sofi Gold Winners Shine in DC

Henry Wainer, a sofi Gold winner, chats with Joan Nathan, a New York Times writer

Henry Wainer, a sofi Gold winner, chats with Joan Nathan, a New York Times writer

We put out quite a spread—if I may say so—Wednesday night for local journalists in Washington, DC. We, meaning the National Association for the Specialty Food Trade, hosted a tasting and reception to showcase the winners of our 2009 sofi Gold Awards for the outstanding specialty foods of the year.

The event was designed to show off this year’s winning chocolate, cheese, frozen savory, snack, food gift and USDA-approved organic product and much more to journalists who may not know our not-for-profit organization, or realize that a sofi™ is a true honor for any food artisan or entrepreneur. “sofi” stands for “Specialty Outstanding Food Innovation.”

Ed Tobias of the Associated Press samples Appledore Cove's Seaside Barbecue Sauce

Ed Tobias of the Associated Press samples Appledore Cove's Seaside Barbecue Sauce

I help run the awards program. This was a new effort to take our winners on the road and give them the attention they deserve. We held the event at a lovely culinary school, CulinAerie, just six blocks from the White House. CulinAerie is co-owned by Susan Holt, a chef/entrepreneur who has attended, and spoken at, our Winter Fancy Food Show.

The evening attracted an impressive bunch, including Joan Nathan, the noted cookbook author and food writer for The New York Times, and journalists from the Associated Press, Crain’s, BizBash, and more. One local writer, Andrew Evans, who writes for National Geographic Traveler and others, covered the event and tweeted about it live. Check it out at: @AEEvans.

We held the bash at CulinAerie, a cooking school near the White House

We held the bash at CulinAerie, a cooking school near the White House

The stars of the show were the speakers: Henry Wainer of Sid Wainer & Son Specialty Produce and Specialty Food, who won the sofi for Sakurachi Sa Yuzu Marmalade, and Jeffrey Gartska and

Appledore Cove's Jeffrey Garstka and Tom Gorski, "The two guys from Maine."

Appledore Cove's Jeffrey Garstka and Tom Gorski, "The two guys from Maine."

Tom Gorski of Appledore Cove, who term themselves “the two guys from Maine.” The two guys won for their Seaside Barbecue Sauce. Ron Tanner, our vp of communications and education, introduced them, and noted that Henry Wainer, whose family business is based in New Bedford, Mass., has won so many sofi Awards over the years that it is hard to keep count.

We hope to do more of these regional sofi Gold road shows. Why DC? We thought it would be great to say hello to the marketplace, now that we plan to have our 2011 Summer Fancy Food Show there. Plus we’re participating in another DC event much sooner: Nov. 7 and 8 at the Metropolitan Entertaining & Cooking Show.

A big thanks to all the sofi Gold winners, many small companies, who sent us product samples for the event and for great sofi gift bags. And thanks to Susan of CulinAerie, for a great venue and soiree.

–Louise Kramer

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