First Coast Fabulous: Food Day At Intuition Aleworks

Arugula (sourced from The Veggie Bin),
Proscuitto, and Honey Caramelized Peaches

October 24 is Food Day - a national grassroots campaign promoting healthy, affordable food produced in a sustainable, humane way.  On the First Coast, we celebrated a day early with a Moveable Feast - a yard to table tour of the gardens of Riverside / Avondale with freshly prepared delights along the way, culminating in a Slow Food Demo sponsored by Slow Food First Coast, Intuition Aleworks, The Veggie Bin, SeaCow Confections, 29 South, the Jenks House Bed and Breakfast, the Jacksonville Dietetic Association and FoodDay.org 

Chef Scotty Schwartz explains the
concept of eating locally sourced food.
I must confess I skipped the bicycling, touring portion of the program, and instead made a beeline for Intuition Aleworks where Chef Scotty Schwarz of 29 South presented a simply prepared fresh meal of REAL FOOD. 

In his own words, Chef Scotty advises that when you want to start cooking locally sourced foods, a great way to start is to  "shake the hand that feeds you." Get out to your local farmer's market - meet the people who tend the field at your local farm, the cheesemaker at your local dairy, the beekeeper who supplies you with fresh honey from their local apiary. 

If you are too busy to make it out to farmer's markets or the farms themselves, check into produce delivery services like The Veggie Bin. It's a great way to introduce new veggies and fruits into your diet, and get creative finding new recipes for favorite ingredients. 

Summer Truffle Chianti Sausage,
Chef Scotty's Kale with Whipped Ricotta 
Another revelation of the evening was Chef Scotty's Fresh Ricotta. I recently learned first-hand just how easy and rewarding it is to make your own ricotta - one of my all-time favorite culinary experiments! Once our weather turns for real, I am planning to make a rich, delicious vegetable lasagna with home-made ricotta. Who needs bechamel? 

Topping off the evening's repast was a Spiced Seminole Pumpkin popsicle 
from Sea Cow ConfectionsThe icy-fresh chunk-o-punkin hit all the right notes. Subtly spiced, not too sweet, creamy without being cloying. A tasty spiced ginger "snap" cookie rounded out the flavor profile nicely. 

PJ and Jaime Pawelek from Sea Cow Confections
PJ Pawelek is the owner of Sea Cow Confections - a small St. Augustine business making handcrafted, artisan sorbets and popsicles, using locally and regionally grown fresh fruits, nuts, and sugars, mostly from local area family farms. Any fruit he uses which is not grown in Florida is certified organic and fair trade.  All of their products are vegan and dairy free, with no chemical stabilizers, artificial coloring, or preservatives. Their packaging is 100% biodegradable and compostable. You can see why they received the Slow Food Snail Of Approval from First Coast Slow Food!
Last Christmas I picked up some great confections from them, and tonight I chatted with Jaime about my order for this year. I've been dreaming about their chocolate covered almonds all year long. She tells me they are a best seller. I can attest to their being the best chocolate covered almonds I've ever eaten. Not sure any got into gift stockings though... Cheeky Santa!

This year when you're holiday shopping, be sure to patronize your favorite purveyors of REAL foods - the makers, bakers, chefs and farmers whose personal connection to and passion for food is 100% worth celebrating! 

Cheers to hosts Cari S. and the crew at Intuition Ale Works - did you hear they were recently named Jacksonville's BEST NEIGHBORHOOD BAR


  1. That looks like so much fun! I keep hearing so much about these sea-cow confections. Can't wait to try them out either!

    - Amanda, http://dafoodieadventures.blogspot.com/

  2. Definitely seek them out when you head to St Augustine!


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