Fermented. More and more, we enjoy foods produced as a result of fermentation.
From early morning to late evening, fermented foods are a natural component of our diet and a means to achieve optimum health.
In its most elemental form, the process of fermentation is the interaction of yeast or bacteria to convert sugars or to kill harmful bacteria. Through the ages, humankind has been able to overcome adverse conditions through the preparation of fermented foods.
Ancient water supplies were dangerous to consume; wine was created to kill off the harmful bacteria present in water. Likewise, drinking potable water was a constant concern among sailors on the high seas; the Portuguese and Spaniards produced Port and Sherry to consume in lieu of contaminated water.
There are two forms of fermentation: lactic acid and alcohol.
Lactic acid fermentation is the process utilized in preserving many foods. The interaction of salt, yeast and healthy bacteria (probiotics) produce what are commonly termed preserved foods.
Alcoholic fermentation is the process by which natural or inoculated yeast breaks down the sugars and carbohydrates in fruit, converting them to alcohol.
In some form, each of us ingests one or more fermented foods each day. For breakfast, many enjoy yogurt with the “Live & Active Cultures” seal on the container, assuring about 17 billion probiotic cultures in a six-ounce container. Others may enjoy breakfast with their cup of fermented coffee beans.
With dinner, a glass or two of fermented grape juice or perhaps a bottle of fermented malted barley or wheat seems to be increasingly popular. And why not top off dinner with a dessert of fermented cocoa beans?
The inspiration for this week’s column is an organization and an individual who recognize the growing popularity of consuming fermented products; in this instance drinks produced by alcoholic fermentation.
This Saturday, March 10, from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Kessel Student Center on the Pleasantville campus of Pace University, the Pleasantville Rotary Club is presenting its second annual Hudson Valley Fermented food and beverage fest. Proceeds support Rotary initiatives, primarily in the local communities.
Event Chair Henry Leyva and his team have assembled an impressive array of craft producers. With a focus on Hudson Valley and New York State products, eventgoers will be able to sample craft beers, artisanal wines and ciders and several local distilled spirits. Local restaurants will supplement the beverages.
There are several unique aspects of HV Fermented, as it is dubbed.
- For the first time that I’m aware of, multiple fermented beverages are being offered at the same venue, with stations manned by owners or their knowledgeable representatives. Rather than wandering aimlessly through a myriad of shelves at local retail establishments, attendees will have the benefit of a carefully curated list of hand-selected beverages, all of which are available for purchase or order at the event.
- VIP tickets are available for $75, which permit early access to the event. For one hour prior to general admission ($55 per ticket), VIPs will sample all beverages, chat with brewery, winery and distillery representatives and enjoy the local food, all in a private, intimate atmosphere.
- Each of the dozen or more beer stations will offer at least two products and several will be pouring limited production brews.
- The wine stations, organized and managed by Thierry Pradines, proprietor of Best Wine Purveyors, a popular wine shop in Pleasantville, will be offering about 50 wines and spirits from at least 16 wineries and distilleries.
- Local restaurants – 13 at press time – will present a broad array of cuisines and beverage-friendly dishes.
Leyva is enticing folks to come to HV Fermented “to sample all this in one place for four hours and have a blast.” I’ll be there, filming the event, to be aired on Pleasantville Community Television (PCTV). You may view a promo on the PCTV website featuring myself, Leyva and Thierry at www.pctv76.org/video/2357/.
For more information on participating vendors and to purchase tickets, visit www.HVFermented.com or contact the organizers at HVFermented@gmail.com
See you there!
Nick Antonaccio is a 40-year Pleasantville resident. For over 20 years he has conducted wine tastings and lectures. Nick is a member of the Wine Media Guild of wine writers. He also offers personalized wine tastings and wine travel services. Nick’s credo: continuous experimenting results in instinctive behavior. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @sharingwine.