Miami's food scene is growing more responsible, evident by the success of the sixth-annual Slow Food "Snail of Approval" Tasting Party, which took place place Friday at Miami Beach's Eden Roc. Hosted by Helene Henderson, chef/owner of Malibu Farm, the event made guests privy to Miami's farm-to table best, which included more than 35 participants, ranging from restaurants and purveyors to breweries and distilleries.
Social Club at the Surfcomber won the coveted People's Choice Award for its pecan-smoked St. Louis ribs with sesame-sorghum barbecue sauce, toasted sesame seeds, and pickled local veggies. The Judges' Choice Award was bestowed upon the Brick for its shrimp 'n' grits made with Key West pink shrimp, War Eagle Mill grits, and Teena's Pride heirloom tomatoes.
Slow Food Miami is a farm-to-table concept promoting locally sourced products that are responsibly grown or raised. Chefs and restaurateurs have embraced the concept wholeheartedly. Chef Paula DaSilva of Artisan House told New Times: "I have to have a good product in order to have good food, and I have to seek out these [Slow Food movement] people who are making these amazing products."
Shari Franklin, director of marketing for Grown — former Miami Heat player Ray Allen's fast-casual eatery centered entirely on healthy eating — explains, "The Slow Food movement is really important to us. We really pride ourselves on using local and seasonal produces and ingredients whenever possible."
Homestead farms played a central role in providing produce for many of the participants. Chef Aaron Dreilinger of Chef David Cuisine & Event Design presented a Homestead salad of warm farmer cheese, watercress, strawberries, and pickled green onions.
In the sweets department, the Edition hotel served strawberry pastelitos made with Homestead strawberries.
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Sisters Isabel and Susana Garcia, professional chocolatiers and owners of Cacao Art, drew long lines for their premium artisanal chocolates, which also use local ingredients. "Today we brought our café chocolate, which we make in collaboration with another Slow Food company here, Per'La Specialty Roasters. We also brought our Tulasi bonbon, which is an herby flavor; we get those herbs from an organic farm in South Florida. It's really important to us that we know where everything comes from," Isabela explained.
J. Wakefield Brewing's Jonathan Wakefield explained that his Orange Dreamsicle brew, which is supposed to remind you of your childhood, uses local oranges from Seasons Farm Fresh. "You can go try the oranges at the bar!" he explained, pointing toward guests happily balancing libations and fresh orange segments.