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Nov. 3–5

Washington Convention Center

The Industry

dining and wining

The Attendees

10,000 foodies grazing, gorging, and guzzling purely for research purposes

The Issues

Social Lite: No time to host dinners? Dina Cheney, author of the new book Tasting Club, demonstrated how to conduct a chocolate tasting. Steps: Pass out premium chocolate squares, then have guests appraise the aroma (“Strong or mild? Spicy or evergreen? Vanilla or berry? Rubber or tobacco?”). Then break off a bit, let it melt in your mouth, assess the texture and the flavor, and discuss. Cleanse the palate with table crackers and water.

EVOOlution: Al Fierro explained that the key to keeping his award-winning Olevano oil’s acidity level to a miniscule 0.22 percent is cold-pressing the olives immediately after hand-picking. To create “a true aphrodisiac…that captures the essence of romance,” don’t even think of infusing oils with chemical flavorings.

Holy Fruitcakes! The holiday confection gets a bad rap because most makers use too little fruit and brandy, says Monastery Bakery manager Ernie Polanskas. His outfit’s superrich fruitcakes are made by Trappist monks in the Shenandoah Valley. Asked whether marketing such indulgences conflicts with holy vows, Polanskas, a former monk replied, “We preach, ‘Everything in moderation.’”—Rob Tierney