Are you a foodie? Are you the first on your block to find the hot new restaurant or identify a trend? If so, when you dine out – or even visit the gourmet shop – you look for not just a given food (i.e. honey, lamb, bread) but a specific purveyor of that food. Gina Gallo of Gallo Family Wines recognizes that small, quality producers deserve recognition, and has created the Gallo Family Gold Medal Awards to honor these purveyors.
The third annual Gold Medal Awards was recently held at Park Avenue restaurant in New York City, an interesting choice as this restaurant changes its menu four times a year (and changes its name accordingly) to fit with the seasons. As you can imagine, many of the big names in the food world were there — many of whom I interviewed when I hosted the A Taste of Luxury TV show in Boston.
Tall, slim, and sporting shiny red hair, Gina Gallo hopped tables looking dapper in a dark suit and vibrant scarf. Nearly a decade ago in Boston, I had interviewed Ms. Gallo at the Ritz Carlton hotel for the local newspaper, and am pleased to see that her family’s commitment to wine has now expanded to food. After all, we are what we eat. In the big cities, many of us have lost touch with “real food.” Driving from San Francisco to Napa, for example, city dwellers will see black and white cows, brown horses, and farm stands selling fresh sweet yellow corn and tangy red cherries. Award ceremonies like this remind us to support artisanal producers.
Gallo Family Vineyards created the Gold Medal Awards program in 2006 to recognize excellence and the highest standards in quality and craftsmanship among artisanal food producers in the United States. This year, entries flooded in from every inch of the country, with more than 300 applications submitted and over 270 food products sampled for the panel of culinary expert judges to taste. In the end only one entry from each of the seven categories were chosen.
Sprinkled throughout the room were many faces familiar from television, many of them program judges including Ed Doyle, Malachy Duffy, Max McCalman, Ferdinand Metz, Sara Moulton, Joanne Weir, and Clark Wolf. The menu included Smoked Tasmanian Sea Trout with Lemon, Ricotta, and Wasabi Tobiki (served with Gallo Family Vineyard Sonoma 2006 Chardonnay), Rocky Mountain Trade Enterprises Duck Breast Prosciuttinni with Mozzarella, Mango, and Qual Eggs (Gallo Family Vineyard Sonoma 2006 Pinot Noir), and Grilled Lamb Chops Encrusted with Anjoy Bakery’s Fruit (Gallo Family Vineyard Estate 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon).
Craig Koketscu, Executive Chef, and Richard Leach, Executive Pastry chef, did a fantastic job of orchestrating the food. You can read more about the awards at
the Gallo website.
- Outstanding Bread/Baked Good – Fruit Nut Crostini from Anjou Bakery
- Outstanding Dairy – Blomma Cheese from Lake Erie Creamery
- Outstanding Meat and Charcuterie – Duck Prosciuttinni from Rocky Mountain Trade Enterprises, LLC
- Outstanding Confectionary Good – Purist Salty Caramel + Cacao Nibs from Vere
- Outstanding Condiment, Oil or Vinegar – Sourwood Honeycomb from Savannah Bee Company
- Outstanding Fruit or Vegetable – Sour Cherry Lambic Sorbet from Jeni's Splended Ice Creams
- Outstanding Fish or Seafood – Natural Smoked Tasmanian Trout from Sugartown Smoked Specialties