If you like local food and wine, and the idea of watching an entire pig morph from carcass into dinner doesn’t scare you, then you could do worse than a Sunday afternoon spent eating and drinking alongside 5 local winemakers, 5 local chefs, and their 5 porcine victims – all from heritage bloodlines, all sustainably raised by local farmers – at COCHON555.
The main event will surely be the rainbow of piggy plates offered up by some of Wine Country’s most talented cooks, including Sonoma County locals John Stewart and Duskie Estes of Zazu Restaurant, together with wine pairings from exciting, artisanal winemakers; the truly dedicated will also have a chance to eat a whole-roasted heirloom pig, sample some swine-inspired sweets (!), and then digest over a competitive display of high-speed butchery, a sort of urban dance-off with meat cleavers. Then, after enjoying the porky fruits of all this friendly but serious competition, 20 local food professionals and we, the people, will cast votes for our local High Priest or Priestess of Pork, and send them on to the 2011 national competition.
But for all the Herculean feats of butchery, the snout-to-tail gluttony, the participants’ livers pickled in wine, it’s the pigs that will be the celebrated, if unwitting, stars, because the whole event has been conceived by founder Brady Lowe as a means of supporting the sustainable farming of heritage-breed pigs. Says Lowe,
“One event cannot change the entire food production system (not yet, anyway), but we can celebrate people who are favorably tilting the scales back towards local producers.”
And how cool is that?