As I am drive home from my big night out at Fairfield County Eats, a tasting event to benefit the Food Bank of Lower FC, I am feeling so stuffed I can hardly breathe. Or see straight. Yes, not only is the rain slapping against my windshield taking away my visibility, but the fact that I have just eaten ten times my body mass in chocolate. This was serious fun. As if just released from solitary confinement, I have eaten myself silly. Here is how it happened.
Walking into the grand ballroom at the Stamford Marriott, I found 51 local restaurants, caterers, bakeries, and other vendors each offering a tasty sampling of their best dishes. I started slow and circled quietly, like a shark: first sipping cool Indian style melon gazpacho from Tawa, then nibbling pulled pork from Bobby Qs, inhaling delicious Mediterranean salad from Mirna’s kitchen, gobbling spicy Peruvian causa from Fiesta in Norwalk, and then sneaking a few tiny bacon and cheese stuffed cherry tomatoes called BLT bites. And that was just the first five minutes. I was already dizzy.
Then I moved onto the wonderful turkey meatballs from the Tabouli Grill and learned that much of their food is gluten free. Now, being health conscious, I was thrilled at their menu but losing focus. I saw a plate of homemade cavatelli from La Piazza, opening soon in Ridgefield. And next to them, skewers of chocolate dipped bananas waited for me, along with cups of caramel corn so sinful from Watson’s catering, I will be going to the gym every day for the next several years to burn this off.
And then there were the local wines, artisanal vodkas and coffees so delightful I needed strength to keep going. This is where I became filled with rapture about the diversity of food options in Connecticut. The folks here demonstrate such special charm and care in their craft. From the decadent cookies and mini cupcakes of Dough Girl Baking Company in Rowayton, to the allergen free goodies of Izzi Bs, perfected by French culinary trained chef and owner. If you or your children have food allergies, their chocolate chocolate chip cupcake is beyond amazing, making you feel you’re not missing a thing.
For all the traditional staples at the event like chicken scarparelli and clam chowder, there were also some exciting twists like stuffed red peppers from The Ginger Man, fish and vegetable soup from Jean-Louis in Greenwich, bacon maple lollipops from Suckerborne, and a cold acai bowl from Robeks, all purely wonderful.
One of the newer venues this year was Mirch in Stamford with spicy Indian/Chinese street food, and then an oldie but goody, Bad Louie’s Fudge, soft and creamy and nutty. Feeling a bit nutty myself at this point (sorry), I stumbled over to try Slammin Salsa and May o Sabi, and then closed in on the crispy chips from Ten Twenty Post. For all the vendors I failed to mention, my deepest apologies. Believe me, I enjoyed everything and am grateful for the opportunity to try such different flavors and meet such nice people.
In a place of such abundance, however, it’s hard to imagine anyone going hungry. But outside this room, the reality is that every day in Connecticut it is estimated that one in seven households is struggling to put food on the table. There are more than 400,000 people in Connecticut at risk of hunger every year. The Connecticut Food Bank tries to reach everyone in need through approximately 600 community-based food programs, such as soup kitchens, food pantries and shelters. It is events such as Fairfield County Eats that raise money for such an important and unfortunately too common a cause. Hopefully in the future, everyone will be able to enjoy food not only for nourishment, but for the pleasure and fun it provides.