Tonight marks the fifth annual American Artisanal Treasure Awards held by the Cheese Store of Beverly Hills. This year’s event—as always, closed to the public due to space constraints—is focusing on local (as in, Californian) products that are distributed through the state’s Farmers Markets.
“It was mainly in an effort to go green,” says the store’s Jennifer Crowe. “We’re a foodservice place, so best way to do that is by going local.”
Judges will taste around six different finalists in each of the nine categories, which are:
Meats – cured and prepared
The winners will receive a fancy certificate (ooooooooooo) along with the opportunity to have their product on the Cheese Store shelves—which, for a small honey producer from 40 miles outside of Fresno, is a pretty big deal. Plus, the store ships everywhere, so these little guys with no real methods of distribution may wind up in a Florida pantry. All in all, pretty cool.
Crowe, who is largely behind the event’s new focus, says they received hundreds of entries from up and down the state, including around 40 different olive oils, and a frightening amount of sweet preserves.
The judges include Good Food’s Evan Kleinman, Bon Appetit’s Amy Albert, chef Carolynn Spence of Chateau Marmont, head of Wolfgang Puck Catering Barbara Brass, chef Hans Goplen of the Farm of Beverly Hills, and our own fan du fromage, Kit Rachlis.
Again, this is a closed-door affair, so don’t go showing up expecting boatloads of free vinegar, OK?
I’ll post the winners tomorrow. Till then, may the best tapenade win.