It's likely to be the Academy Awards of pickelers, salumieres, cheese-makers, chocolatiers, brewmasters, jam makers and coffee roasters at the Good Food Awards, a new national competition for those who rule -- or think they rule -- the world of hand-crafted foods and suds.
From now through September 15, artisan food and beer producers can enter their products in seven categories by going to the Good Food Awards website. More than 80 judges, including former Gourmet magazine editor in chief Ruth Reichl, chefs from Chez Panisse, Paul Bertolli and our own salumi god, Mark DeNittis, who owns Il Mondo Vecchio, get the job of blind taste-testing and determining three finalists and one ultimate victor from each region of the United States for each food category.
"The awards recognize that truly good food -- the kind that brings people together and builds strong, healthy communities -- must be both tasty and responsibly produced," explains Sarah Weiner, organizer of the Good Foods Award. All of the products, she says, "must be self-certified by the producer as meeting the criteria of social and environmental responsibility." outlined in each category. (Beer, for example, must be made with all natural ingredients that are free of genetic modification, pesticides and herbicides.)
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Winners will be announced at a public event, hosted by Alice Waters, in San Francisco, on January 14. If you emerge victorious, you'll garner an invite to the San Francisco festivities, held at the Ferry Building, and a Good Food Awards seal that you can slap on your product.