Monday, July 18, 2011

Hot Cocoa in the Summer, Eat Real Fest

This weekend the 405 freeway in Los Angeles shut down for about 40 hours.  It was supposed to be an event of epic proportions, causing chaos that would ripple throughout the entire city.  For months it was advertised on the streets, on billboards and talked about on the radio and the news.  For the first time in LA, people canceled plans, rode their bikes and stayed local to their area as much as possible…  The result?  There was NO traffic at all in LA!  Friday afternoon, hours before the freeway was going to close, you could get across town in 15 minutes.  Unheard of for a Friday or for 5pm!!  This is where it should have been the worse, right before the 405 to the 10 interchange.   


Even though LA can be a hot mess, once in a while, I am reminded that Los Angeles is a pretty great place to live.  Check out the view while I was working out last week!


On the Saturday of Carmaggedon I decided to volunteer with my friend at the Eat Real Fest in Culver City.  This was marketed as a festival for food lovers, DIY-ers and cooks!  It was held at Helms Bakery and they had multiple stages, food trucks, beer gardens and several areas with terrific vendors! 


My friend and I were assigned to volunteer in the Marketplace, where we assisted vendors and helped do some set up for several of the presenters.  Some of my favorite local vendors were there like Cast Iron Gourmet, and I discovered a bunch of new vendors too!  I picked up some super spicy caramel corn (I think my nose hairs singed off), tried some excellent raw cacao chocolates from Chocolatl.  There was this super delish looking bread pudding place that I was hoping to stop by before I left; but as luck would have it they completely sold out!  Here are some of the cool things I saw in the Marketplace!

ERcheese    ERkitty

The event also had some cool art stuff going on.  I believe there were crafts for the kids, as well as an artist completing a mural while we were there.  They had also decorated the building with some cool looking graffiti advertising vendors and the event itself.  At the beer garden they also had the cutest Eat Real Fest mason jars that they were allowing people to purchase and get refills for their beer with.  By the time I made it over there, they were sold out for the day.  However I was able to choose from one of their 15 beers that they had on hand!!  No generic beers here either, all local brews or some IPA’s!  Can we say AWESOME!   

ERart2ERart My friend I assisted at the demo where C. Salt shared a recipe on how to make homemade hot cocoa.  C. Salt has totally delish chocolates (all with a pinch of salt), this lady knows her stuff.  We also saw bits and pieces of a honey demo, lemon preserving and sauerkraut making.     


Here is the recipe for Cocoa they shared at the event.  I know it’s the middle of summer and certain areas are going through a heat wave, but just bookmark this for later, you won’t regret it! 

C Salt Cocoa 
provided at Eat Real Fest, makes 6 1/3 cup dry mix

2 1/2 cups powdered milk
2 cups light brown sugar
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (Dutch process)
1/3 cup instant coffee
1/2 cup chocolate chips (butterscotch, peanut butter, white chocolate)
2 tsp. cornstarch
1 1/4 tsp. fine sea salt
1 pinch cayenne pepper

1.  Sift together all ingredients, except for the chocolate chips, into a mixing bowl.  Mix well and stir in the chocolate chips.  Seal in an airtight container and keep in a cool dry place.

To serve:  Fill cup half full with the dry mix and pour in hot milk or water.  Stir well to combine.  Top with marshmallows, whipped cream, a dash of vanilla extract or even a splash of peppermint schnapps! 

Eat Real Fest was a totally fun event and I really enjoyed volunteering.  I think the event was a great success, as it was packed on Saturday afternoon.  I hope they have it again next year as well so that I can attend more of the demos!  If you are in the LA area, another great food and art event is coming up, Unique LA!  It will be at the Barker Hanger in Santa Monica.  Go check it out!