Tuesday, May 31, 2011

First swap recap

The fact it's taken me a few weeks to do a round-up from our first food swap event in no way reflects my lack of excitement. In fact, it was so awesome I think it took a few days for me just to come down from my swap high. And then we had house guests for a week, baseball games to see, cocktail parties to go to, the first barbecue of the season...you know how it goes, life gets all busy on you!

Setting up and getting to know each other
We didn't know what to expect at all for the first swap, but word clearly got around because we "sold" out. With a few last minute cancellations just before the event, we ended up with 19 swappers including myself and my co-host Stephanie, plus a few guests. Given the space (my home) it was actually just about the right number, as things were pretty crowded once we had everything set up and especially when the swapping action started happening.

Out of the 17 swappers, I only knew four beforehand. And while it goes without saying it was lovely to have some friends there, to me the spirit of the swap was really embodied by the fact that my house filled up with all of these strangers - some who had come from as far as Paso Robles! - to meet like-minded folks and share their food creations.

Upon arrival swappers found a spot on the tables to set up, mingled with other swappers, and enjoyed the incredible edibles that were the potluck. The food on hand here was impressive, and included multiple salads, cakes, muffins, beverages and savory items like deviled eggs and chicken cranberry endive bites.

Potluck table #1

Potluck table #2

But you're here to hear about the swapping part, right? First off, everything was delicious, beautifully presented and totally diverse. From fennel pollen to caramels to liver pear and brandy pate, the entire range of sweet, savory, spicy and salty was well represented. And, even though we had multiple strawberry jams, they were all different: strawberry, strawberry rhubarb, strawberry lemon, strawberry vanilla, plus orange marmalade and Pink Lady apple jelly. A couple kinds of kimchees, perogis, enchiladas, truffled white beans, chipotle beets, various pickles and sriracha sauce (a hot swap item for sure!) rounded out the offerings. (Did I miss anything?)

Flavored liqueurs by Andrea

Simple syrup trios by yours truly 

Eat the Love Jumbo Cookies by Irvin

Jams, jellies, candied citrus, fennel pollen and more by Hongmai

Sik Hye (Korean Rice Dessert Drink) by Jeena

Salsa fresca by Pamela
Orange marmalade and candied espresso walnuts by Michelle

Sriracha sauce by Mary

I apologize to my fellow swappers for not doing a better job documenting every swap item that was brought. Things were a bit crazy as a first-time swap host, but I promise to do a better job next time!

Other lessons learned? Make more items so I can swap with more people, of course.