Some 40 judges have tested their way through the Harvest Fair Professional Food Competition, granting the prestigious Best of Show Appetizer award to Grapevine Catering Company of Guerneville for its Rosemary Scented Lamb Loin.
The Sweepstake Appetizer award, given to the contestant who chalked up the most points overall, went to Oliver's Markets, which also nabbed the Sweepstakes Award for desserts.
In addition, Oliver's won Best of Show Decorated Cake for its "Off the Vine" Wedding Cake and Best of Show cake for its Honey Caramel Nut Tart.
"Oliver's really made a statement and did well in every classification that they entered," said Harvest FAir Food Judging Coordinator Anne Vercelli.
In the Delicatessen category, Bear Republic Brewing Co. of Healdsburg won Best of Show for its Wild Game Chili. Newcomer Yanni's Sausage Grill of Penngrove won best charcuterie for its Loukaniko Pork Rustic Country Sausage.
In the Bread category, Costeaux French Bakery of Healdsburg went home with both big awards: Best of Show French Bread for its Ciabatta and Best of Show Specialty Bread for its Multigrain Batard.
"There were a lot of excellent competitors - more than usual," Vercelli said of the bread competition. "That was wonderful to see the entries have increased."
A new category added to this year's competition was Professional Dairy, which includes cheese, butter and yogurt. Best of Show Dairy went to Spring Hill Jersey Cheese of Petaluma for its Peppercorn Goat Farmstead Cheese.
In the Desserts category, Best of Show went to the Brasserie at the Hyatt Hotel in Santa Rosa for its Swedish Cream Cannolis. That dessert also won the award for Best Use of Local Products in a Dessert.
Vercelli noted that the comfort food trend is still holding strong in the dessert and cookie categories, along with the classics.
Best of Show Wine List went to the Carneros Bistro at the Lodge in Sonoma, while Charlie Palmer's Dry Creek Kitchen in Healdsburg won Best Sonoma County Wine List.
The judges give out special awards for entries that make use of local products. Here those awards:
Best Use of Sonoma County Cheese: Brasserie at the Hyatt Hotel, for a Taupiniere and Tomato Galette.
Best Use of Sonoma County Beef: BBQ Smokehouse & Catering in Sebastopol for BBQ Brisket
Best Use of Sonoma County Poultry: A La Heart Catering for Santa Fe Chicken Soft Tacos
Best Use of Sonoma County Seafood: A La Heart Catering for Potato-Wrapped Deep Fried Shrimp
Best Use of Sonoma County Vegetables: Oliver's Market for Sweet Potato Enchiladas
Best Use of Sonoma County Wine and Sonoma County Lamb: Grapevine Catering Company for its Rosemary Scented Lamb Loin
Best Use of Pork: BBQ Smokehouse & Catering in Sebastopol for its Sliced Housemade Prosciutto with Arugula
Best Use of Goat: BBQ Smokehouse & Catering in Sebastopol for Barbecued Goat
The Olive Oil judging was held in the spring. Ferrari-Carano Vineyards of Healdsburg won Best of Show Olive Oil for its Vintners Inn Estate.
The winners of the competition will showcase their award-winning items at the Harvest Fair Awards Night Gala at 7 p.m. on Sept. 25 at the fairgrounds. Tickets are $65 at harvestfair.org.
You can reach Staff Writer Diane Peterson at 521-5287 or firstname.lastname@example.org