There are a number of interesting events coming up during the next few months that I'd like to get on your radar. In June, our friend Molly O'Neill will be organizing the First Annual (we hope) Minneapolis Bread Festival. If all comes together as we hope it will (these things never go totally smoothly, especially during the inaugural launch) I'll be out there along with Joseph Pergolizzi and his Fire Within oven rigs, and lots of serious wood-fired oven owners, bread bakers, and artisans of all types. We (PizzaQuest) hope to put a camera crew together as well, though it's too soon to tell. But mark your calendar for June 16 and 17 and we'll keep you updated when the event is confirmed and when we have a web link to it.
Closer to home and to now, we're just weeks away from the Seventh Annual Asheville Bread Festival on Saturday, April 2nd. I'll be doing a demo class on sprouted wheat flour--my favorite new product, one that I believe will totally revolutionize whole grain breads (for a taste of this flour in action, check out your local Whole Foods Market, where they have been recently using it to make delicious 100% whole grain breads unlike any other). In addition, two of the greatest bakers in America, Didier Rosada and Lionel Vatinet (yes, they're both French, but they live HERE now!) will be conducting workshops on traditional techniques for European-style hearth breads. Also, there will lots and lots of local bakers, from about a 150 mile radius, many of them small wood-fired artisans, who will be displaying and selling their products at Green Life Grocery during the morning hours, before we adjourn to the afternoon education sessions at A-B Tech, where they run a superb culinary and baking program. The Festival website is at: http://www.ashevillebreadfestival.com/
Most important, this year we will be featuring a tour of an exciting and important new project. Here's an excerpt from the project website, which you can access here:
http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1139809766/carolina-ground-farmer-miller-baker-nc-grown-bread (if this doesn't get you there, go to a search engine and look under: Carolina Ground L3C -- there's a video on the site that explains it a lot better than I have done here).
Carolina Ground, L3C is a group of bakeries working to close the distance between the farmer, miller, and baker in the Carolinas through reviving the community mill. We will be producing fresh, stone ground whole grain and sifted flour-- a flour whose vibrance and quality will be recognizably local. For lovers of good bread, this means even better bread!! And for the farmer and baker, it means a tangible level of security and sustainability. Carolina Ground will enable long-term relationships to be established between farmers and bakers, giving us the means to build our knowledge base of local grains both in the field and in the bakery and in the process, improving our daily bread.
We need your help! We have received a grant for half the cost of our equipment, but it's a matching grant. We need to raise the other half or we lose the dough.
So please, help us make this happen!
What this extract doesn't say is that the mill was originally owned by master oven builder, Alan Scott, who bequeathed it to this project prior to his death. The mill has been brought, piece by piece over a number of years, from Australia, and is nearly ready to start grinding flour. This is a landmark project and one that I hope will serve as a model for similar restoration mills across the country. Please check out the website for more details, and consider becoming a benefactor, which also makes you a partner in the future profits it generates.
One final note: Travel & Leisure Magazine just posted a story on its website about the top 25 pizza cities in America. If you follow this link, you'll see that they contacted us here at PizzaQuest.com before writing it for our insights, and quoted me a couple of times. Let us know what you think of their rankings -- it is sure to be a controversial topic!
Okay, that's the news for now. Hope to see you in Asheville, Minneapolis, or one of those top 25 pizza cities. Things are buzzing and the Quest continues!!
PS If you read Tom Carrig's recent Guest Column on healthy pizza in our Guest Column section, you'll see that he struck a nerve with one of our favorite chefs, Jamie Oliver. Check it out.