In a season where everything is pumpkin-spiced, Chicago Gourmet celebrated its 10th anniversary on a weekend where the heat was summer-style and unrelenting. Yet, that did little to keep the masses away from the food and wine festival this hot weekend. Instead, many of chefs provided light dishes that complimented the temperature, and there was no shortage of chilled cocktails and wine to keep guests hydrated. In turn, the crowds simply improvised by seeking shade under food tents, and fanning themselves with plastic plates given to all festival-goers.
Anyone who’s been to Chicago Gourmet under the arches of Millennium Park knows lines for eats and drinks are part of the routine. And this was especially evident at the Seafood Pavilion.
Chef Ryan Kikkert at Roanake did an amazing Salmon Rillette with hand cut salt and vinegar chips which has me still reeling with excitement.
Some of the offerings were so perfect for a summer day, such as the poached Shrimp Aguachile, which was light, refreshing and flavorful on a steamy afternoon. Chef Elena outdid herself with that one! Even many of the warm options proved tasty-- and not-too-heavy flavors, such as the smoked shrimp, black rice and butternut squash puree from South Water Kitchen
There were light drinks aplenty, such as the Rumbillion from North Shore Distillery, which combined bourbon cask rum with pineapple, lime, ginger and club soda. Served over ice, it was cold, fruity and easy-to-drink.
And of course, no good meal is complete without dessert. To add to the summertime atmosphere, there were S’mores Cones from Big Green Egg. The dessert – waffle cones filled with either melted peanut butter or salted caramel, a Hershey’s chocolate square and a tuft of brown toasted marshmallow -- only added to the summertime fun of Chicago Gourmet. I am so glad they brought these back this year!
Oh and let me now forget the Rumchata Frappucino Caramel infused Cupcake from Brown Sugar Bakery.
I can ever get enough of the fun at this gourmet food and wine festival and Chicago Gourmet has slowly become my favorite time of the year. The energy is always pulsating and its nice to see Chicago’s foodies gather together on one lawn to celebrate the city’s remarkable food scene. I am already excited for what next year’s event will bring!