Colorado foodophiles have one -- make that seven -- more reasons to ballyhoo our culinary scene: Today, Pagosa Brewing Company, Avalanche Cheese Company, Ritual Chocolate, Serendipity Confections, Dancing Pines Distillery, Leopold Bros. and Syntax Spirits were all named as finalists vying for a 2013 Good Food Award.
Now in its third year, the Good Food Awards honors craft food producers across the country that focus on sustainability, environmental awareness and social responsibility in nine different categories: beer, charcuterie, cheese, chocolate, coffee, confections, pickles, preserves and spirits.
In October, 150 judges from around the world blind-tasted entries -- 1,366 in all -- and narrowed the nominees from five regions of the country down to a mere 183 finalists, and the winners, whittled down to 100, will be announced at a gala hosted by Alice Waters on Friday, January 18, in San Francisco at the Ferry Building; on Saturday, January 19, the winners will highlight their products at the Good Food public marketplace, just outside the Ferry Building. A beer and spirits garden will also be part of the public celebration.
Pagosa Brewing Company is a finalist for its chili verde beer; Avalanche Cheese Company, based in Basalt, is hoping that its goat cheddar will emerge victorious; Ritual Chocolate, a small-batch chocolate company headquartered in Denver, became a finalist for its Costa Rica Madagascar chocolate; the fleur se sel caramels from Serendipity Confections, also based in Denver, won a spot on the finalists list; the bourbon whiskey and rum from Dancing Pines Distillery, in Loveland, made the roster, too; and Leopold's Navy Strength gin, along with Syntax Spirits' Big Cat White Whiskey and Powder White Rum, round out the state's nominated products.
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For a complete list of finalists, go to http://www.goodfoodawards.org/good-food-awards-finalists-2012/ -- and good luck to all the Colorado producers.