As soon as I arrived at Savor Idaho, I ran into the ubiquitous Jessica Flynn, owner of Red Sky PR, who is such a foodie, winie (wino?) and supporter of the Idaho culinary scene, she would have been there even if she wasn’t working. It’s always nice to eat and drink with Jess — she’s… enthusiastic. Someone to savor.
It was a gorgeous early summer day at the Idaho Botanical Garden. Not too hot like it can be in Idaho (but, it’s a dry 95), just right. Still green, not yet brown. Early June in Idaho is a moment in a season second only to 3rd week in October when the leaves change.
Our first stop was to eat a chocolate covered potato chip with bacon crumbles and a huckleberry sauce on top, offered by Leah Clark at Idaho Preferred. I was skeptical. More skeptical than Jess looks in this photo. Even though this is a combo that never would appear on one of my menus, I’ll have to admit… I liked it. The potato was a very thick and crisp, clearly hand-cut chip. A great intro. We’re in Idaho, so what the hell.
I was tasting a lot of different wines and I guess I hadn’t realized that the buzz was getting to me. I tried three different versions of this label, a Cuvee, a Cabernet and a Syrah. When I announced my favorite, “Frenchman’s Gulch,” I was met with a quizzical look. Ugh. It’s the label, the brand, Frenchman’s Gulch. The cuvee! I like the cuvee! Cat was already out of the bag: I was tipsy.
Sawtooth Pinot Gris
I liked the Sawtooth as well. Ha ha. The Pinot Gris, actually.
Good Fat. From Cows?
Alan Turner of Agri Beef insisted I try the cheddar scone made with Wagyu beef fat with pork belly atop. He explained that Wagyu beef (like Kobe beef, but American) has a healthier fatty acid profile and an unsaturated-to-saturated fat ratio of 2- to-1 instead of the 1-to-1 ratio of regular beef. Uh, ok. I don’t diet with beef. Most importantly, it tasted great! And I felt so pure about all that unsaturated fat (well, not from the pork belly) that was entering my system. It’s like I was on a delicious cleanse.
Leslie Preston of Coiled Wines fished me out of the crowd to let me know that she is in the midst of a Riesling Revolution — making Riesling “how it should be made.” She poured me a taste. Truth be told, I don’t know how Riesling should be. But I do know that this wine was crisp, balanced and delicious. The revolution will be imbibed, evidently.
Idaho is on the uptick for culinary, oenological and agricultural endeavors. Each year, the offerings become more sophisticated, daring and ubiquitous. Perhaps we’re like Sonoma Valley was in the 1980s. Perhaps we can catch up. In the meantime, if you know where to look in Idaho, you can find people who care dearly about how they grow, make and present food. And because it’s not yet everywhere in the state, like it is in California, it makes the discovery scrumptious.