Underground Food Academy Update

The Underground Food Academy is up and running!

With over 130 students signed up and a half a dozen classes in the works, things are going exceedingly well. Last Sunday brought the inaugural class- a visit to Alemany Farms. Alemany Farms is an urban farm, right off the 280 freeway just on the side of one of the hills that makes Bernal Heights. Arriving at the farm, I had more than a little worry that my students wouldn’t be into it. After all, they were in for more than a few hours of actual, physical labor paid off by a harvest and simple farmhouse dinner of locally sourced meats and cheeses. But everyone dove in and got their hands all kinds of dirty. I felt slightly awkward taking (what I thought would be) the cushy job of weeding raspberry plants while a couple of them picked up shovels to fold in the new horse manure into the compost. But they were into it. Seriously.

Through the day we weeded, composted and harvested. And none of it was easy work. Even picking green beans for the dinner, which I thought would be really rewarding, took its toll on my back before too long. Within hours I had such a greater appreciation for all the effort that goes into the food on my plate.

Dinner was locally themed, as I took a cue from the urban farm to source meats, cheeses and wines produced as close to city centers as possible. We had a great goat cheese from Petaluma, a sheep’s milk from San Andreas, plus a kick-ass Mt. Tam from Cowgirl Creamery. Charcuterie came from Framani and Molieri in the east bay. So good, and so damn satisfying.

Class #2 took an entirely different tack, as we visited Adam Smith at Fog City News for a seven course chocolate tasting. Adam has amassed one of the most astounding chocolate bar collections in the city, and his knowledge of chocolate is more than a little impressive. He took the group on a descending tour of cocoa percentage. All the way down to zero with our toes dipping into the dark, sinister world of white chocolate. He talked us from bean to bar and back again, explained the difference between a chocolate maker and a chocolatier and gave me some good ideas for field trips. We rounded out the tasting with some mix-ins with my suggestions. Bacon! Cardamom! Salt! Everyone left with a few bars and a stomachache. Job well done.

Next up, well, check the class listings.

1 comment:

Tim F. said...

Adam is awesome. Not sure which he's more on top of, the newsstand or the chocolate. Both are top notch.