The first annual Mid-Atlantic Red Fruit Festival was last Friday eve. It combined 15 contest winning recipe entrants paired with renowned regional chefs who prepared them. Pictured here are MacKenzie Severson and Cookology Chef Brad Spate serving up Caprese Cupcakes. The mini cupcakes were a bit savory and sweet. Hard to describe, but delish, I assure you. I enjoyed talking to MacKenzie who lives near Dulles, VA, and is a military wife. She is a die-hard gardener and all the tomatoes used in her tasting preparations that evening were from her own home garden. That was rare at this event, which definitely was more on the eating tomatoes side of things, rather than the growing of them. I talked to several of the attendees who readily admitted being totally ignorant of the differences in tomato varieties served in various dishes. They just knew it was all good.
Many of the tasting recipes that evening treated tomato as a true fruit, in other words, sweet and dessert-like, rather than as a savory fare. Hey, this sweet tooth was not objecting to that concept! When I bit into April Fulton’s Tomato Tarte, I expected rustic, earthy flavors and was pleasantly surprised to find it was closer to a crispy pie. The candied mint leaf on top was just the right note to top it off.
Other pleasant surprises of the evening were a fried basil leaf on one dish and basil whipped cream on another. These treatments of the common herb sent me over the moon.
I also enjoyed Maria Alvarez’s Simo’s Bloody Mary prepared by Mixologist Brendan Dorr. I'm not a Bloody Mary fan and this one won me over. It was all about the ice cube -- a frozen cucumber syrup. Everyone was walking around sucking every last drop up of those cubes. I need to steal that idea for next time I make a Pimm's Cup.
My fave of the tastings at the Red Fruit Fest was the Green Tomato Marbled Goat Cheese Ice Cream made by FrozenFix. I left the event so stuffed, yet I still debated with myself over going back for seconds of this plate of heaven. I know it does not sound good, but trust me, you will be floored at first bite.