Cheese judging at the Good Food Awards

After months of wind-up, judging and publicity, the Good Food Awards — a newly-minted food awards hoopla celebrating American craft producers — has announced its selection of 71 best of show winners from nearly 800 entries in the beer, coffee, chocolate, charcuterie, cheese, pickle and preserves.

Taking top honors: Sebastopol’s Ceres Community Project’s Arame & Ginger Sauerkraut Salad. More than just a tasty side dish, fermented cabbage is said to have restorative and health benefits for the digestive system — something especially important for Ceres’ clientele. Using ingredients from organic local producers like Tierra Vegetables and First Light Farms, Ceres brings together teen cooks and local volunteers to prepare healthy, organic meals for individuals and families struggling with cancer.

“Ceres has been making traditionally cultured sauerkraut for our clients since 2008 because it is so helpful in supporting and replenishing healthy bacteria that is crucial for our digestive system. Marketing these products locally and now regionally gives us another way to reach people with our message about the vital link between what we eat and our long term health, and to get delicious, healthy and locally prepared foods into people’s hands,” said Outreach Director Kristie Amezcua. The sauerkraut is available at G & G Markets, Oliver’s, Community Markets and will be coming to Whole Foods Markets in the coming months.

Bruce Aidells at the judging

Also getting a nod at the awards ceremony on January 14 in San Francisco were John Toulze & Sondra Bernstein’s (The Girl and the Fig/Estate) for their coppa, an Italian pork charcuterie. Toulze has been quietly building an impressive cured meat program at the restaurants for several years and the restaurant will be serving the winning coppa from January 31 to February 6. Other North Bay winners included North Coast Brewing Company’s Pranqster (Ft. Bragg); Marin Brewing Company’s ESChi (Larkspur); Cowgirl Creamery’s Red Hawk cheese (Petaluma); Nicasio Valley Cheese Company’s Nicasio Square cheese (Nicasio) and Middleton Farms’ raspberry preserves.

Judges included dozens of food journalists, authors, restaurateurs and experts in the food industry including local sausage guru Bruce Aidells, restaurant consultant Clark Wolf, cheese author Laura Werlin more than 70 others from the Bay Area and beyond.

For food insiders, the run down of nominees and winners reads like a “who’s who” of the uber-hip, slower-than-thou food culture along the Pacific corridor, with the Bay Area and Portland dominating entries and awards in every category. With all the back-patting falderal in the food world, it’s not hard to be cynical about ever-more precious foods (at ever more precious prices) being lauded in the food mainstream. But at the same time, many of these small American artisans belong to a tiny club of dedicated purists pursuing old school food traditions — pickling, preserving, cheese and salami-making — that seemed on the verge of being forgotten less than ten years ago.

And there’s something more than just Good about celebrating that.

Preserves Judging

The awards ceremony kicks off “Good Food Month“, during which participants and food organizers will feature classes, events and specials related to craft food producers. Get more details online at GoodFoodAwards.org.

Full list of Winners:

Beer

Bison Brewing – Organic Gingerbread Ale (Berkeley, CA)
Drake’s Brewing – Denoggenizer (San Leandro, CA)
Grand Teton Brewing Co. – Sweetgrass American APA (Victor, ID)
Marin Brewing Company – ESChi (Larkspur, CA)
North Coast Brewing Company – Pranqster (Ft. Bragg, CA)
Pike Brewing Company – Dry Wit (Seattle, WA)
Smuttynose Brewing Company – Robust Porter (Portsmouth, NH)
The Bruery – Trade Winds Tripel (Placentia, CA)
Victory Brewing – Hop Devil IPA (Downingtown, PA)

Charcuterie Winners

Alexian Pate – Duck Mousse With Cognac (Neptune, NJ)
Café Rouge – Smoked Beef Tongue (Berkeley, CA)
Col. Bill Newsoms Aged Hams – Free Range Aged Ham (Princeton, KY)
Creminelli Fine Meats – Barolo Handcrafted Italian Salami (Salt Lake City, UT)
Cypress – Cypressata (Charleston, SC)
La Quercia – Green Label Organic Prosciutto (Norwalk, IA)
Olympic Provisions – Loukanika (Portland, OR)
Olympic Provisions – Saucisson d’Arles (Portland, OR)
Olympic Provisions Restaurant – Pork Liver Mousse (Portland, OR)
Pine Street Market – Dry Cured Coppa (Atlanta, GA)
S Wallace Edwards & Sons – Surryano Ham (Surry, VA)
The Chameleon Café – Free Range Chicken Liver Pate (Baltimore, MD)
The Girl and the Fig – Coppa (Sonoma, CA)
Vande Rose Farms – Applewood Smoked Artisan Cured Ham (Oskaloosa, IA)
Weeping Radish Farm Brewery – Sweet Potato Liverwurst (Grandy, NC)

