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Feast Portland begins today!

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Tickets still available for some events, including the Oregon Bounty Grand Tasting


SUBMITTED PHOTOS - As part of the Feast Portland festivities, Widmer Brothers Brewing has created four special beers, collaborating with chefs and specialty food artisans. You can sample them through Feast and Widmer Brothers Pub now.

Let the Feast begin! The long anticipated Feast Portland begins tonight and continues throughout the weekend. If you didn’t get tickets you might be out of luck for many of the food-centric events, but there are still opportunities for you to get in on the fun.

I know you can still attend two of my favorite Feast events: the kickoff Sandwich Invitational and the Oregon Bounty Grand Tasting.

Now in its fourth year the Widmer Brothers Brewing Sandwich Invitational takes place tonight from 6-9 p.m. in Director Park in Portland. This event brings leading chefs from around the country together, each presenting their most inventive interpretation of what can fit between two slices of bread — and even the bread often gets a shakeup. A panel of food writers, chefs and personalities choose a victor, and you get a vote, too, as the crowd selects the People’s Choice. It is always fun, always delicious.

Chefs invited to participate this year include Portland chefs BJ Smith of Smokehouse Tavern, Scott Snyder of Levant, John Stewart of Meat Cheese Bread, Aaron Barnett of St. Jack’s spinoff La Moule, Elias Cairo of Olympia Provisions, Gregory Gourdet of Departure; plus Nick Anderer of Maialino in New York; Alvin Cailan of Eggslut in Los Angeles; Aaron Franklin of Franklin Barbecue in Austin (I know whatever he brings will be out of this world tasty); Duff Goldman of Charm City Cakes in Los Angeles; Steve McHugh of Cured in San Antonio, Texas; Harold Moore of Harold’s Meat in New York; and Justin Wills of Restaurant Beck in Depoe Bay.

As expected, Widmer Brothers Brewing is pouring very special brews at the Sandwich Invitational. They have brewed four collaborative beers with four food and beverage heavyweights. Be sure to taste these:

n Som O Grapefruit Radler, created in collaboration with Andy Ricker of Pok Pok (Portland and New York) using his Grapefruit Som Drinking Vinegar.

n Rauch and Kirschen, made in collaboration with Aaron Franklin of Franklin Barbecue in Austin. He smoked 10 pounds of cherries to make this Helles Lager.

n El Injerto Coffee Pale, a roasted American-style pale ale created with Stumptown Coffee Roasters’ Guatemalan Finca el Injerto Bourbon coffee.

n Missing Legs Saison. Proscuitto di Parma USA collaborated with Widmer Brothers to make this Belgian-style farmhouse ale brewed with Grains of Paradise.

“We’re really happy to continue our partnership with Feast Portland and to help bring even more excitement to the event with some fun new beers,” said Kurt Widmer, cofounder of Widmer Brothers Brewing. “The festival brings together a couple things that we love about Oregon: Access to great ingredients and the adventurous people who celebrate life through Portland’s culture of beer, wine and food. The four collaborations we brewed for Feast capture this idea as well, bringing together some really innovative people in the industry, and some great, unique ingredients.”

Widmer will be pouring the collaboration beers at events throughout Feast, as well as at Widmer Brothers Pub and select restaurants and craft beer bars throughout Portland.

As fun and delicious as the Sandwich Invitational is, it is just the beginning, my friends. Loosen that belt buckle and keep on eating.

My favorite event of Feast is the Alaska Airlines Oregon Bounty Grand Tasting held Friday and Saturday afternoons in Pioneer Courthouse Square. The square is packed with artisans, winemakers, brewers and others eager to have you try their edibles, all of which showcase the best from the Pacific Northwest. I look forward to discovering new products, meeting new friends and am always astounded with the creativity exhibited.

There are classes, panel discussions, dinners and more planned for Feast Portland. You can view the entire schedule online at feastpdx.com.

This is your opportunity to have a very special food adventure. Take advantage of this special festival in our backyard and join the fun. I guarantee you will discover new and delicious products.

In previous years USA Pears has been present at Feast Portland, and I expect they will be again. Local pears are appearing in the markets now so use them to make this unique recipe.

Bon Appetite! Make eating an adventure!

USA Pears has been an exhibitor at the Oregon Bounty Grand Tasting in previous years. Try this Pear, Sausage and Fontina Calzone using fresh Oregon pears.

Pear, Sausage and Fontina Calzones

Makes 4 servings

1 ball store-bought pizza dough (16 ounces)

Flour for dusting

8 ounces bulk or 2 link sausages, any flavor, cooked if raw, and cut into bite-sized pieces (mild Italian pork sausage works well)

8 ounces Fontina cheese, shredded

1 ripe USA Pear, such as Bosc or Green Anjou, large dice

Preheat the oven to 400 F. Divide the dough into four equal portions and shape each portion into a round. Set the dough aside on the counter to warm slightly, covered with plastic wrap. Cook your sausage if you purchased it raw. If bulk, divide the sausage into bite-sized balls and fry in a little olive oil. If you chose links, simmer the links in water for 5 minutes until firm, rinse under cool water, and slice. Gather all of your ingredients to fill the calzones: sausage, shredded cheese, diced pears, and a small bowl of water for sealing the calzones.

Dust a cutting board lightly with flour and roll out one ball of dough into an approximately 8-inch circle. Fill with one-quarter of your filling ingredients, placing them all in one half of the circle. Dip your fingers in the bowl of water and carefully dot water along half of the dough’s edge. Gently fold the calzone in half and seal the ingredients inside. For an extra-protective seal, dot water along the top of the semi-circle and fold the dough back onto itself, pressing it with the tines of a fork or pinching into a decorative, scalloped edge. Carefully transfer the calzone to a lightly oiled sheet pan. Follow the same directions for the other calzones, being sure to leave 2 inches of space between each calzone on the sheet pan. Bake for 20-24 minutes, or until lightly browned. Serve the calzones while still warm from the oven.

Recipe courtesy of USA Pears.org

Randall welcomes your food questions and research suggestions. She can be reached online at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 503-636-1281 ext. 100. Follow her on Twitter @barbrandallfood.