with us!

Join Slow Food DC to honor and celebrate the 2015 Snail of Approval winners! We have an exciting line up of chefs, farmers, and artisans to add to the growing roster. This unique event is an opportunity to mix and mingle with the individuals dedicated to shaping our food community while enjoying some delicious food and drink!

This year’s event will be held at RIS in DC, featuring a menu designed by Chef Ris using locally sourced ingredients, and a featured, specialty seasonal cocktail. There will also be a silent auction and other surprises from local food purveyors!

For more information on the Snail of Approval program and to see prior winners please visit http://www.slowfooddc.org/snail-of-approval/.

The event will run from 12noon-3pm. Get your tickets here.

Snail of Approval Nominations Now Closed

Thank you to all who nominated producer of good, clean, and fair food in the greater DC area for a Snail of Approval award!  We are so excited to recognize great new local restaurants, bars, artisans, and farmers in the new year.  So be sure to stay tuned for news of our Snail of Approval Party and the next batch of winners in 2015!

Until then, be sure to learn more about the Snail of Approval here.

Oct 4: Volunteer at Common Good City Farm

    

Join Common Good City Farm and Slow Food DC for a day of Volunteering on the farm.  Common Good City Farm is a half-acre urban farm and education center growing food for low-income residents in Washington, D.C. and providing educational opportunities for all people to help increase food security, improve health, and contribute to environmental sustainability. Located in the LeDroit Park community, where one third of residents live in poverty, the farm grows over
5000 pounds of fresh, healthy produce to provide to the community.  But they need help do to so, so come join in in the harvest!
 

 When: Saturday October 4, 9:30am-12pm
Where: Common Good City Farm, V St NW between 2nd and 4th St NW, Washington, DC 20001 

Cost: Free, but space is limited so RSVP is requested, email shelu@slowfooddc.org

Find out more about Common Good on their website. We look forward to seeing you there!

2014 Snail of Approval Nominations Open

Are you a producer of good, clean, and fair food in the greater DC area? Know someone who is? Consider nominating your favorite local purveyor for a Snail of Approval award — Slow Food DC’s “stamp of approval,” as it were.

Learn more about the criteria for SOA here and for a little inspiration, check out our directory of prior Snail winners here.

Nominate your favorite restaurant, bar, market, or artisan today!

The deadline for 2014 nominations is December 1, 2014.