Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Great Failed Pesto Competition

I was so excited for the food festival, but I should have toned myself down a bit.  Sometimes I forget where I am and the minimal scale used here.  When you think of festival, it's a huge production with all kinds of interesting new things, right?  Well, this was just the normal farmers market with a few more stands and more free stuff.  

A view down the market

Blueberries in vanilla sauce, jams and saft

Beautiful apples from Hardanger

Pancakes and all the fixins

Lovely leeks

My favorite cheese guy and his awesome feta

Caramelized plums with cream and a cookie


Deep fried herring om nom nom

Don't get me wrong, it had some great food.  Unfortunately it seemed like the new stands that were there were just the same thing one after another.  Fish, fish, fish, meat, meat, meat.  I got to eat smalahove and head cheese, fried whole herring, and some pine needle chutney, all new things for me.  Overall it was pretty uninspiring, but it was a welcome change of pace around here and hey, I got quite a few free meals.

But yes, on to the important bit.  Included in this festival was a pesto making competition hosted by two representatives from Genoa, Italy where the world competition is held. 

 The winner of this competition got a trip to Genoa to compete and represent Norway.  Not too shabby! To win entry into the competition people had to enter their own pesto recipe to a local food chapter and they picked the ten best. 
 I was chosen among those ten, and I came to find out I was pretty memorable after having talked to a couple people.  Seems they liked my recipe, go me.  Anyway,  it started out by one of the guys giving a demonstration on how to make it the Genoan (don't know if thats a word, is now) way, and giving some tips and tricks.  All pretty straight forward, it's not rocket science.  I figured I would do what I do and hope for the best.  There is only so much that can happen while making pesto.  That is, only so much can happen unless you have a big bald Italian whispering suggestions in your ear as soon as they say go.  I was quite annoyed by this honestly. 

 'Don't use too much garlic, but make sure you start with that first' he was saying.  'Watch how much salt you use, just a tiny tiny bit is enough'.  And I asked him 'Do I have to do it your way, or can I make my own?' and he says 'Do what you want, but start with garlic'.  At this point I was completely thrown off and just said fuck it and went about it as I would making my own recipe.  Everything was going fine and dandy, but then the what ifs set in. 

 I started tasting after the first addition of basil, which was not at all as fresh as it should have been.  The pesto at this stage was so bland.  All it consisted of was salt, pine nuts and basil and it was just nothing. Not nearly enough salt for me.  I added a bit more and kept crushing.  I added garlic and crushed it into oblivion.  Bland.  I added cheeses and a bit of oil.  Bland.  I added salt.  Better.  Adjusted oils and cheese.  Alright.  SALT.  Much better.  I did not like it though.  The cheese was too strong and smelled like feet.  The basil was not fresh and wasn't crushing right.  I really hated the whispered suggestions.  

It must have been me though, cause obviously people made pesto good enough to win.  Maybe I just don't enjoy traditional green pesto.  Maybe Italians need to stop whispering in my ear.  I did really well though, and they talked about mine a bit.  I didn't win, but I did the best I could.  I'm happy enough just having been selected, and I really can't wait until another competition pops up cause I'm all over it and sticking to what I know and ignoring the rest.  Live and learn.

Picture time!

Looking like a dork all ready to go! They made me cover my curls with that god awful hat the bastards.

This was the moment!  Look at my face I'm like wtf dude.  I was saying 'I can just do it my way, right?'  

I don't like this basil....they heard me :P

Picking my leaves...the good ones anyway..

They were hawk eyeing me..

This is my 'this tastes like crap' face.  I was not happy.  The lady next to me wasn't either, she was practically chanting 'I added too much cheese, oh god there is too much cheese'.  Calm down woman, you're gonna place second.

Almost done..this little girl came to help her Grandma..she was so cute :)

Tasting my pesto...he's washing his mouth out 'good lord this tastes like shit'

Awaiting the results, ignorant to my fate

Getting my participation diploma.  Look at my face  I'm such a bitch.  I don't hide what I'm thinking well do I?

Applauding the winner...again the face.  I'm SO bad at hiding it.  What a bitch :P

All done and looking like a sore loser.  Never denied that one!

That's better.

It was good times, even if I did suck.  Hopefully I'll get another chance some day and remember to ignore those sneaky eye-talians.
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Anonymous said...

Dude congrats on top ten first of all. I also know how it feels when things go wrong in a competition that is so important to you and you waited so long for. But most importantly, YOU LOOK LIKE A SKINNY BITCH. Dili

Jenna said...

I love you too anonymous Dili. Yea I know you do, I remember that one make up thing you did that was killer. And I so don't look like a skinny bitch you need your eyes checked :P

Anonymous said...

I realize this is a post you're probably never going to check for new comments, but.. You HAVE to try the Gladmat-festival in Stavanger in July/August every year! It's simply amazing, and a lot bigger than the one in Bergen, I'm sure!

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