A scorching Saturday earlier than the bacon competition “Albuquerque Journal
ALBUQUERQUE, NM – Those well-intentioned folks who warn of the dangers of “putting pearls before pigs,” apparently never ate bacon.
Pearls may be pretty, but bacon is boss!
“There are enough people out there who love bacon, so we decided to have a party for them – and we did,” said Dean Strober of Blue River Productions, who is hosting the first Southwest Bacon Fest on Saturday at the Albuquerque International Balloon Museum hosted.
“Bacon is an inspiring ingredient for cooks and bakers. It’s an extremely versatile food that is fine on its own, but an incredible component in sweet desserts, savory soups, and everything from burgers to ice cream. All are made better with bacon. “
Strober expects up to 5,000 attendees for the all-day event, which will showcase the culinary bacon creations from 45 Albuquerque grocers representing restaurants, food trucks, candy stores, cafes, bakeries and more.
If you’re feeling cold, dampen your pipe with a bacon infused beer from Chama River Brewing Co. Fancy a sweet dessert? Browse through a slice of Butterscotch Bourbon Bacon Pie from New Mexico Pie Co. Need a caffeinated pick-me-up? Try a bacon-flavored cup of New Mexico Piñon Coffee.
“I’m not a big meat eater, but I like bacon and donuts, so I’m in the right direction,” said Carissa Mettling, owner of the three Rebel donut outlets in Albuquerque and seller of Bacon Fest. Items that she will be offering include a maple bacon bar, green chilli apple bacon donut, pancake bacon donut, and red chilli chocolate bacon donut.
The bacon-flavored goodies, she said, are her biggest sellers behind her “Breaking Bad” donut with its blue rock candy – a nod to the recently wrapped, locally filmed TV show.
“There used to be a health stigma about eating bacon, but bacon has now become a guilty pleasure that everyone is free to admit,” Mettling said. People who are first exposed to their bacon treats think they were created “as a joke” and tell her, “they sound gross”. They change their minds quickly and are “pleasantly surprised after trying them”.
Brian Clark, certified tea master and head chef at the Kung Fu Cowboy Tea House Cafe, said vegetarians in his clientele confess that “bacon is the only food that could keep them from being vegetarian,” even after years of eating a meatless diet . You remember exactly how bacon tastes. “
Clark, also a seller at the Bacon Fest, serves an elderberry and bacon ice cream and a red velvet brownie with four different types of red chilli and candied, thickly sliced bacon that is lightly caramelized with chai spices.
“We all enjoy drinking and indulging in things we know we probably shouldn’t be eating every day, and bacon is the perfect indulgence,” said Clark. “It’s hearty, earthy, hardy and rich. It’s also crazy fun and brings people together in weird ways. “
Strange is in the eye of the beholder, of course, and what festival goers will see is a bacon-themed photo and art competition, a screening of original short films about bacon lovers produced by a local high school film class, Bacon Cooking Screenings of the Santa Fe Culinary Academy, live music and stalls selling bacon memorabilia like t-shirts, blown glass that looks like bacon, and bacon scratch-and-sniff bookmarks.
People who think the annual Nathan’s Hotdog Eating Contest is a great sport will no doubt enjoy the Bacon Eating Contest, where contestants try to eat a plate of 18 slices of cooked bacon and drink a bottle of bacon soda. The winner will receive the soon-to-be-coveted Golden Pig Trophy, Strober said.
Professional cooks and amateur kitchen experimenters can take part in the “Best Bacon Bite” competition, in which a team of judges assesses food creations based on taste, appearance and originality when using bacon. The winner will receive a trophy and the chance to compete in the Bacon World Championships in Las Vegas, Nev.
Finally, the scholars among bacon lovers will share their great feelings about pork protein in a poetry contest that includes this heartfelt submission by bacon enthusiast Cece Quintana:
Once upon a time there was a pig from Leisure
Who was really quite a teaser.
Then came Hormel,
He should have run Pell-Mell.
Right now it’s in the freezer.