Presented by Travel Oregon and Bon Appétit Magazine, Feast is one of the largest and most celebrated foodie events in the nation. In its fourth year, the plenteous culinary festival includes over 30 events in numerous locations around town, including tastings, dinners, lectures and, of course, food trucks! Feast is a fundraiser for two organizations who are doing a tremendous amount of effective work to help end hunger - Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry Campaign and Partners for a Hunger-Free Oregon. My mind kept going back to that during the flurry that is Feast weekend - it was hard to believe that having such a great time directly supports such an important cause. Previous years have raised a combined total of over $162,000.
I attended the Friday and Saturday Oregon Bounty Grand Tastings (presented by Alaska Airlines), and also the Sunday Brunch Village – all three were held in Pioneer Courthouse Square. For the Oregon Bounty Grand Tastings, the Square was transformed – a large event tent filled up a good part of the lower portion of the Square, filled with goodies to explore. Some of my favorites included mini pies by Annie’s Pies, a cheese plate (with a map to guide you!) presented by the Oregon Cheese Guild, a mountain of desserts made by Baldwin Saloon in The Dalles, chocolates by Xocolatl de David, microbrews by Two Kilts Brewing and Cabernet Sauvignon by Columbia Crest. Chef Vitaly Paley created masterpieces with pears, and Umpqua Bank hosted a booth where you could play games (toss an apple into a metal bucket!) to win locally produced goods, like Raft Syrups. A gigantic Feast-themed stage was set-up by the stairs. All day long, presentations were held. Bon Appétit Magazine demoed how to do excellent food photography with your smartphone, and discussed how things are run in their test kitchen, passing around samples to the audience. Sometimes a dance party even took place on the stage! Travel Oregon had a photo booth so that attendees could create a spontaneous keepsake to preserve their Feast memories. On the upper portion of the Square, Bon Appétit hosted a pavilion that held more tastings. What a whirlwind of amazing food!
Sunday’s Brunch Village (presented By Tillamook) was ridiculously adorable. An entire village comprised of breakfast foods filled Pioneer Courthouse Square. Tillamook set up “tweetable” displays all around the Square – cardboard cows, cornucopias of their products, flowers, straw bales - the whole deal. Can I just say that their minibuses are the cutest things I have ever seen?!
There was everything you could imagine someone might like to eat for Portland’s favorite meal – smoothies by Whole Foods Market, Fried Chicken and Waffles by BrevilleUSA, pastries by Beaucoup Bakery from British Columbia, Pear Coffee Cake by Le Cordon Bleu and pour-over coffee by Sisters Coffee. Tillamook teamed up with celebrity breakfast item Pine State Biscuits to create some explosively delicious mini biscuits – they were very popular! My all-time brunch favorite was the Steak and Cheese Madeleines by Portland’s own Frice Pastry. They made a bunch of different kinds of filled madeleines on the spot. They were just scrumptious, and very pretty.
Feast kept it sustainable by serving all tastes and dishes on VerTerra plateware, which looks like thin wood or bamboo, but is actually made of fallen palm leaves! These fully compostable serving dishes made a lovely background for all the creatively plated food – perfect for Instagram!
Missed Feast this year? Try to make it next year – it’s unforgettable, and greatly contributes to a very important cause.
Photo credits: Feast Portland