Cheese Winners

Ancient Heritage Dairy – Hannah Bridge (Scio, OR)
Cellars at Jasper Hill – Cabot Clothbound Cheddar (Greensboro, VT)
Cowgirl Creamery – Red Hawk (Petaluma, CA)
Nicasio Valley Cheese Company – Nicasio Square (Nicasio, CA)
Rivers Edge Chevre – Siltcoos (Logsden, OR)
Rivers Edge Chevre – Mayor of Nye Beach (Logsden, OR)
Uplands Cheese – Extra Aged Pleasant Ridge Reserve (Dodgeville, WI)
Uplands Cheese – Pleasant Ridge Reserve (Dodgeville, WI)

Chocolate Winners

Charles Chocolates – Salty Sweet Cashew Bar (San Francisco, CA)
Chuao Chocolatier – Ltd. Ed. Origins 77% Cacao de Chuao (Carlsbad, CA)
Madécasse – Milk Chocolate (Brooklyn, NY)
Patric Chocolate – In-NIB-itable Bar (Columbia, MO)
Rogue Chocolatier – Sambirano (Minneapolis, MN)
Theo Chocolate – Theo & Jane Goodall 70% Dark Chocolate Bar (Seattle, WA)
Xocolatl de David – Salted Caramel (Portland, OR)

Coffee Winners

Barrington Coffee Roasting Company – Ethiopia Nekisse (Lee, MA)
Blue Bottle Coffee – Kemgin (Oakland, CA)
Carrboro Coffee Company – El Aguacate (Carrboro, NC)
Counter Culture Coffee – Finca Kilimanjaro (Durham, NC)
George Howell Coffee Company – Konga Ethiopia (Acton, MA)
Gimme! Coffee – Finca San Luis (Ithaca, NY)
Madcap Coffee – Los Lobos Costa Rica (Grand Rapids, MI)
Montana Coffee Traders – Etiopian Peaberry (Whitefish, MT)
Noble Coffee Roasting – Kenyan Kiaora (Ashland, OR)
Public Domain – Kona Cloud Forest (Portland, OR)

Pickles Winners

Ann’s Raspberry Farm – Savory Brussels Sprout Relish (Fredericktown, OH)
Artisanal Soy – Edamame Kimchee(Washington DC)
Ceres Community Project – Arame & Ginger Sauerkraut Salad (Sebastopol, CA)
Cultured – Spicy Oregano Purple Carrots (Berkeley, CA)
Farmer’s Daughter – Spicy Green Tomato (Carrboro, NC)
Firefly Kitchens – Yin Yang Carrots (Seattle, WA)
McClure’s Pickles – McClure’s Brine (Detroit, MI)
Olympic Provisions – Pickled Corno di Toro Peppers (Portland, OR)
Real Pickles – Organic Garlic Dill Pickles (Greenfield, MA)
Sour Puss Pickles – Peppered Okra (Brooklyn, NY)
Spirit Creek Farm – Purple Sauerkraut (Bayfield, WI)
Tender Greens – Spiced Baby Carrots (San Diego, CA)

Preserves Winners

Ann’s Raspberry Farm – Jalapeno Raspberry Jam (Fredericktown, OH)
Confituras – Texas Fig Preserves (Austin, TX)
Deluxe Foods – Gingered Rhubarb Jam (Seattle, WA)
Ellelle Kitchen – Central Coast Raspberry (Pasadena, CA)
Farmer’s Daughter Brand – Bourbon’d Figs (Carrboro, NC)
Happy Girl Kitchen – Apricot Chili Jam (Monterey, CA)
Middleton Farm – Raspberry (Healdsburg, CA)
Plumline – Dansom Plum (Santa Cruz, CA)
Queener Fruit Farm – Blackcurrant Jam (Scio, OR)
Sweet Deliverance NYC – Ground Cherry Jam (New York, NY)