Eat Local Challenge
Belfast will hold its fourth annual Local Food Celebration, an event designed to highlight some of the wonderful local farms, restaurants and other food suppliers in the midcoast, at 5 p.m. Wednesday, April 1, at the Unitarian Universalist Church on Miller Street. A food potluck kicks off the event, with any and all cooks and diners encouraged to bring a dish featuring local ingredients. After the dinner, a “LocaVore” brainstorming session, which aims to provide real ideas for how to promote eating local within Belfast, will be held. The evening will conclude with a contradance featuring the All-Comers Band and caller Chrissy Fowler. Suggested donation is $2 for adults, $1 for kids, with all funds received supporting the work of nonprofit Food for Maine’s Future. The Eat Local Celebration is a culmination of the March “Eat Local Challenge” sponsored by the Belfast Co-op, Belfast Free Library, Food for Maine’s Future, the Green Sanctuary Committee of the UU Church of Belfast and WERU-FM.
A big whoop
With its roots here in Maine, the wondrous whoopie pie is tantalizing taste buds in more than just the Northeast nowadays. According to an article in The New York Times last Tuesday, whoopie pies are popping up on shelves at national chains such as Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s, and were featured at the popular and prestigious New York sweet spot Magnolia’s Bakery, made famous on “Sex and the City.” Some varieties are made with maple cream frosting, others with pumpkin cookies. The retail price for a dozen Maine-made whoopie pies available from Williams-Sonoma is a whopping (pun intended) $49. The Bangor Daily News’ own food columnist, Sandy Oliver, is quoted as saying that while the “designer” whoopies made in upscale bakeries across the country are good, dressing up the old standard of chocolate cake cookies and vanilla cream frosting is “like making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with almond butter. … It’s not meant to be fine cuisine.” BDN readers voted the pies made at the Friar’s Bakeshop in Bangor as the best in the land — a detail omitted by the NYT.
The Maine Restaurant Association has announced the winners of its annual awards, given to the most talented chefs and businesspeople in Maine’s wine and dining industry. The 2009 Chef of the Year is Christian Gorden, executive chef at The Inn owned by the Shipyard Brewing Co. on Peaks Island. The 2009 Lifetime Achievement Award went to Will Berieau, chairman of the Culinary Arts Department at Southern Maine Community College. Restaurateur of the Year went to Ellsworth’s own Brian Langley, owner of the Union River Lobster Pot; until retiring last year, Langley taught culinary arts to Hancock County high school students. Pine State Beverage Co. (a division of Pine State Trading Co.), the distribution company that brings wine and beer to stores and restaurants all over Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont, is MeRA’s Allied Member of the Year. Congrats to all winners! For more information, visit www.mainerestaurant.com.