Thursday, April 16, 2009

Food Blogger Playdate 2 - Artisan Steak Tasting

Wondering just what happens at one of my Artisan Beef Institute (TM) "Provenance of Beef (TM)" steak tastings?

Well, now, thanks to Mark Tafoya and Jennifer Iannolo of The Culinary Media Network, you can take a sneak peek at a live tasting in this fabulous video. (It's actually fun to watch some of the world's best known bloggers arm wrestle over which farm created the best tasting steak.)

It's like a wine tasting, but with steaks!(TM)

Here's how it works. I cherry pick up to six ranchers or farmers whom I've qualified as producing artisan quality meat and then, as in a wine tasting, have participants taste a steak or hamburger from each ranch in a side-by-side comparison. It's amazing how truly great ranchers, in combination with artisan butchers, can create unique, signature style tastes and textures.

Mark and Jennifer are two of the most inspirational and generous souls I've met and they kindly invited me to their Food Blogger Playdate 2 along with Jaden Hair of Steamy Kitchen, Grace Piper of Fearless Cooking, Betty Fussell, award winning author of Raising Steaks (my personal hero), The Life and Times of American Beef, Olga Massov of Sassy Radish, Charles Hope of, and Tommy Hong (he's an ER doctor and also our very gracious host).

Also, a special thanks to Anu Karwa of Swirl Events. Anu is a real sport, she doesn't even eat beef but came to the tasting and carefully selected four great wines to pair with our delicious Rib-Eye steaks.

Look for more opportunities to join a tasting in the coming months including private wine and artisan steak pairing dinners in the New York City area with Chef Mark and Anu Karwa's Swirl Events.

And, for those who'd like to know which ranch or farm was voted #1? Well here's something different: I never look for "the winner." Instead, as you'll see in the video, we have different taste buds and priorities when it comes to buying and enjoying beef.

That said, I will share the five beef styles we did taste. Four are currently available in a home Discover Beef Experience Artisan Steak Tasting kit. Here's a short description of the farms and here's a side-by-side comparison.

We also had the honor of tasting delicious dry-aged, grass-finished Galloway beef from the Beechy Family in Wisconsin, brought to us by Grass Fed Traditions. I am looking forward to including beef from the Grass Fed Traditions network in my next home artisan steak tasting kit. If you want to try it now, pay them a visit!

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