Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Recap of the December Swap

Swapper Susan's amazing sugar cookies
 Last Saturday was the second anniversary Chicago Food Swap. It’s amazing how this community has grown in such a short time. From the dozen or so swappers at that first event in December 2011, the Chicago Food Swap has grown to a community of several hundred people with events that regularly draw eighty or ninety.  Each swap, it seems, is a mix of seasoned regulars who greet one another with enthusiasm and slightly nervous newcomers, who have no idea what a treat they are in for. Although I do this every month, I am still amazed every time at the diversity and creativity of the swappers’ items and every time, I go home inspired and grateful. I also go home with an armful of delicious food!

So festive!
This Saturday was no exception. The December swap took place at Enerspace Chicago, a co-working loft with an open floor plan and a terrific view of downtown Chicago. Our host for the event was Joelen Tan, a culinary educator and blogger who holds her terrific cooking classes at Enerspace on Saturdays. Joelen was a wonderful host because not only she did prepare items to swap, she also made hot appetizers to serve the group! The swappers definitely enjoyed that.

Crackers made with Cabot Coop cheeses
Our sponsor for the December swap was Cabot Creamery Cooperative, a wonderful dairy cooperative in New England that makes exceptional cheeses, butter, sour cream and yogurt. I have praised Cabot for their outstanding dairy products and sustainable farming practices on my blog, West of the Loop. Just over a year ago, I got to attend an amazing food blogger lunch featuring Cabot products at my favorite Oak Park restaurant Marion Street Cheese Market. I have also featured Cabot cheese in some of my recipes, including this one for grown-up grilled cheese and this one for Cheddar Cauliflower Gratin.

Needless to say, I was delighted to have Cabot on board as a sponsor for the Chicago Food Swap. Cabot sent some of their products to two lucky swappers, who are also bloggers, to create an original swap item. Kelly used Cabot butter and sour cream to make an amazing peppermint fudge, which I got a piece of, and Alison used Cabot cheeses to make delicious flavored crackers. One lucky swapper also walked away with a Cabot Creamery gift box worth $75. That is a lot of cheese!

The next Chicago Food Swap will be on January 12 hosted by Mac & Cheese Productions. This small, forty-person swap is open only to those who have attended at least three previous Chicago Food Swap events. This is not intended to exclude people, but rather to give some of the long-standing members of the community a chance to connect in a more intimate setting.

If you can't wait until 2014, this coming Saturday, December 14, is the first meeting of the Northshore Chicago Food Swap, an offshoot of this group that will hold events on the North Shore.  But swappers from all over are welcome to attend.

The Chicago Food Swap will be back in February with a free, open-to-all swap!

No comments:

Post a Comment