The day was overly hot but the crowds came out in mass to enjoy the inaugural Bacon & Barrels, the premiere event in Los Olivos at the Saarloos & Sons Field. The order of the day was bacon, as it ruled the roost.
Twenty restaurants and 40 wineries, breweries and distilleries shared their bacon infused foods and/or libations. The food was superb and very creative. Any cool refreshing drink was a hit. White wines and Rosés were a must in the heat as were the beer and spirit selections.
Making the rounds, some of the bacon favorites were El Rancho Market’s Breaker Bourbon Bread Pudding with blueberries and bacon. The bacon added a savory flavor to the rich bread pudding.
Succulent Café served a Braised Bacon Biscuit with Bacon Summer Peach Jam, Pickled Onion and micro Mustard Greens. It was yummy.
Bob’s Well Bread offered an extraordinarily delicious bacon and chocolate bread. Stafford’s Famous Chocolate offered a chocolate covered Carmel with bacon. Stafford’s description of their confections “ooey gooey goodness” is exactly what you get with each bite full.
Root 246 served up a pretty meaty pork sandwich.
The pièce de résistance or we should say the Jefe Del Porko award went to Sides Hardware and Shoes—A Brothers Restaurant, for their bacon beef slider with peach and bacon panzanella. Everyone raved at how good this slider was making the wait in line well worth it.
In the VIP lounging area one found a guitarist playing while Al Fresco Picnic served a Cucumber, Tomato and Bacon Salad with an Avocado dressing, along with Chorizo Stuffed Dates wrapped in Bacon. The latter was Jefe Del Porko runner up.
Trying to stay cool at Bacon & Barrels was quite a feat. Of course a popular hangout was the misting tent that also provided bottled water. Visiting this cooling station was a must for every attendee.
If you could not get cool in the misting tent, a stop at Evo for a revitalizing taste of cucumber water hit the spot on this hot day.
Moving onto wines, on this day, hands down the Rosés and whites were the most popular. One cannot go wrong with Tercero Wines The Outlier, a Gewürztraminer. It is one of winemaker/owner Larry Schaffer’s best and a definite hit at this event with its crisp, citrusy and balance qualities. The Mouvédre Rosé was a close second for this winery.
Liquid Farm Rosé was another delightfully refreshing wine with its subtle hints of fragrant florals. Also known by owner Nikki Nelson as “pink crack”, it is an all time favorite of this writer.
Refugio Ranch Winery showcased a 2012 Aqua Dulce de Refugio made from Malvasia Blanca. This crisp refreshing wine was reminiscent of a Gewürztraminer. The 2010 Ineseno, a blend of 60% Roussanne and 40% Viognier was another nice choice for this hot day.
The Sunstone Winery booth featured some nice selection of wines for the blistering heat. The 2012 Viognier was citrusy and refreshing while the 2012 Grenache Rosé was light with wonderful hints of raspberries.
Although red wines were not the optimum choice of the day, there were a few reds worth mentioning. Refugio Ranch Winery 2009 Barbareño, a blend of Syrah and Petite Sirah was light and balanced with hints of cherries. Sunstone’s 2010 Cab Franc and their 2008 Eros, a Bordeaux blend of 85% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon were also noteworthy.
The real find at Bacon & Barrels in terms of wine was Alta Maria Vineyards. Their offerings were a selection of very consistent drinkable wines. By far the favorite was Alta Maria’s 2010 Native Pinot Noir – Rancho Ontiveros Vineyards. Coming from owner James Ontiveros’ original eight-acre vineyard that is planted with eight different clones of Pinot Noir. The Pinot Noir utilizes all eight clones. With a low yield, holding water back from the vines, 75% whole cluster fermentation and 21 months in the barrel, this wine is smooth on the finish and is absolutely fabulous. The Alta Maria 2010 Pinot Noir and the 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon were excellent making these wines a close contender with the Native Pinot Noir. This is definitely a winery worth a visit to the tasting room to sample more of what is available.
Laphroaig’s Brandon Barlett with his Scottish Breakfast was Jefe del Porko Mixologist.
Be aware big brother was watching you at Bacon & Barrels, in the form of a flying saucer bug like contraption known as Aero.optix, which is an unmanned aerial photography and videography camera. To view the event from above click here.
With the weather so hot it was hard to sample everything and the only thing that is recommended for the future is providing more tents for shade for the vendor booths so attendees can keep cooler and be out of the sun.
A percentage of the proceeds from this event benefited the Santa Ynez Valley Visitors Association.
All in all, even with the heat, Bacon & Barrels was a spectacular event that promises to have a following year after year. One can only imagine and anticipate how the participants will outdo their delectable bacon creations for next year’s event.
If you enjoyed the photos in this article, check out the photography of Tenley Fohl visit www.TenleyFohlPhotography.com or Tenley Fohl Photography’s Facebook Page.
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