Normally we at Willamette Week are the first people in and the last people out of the Slabtown New Seasons Market, its walkable location tempting us with everything we could possibly need all day long. But this time they came to us to share in a flavor-filled barbecue and let us in on the Feast limited-edition items that embody Portland's best cuisine made by our community.
In case you don't know, Feast Portland is the big annual festival celebrating the best food and drink in the game, and it's going into its 8th year on September 12–15. The centerpiece (if you will) of the week-long schedule of events is The Big Feast presented by New Seasons, the bigger—and maybe better—gathering of food and drink vendors from all over. Feast brings people together annually to build community through a shared love of food, and in the process, encompasses all things Portland. The festival is also in the name of increasing access to food in Oregon and supports fighting hunger with nonprofits Partners for a Hunger-Free Oregon and Urban Gleaners.
In addition to The Big Feast, New Seasons Market and Feast partnered to take their community building to another level through a special line of Feast products carried exclusively at New Seasons Market. They've paired some of the best regional producers with some of Portland's most well-known chefs to create a delicious line of products available this summer.
We dined on these four limited-edition collaborations which give just a taste of what The Big Feast offers—and if that was just the start, we're in it for the long haul.
Dark Cherry Vanilla Kombucha
Brew Dr. Kombucha with Chef Joshua McFadden
Nothing screams Portland like Brew Dr. Kombucha, the company which has wooed locals and visitors alike, and has been serving delicious bottled tea-booch goodness for the last decade. What started as a hit in the loose-leaf department, Townshend's Tea, transferred well to the ramping Kombucha craze in the city, and the rest is history.
Brew Dr. brought their limited-release Fall Seasonal flavor to the picnic table, with collaborator, Joshua McFadden, the award-winning chef behind Ava Gene's and Tusk. Together, they brewed a Dark Cherry Vanilla kombucha, and the bottle's deep purple label and shiny gold trim make it fit for royalty. With a heavy, bitter kick from the cherries, and the smooth sweetness of vanilla, it's a match made in heaven. The classic green-tea accompaniment makes it unmistakably the offspring of Brew Dr. Kombucha.
Party Time Pilsner
Wayfinder Beer with Brewmaster Kevin Davey
Wayfinder Beer is the brainchild of some of Portland's well-loved champions of the food and drink industry: Charlie Devereux (co-founder of Double Mountain Brewery), Matthew Jacobson (co-founder and owner of Sizzle Pie, Quality Bar, and Relapse Records) and Rodney Muirhead (co-founder and owner of Podnah's Pit and La Taq). After only a short time together in the beer world, they're taking home awards at a local, state, and national level. Add a collaboration with their brewmaster Kevin Davey, whose work in the beer world precedes him, and that's all we need to know to trust that this combination is one to write home about.
A barbecue wouldn't be complete without beer, and this Feast favorite didn't disappoint. From the outside, this Pilsner had a lot going on—with a can clad in fluorescent colors and an amalgam of astral imagery, geometric shapes, and even a third eye, with its gaze leading down upon the beverage's name—Party Time. Wayfinder Beer wasn't messing around with this label, and they weren't messing around with this limited-edition Feast concoction either. They mixed their signature German-style Pilsner, with Tettnang and Hersbrucker hops, a light continental-malt body, and enough bitterness and flavor to keep us asking for more. It's delicate, just mild enough, and paired perfectly with the strong flavor of the sausage to come.
Lap Cheong Sausage
Olympia Provisions with Chef Gregory Gourdet
Olympia Provisions started in 2009, but its roots are much older. When Salumist Elias Cairo traveled to Europe to learn the craft behind Salumeria, the method of curing meat for their award-winning charcuterie, his new skills of the old ways piggy-backed on what he'd valued all his life—making food by hand. Olympia Provisions is one of only a handful of charcuteries who uses the techniques of the old world to pair with Cairo's forward-thinking flavors and style.
To take things up a notch, they collaborated with a top chef from one of Portland's top restaurants, Gregory Gourdet of Departure, for this limited-edition Feast item. Gourdet's Asian influence blends with flavors inspired by the Pacific Northwest, and his attention to detail set the menu at Departure in a league of its own. His addition to Olympia Provisions' team for this sausage made an already promising charcuterie into a must-have Portland collaboration.
This is the kind of sausage you shouldn't bother disrespecting with ketchup or a whole lot of condiments. It's Lap Cheong, a traditional Chinese sausage, that is both fermented and smoked for maximum flavor—and it's bursting with flavor. Sweet, sour, and with the smallest kick, it paired well with a plain bun that gave it room to shine.
Peach Cobbler Buttermilk Chocolate Bar
Moonstruck Chocolate Co. with Chef Maya Lovelace
What makes this particular product so exciting is the mixing of the best in the chocolate business from the Pacific Northwest and sweet southern charm. Since 1993, the Portland-based chocolatier Moonstruck has been hand crafting decadent desserts and making their mark on the city. You'll recognize their brand by their adorable themed truffles for holidays, or their classic bars of simple, chocolatey perfection. Master Chocolatier Julian Rose and his talented team behind the masterful work of Moonstruck partnered with chef Maya Lovelace, famed for her Appalachian-influenced cooking and restaurants, Yonder and Mae. Lovelace has brought her famous southern-flare to this chocolate bar, and the result has left us in awe.
We believe chocolate is meant to be enjoyed year-round, but how do you make a chocolate bar a stand-alone summer dessert? Think dried peaches, sweet cobbler bits, and a creamy buttermilk chocolate bar to pull it all together. This one will bring you right back to Grandma's peach cobbler, with a creamy buttermilk bar in place of a scoop of ice cream. It's not like any chocolate bar we'd gobbled up before, and that seems to be the spirit of the entire experience—brand new, creative collaborations to show off Portland's best.
Pick these items up at your local New Seasons Market now. They are available for a limited time, don't wait!