Yesterday, hubby and I attended the first Dig*IN event at White River State Park. Dig*IN was an event featuring growers and chefs from Indiana (mainly from Indianapolis, but there were some exceptions). There was also live music, discussion panels, cooking demonstrations, and wine and beer tastings. The chefs all prepared small dishes highlighting Indiana meat and produce and with the price of your admission, you could eat what you liked (a la Zoobilation if you have been, although there was much more focus at Dig*IN on local producers).
For an inaugural event, it seems like this event was quite a success. The crowds were large and the weather was great (if not a little too hot, but who's complaining?). People seemed very excited about the event and the enthusiasm showed. We couldn't stay for more than a couple hours, and of course, I mainly hit on the food part of the event (go figure), so I am just going to comment on a few of my favorite things I ate. There was so much to taste, but these are the ones that stand out in my mind (and I didn't get to try every single thing as a few booths ran out of food while we were there, or else the lines were just too long). If you were there, and partook of more of the other parts of the event (speakers, etc) I would love to hear your feedback. I would also love to hear your favorite food items as well (like I said, I missed a few!).
Some of my favorite things:
Peach smoked pork shoulder with peaches and blueberries on a crispy fried wonton from the Indiana Downs Restaurant (pictured with the little mini burger from Joseph Decuis. We'll get to that one in a minute.): The lady who was handing this out, said, "it's peach smoked pork, honey!" when asked what was being served. I have to say, this was one that took me by surprise coming from a local horse racing track. The pork was so tender it practically melted in your mouth and the sweetness from the fruit was great with it. And the wonton stayed crispy the entire time adding nice texture. I have now added this place to my list for sure. And I have never bet on horses, who knows, maybe it will be fun too!
Mini Wagyu beef burgers from Joseph Decuis: This place has been on my list already for awhile and now I know, for good reason. What a yummy little morsel--super tender grilled Wagyu beef burgers with goat cheese mousse and a spicy ketchup. Just the smell of these things grilling was a huge lure.
Tamale from Chef Steven Unrue of Tasting-A Wine Experience: These little rounds of tamales had a great corn flavor (surprised not to see more corn at this event) with spicy salsa and sour cream. This dish was different from most of the other things, and was quite well done. Again, another restaurant I have not yet been to that has moved up the list.
Lamb Sausage from Chef JJ's Backyard: This was a yummy piece of lamb sausage that were marinated in Indiana beer and then smoked on the Big Green Egg. The sausage had a great smoky flavor and was topped with a yogurt sauce. I enjoyed the tangy sauce combined with the rich, smoky meat. (Check out all that sausage cooking on the egg!)
Tomato/Goat Cheese from Chef Thom England and Ivy Tech Culinary School: This was simple but had a great combo of super fresh flavors. It was one slice of tomato, a dollop of soft goat cheese, slivers of basil and, the thing that made it shine, smoked salt from Hickoryworks. The smoky salt added just a bit of crunch and the nice salty edge that tomatoes love so much.
Watermelon Jalapeno Ice from H2O: What a great refresher on such a hot day. Tasted like pure frozen watermelon with just a hint of spice from the jalapeno. It hit the spot.
I could go on and on, and as I said, I didn't get to try everything, but these were my highlights. I think this event was a great way to showcase the amazing bounty Indiana offers and I hope to attend many more in the coming years. And don't forget, if you were there, tell me what you liked, or didn't, and what were your overall thoughts on the event. I would love to know.
A Taste of Indiana