Pork belly, bacon, and BBQ galore — and all for a good cause? When I received my invitation to the Cochon555 Tour events in Atlanta, it was an offer I couldn’t refuse.
Cochon555 was created in 2008 in response to the lack of education around heritage breed pigs and to promote family farming. The goal of these culinary events (which are held across the country throughout the year) is to get conversations going about how family farmers are struggling to educate chefs/consumers about the health benefits of cooking with “old-time” livestock.
Money raised from the events, which range from a chef’s dinner with wine pairings to the Heritage BBQ gatherings, has benefited charities and will now benefit the new Piggy Bank foundation, an organization that supports farmers breeding these heritage breed piggies. For example, since 2009, Cochon555 has given more than $400,000 to local charities.
I was invited to attend (and disclaimer, y’all, I was hosted) the Heritage BBQ event and the Chef’s Course dinner while the tour was in Atlanta. And all I can say, folks, is “wow.” (A big "thank you" goes out to DRY Sparkling beverages — think yummy sparkling water with flavors like ginger and lavender — for the invitation. DRY was one of the event sponsors. Stay tuned for an upcoming blog on the brand!!)
The dinner was held at The Luminary in Midtown on a Saturday and brought together chefs from around Atlanta for a multi-course dinner with pairings that included a Flintstone-esque (meaning huge) Tomahawk chop steak.
Then, on Sunday, I attended the Heritage BBQ festival, which also featured chefs from around the city (think folks like Ford Fry and Kevin Rathbun), who were tasked with cooking a whole hog and then figuring out creative ways to serve it up. For the cost of the ticket, you gained access to a huge showcase of food to try, liquor and wines to sample, and other tastes (the various butter samples were some of my favorites).
The other cool thing about the BBQ event was that something was always going on. For example, there was a butchering demonstration where they broke down an entire pig and a cocktail making competition. Something for everyone.
Not only did I thoroughly enjoy the food and drink, but I really loved that the money raised is benefiting a cause that I so firmly believe in — real food coming from quality animals.
The 2017 dates for the tour should be released soon. And y’all, I’ve got to say, this “fit” is worth going whole hog!!