Among the exceptional offerings this year (two tuna samplings! Jimmy Carl's barbecue with sweet habanero slaw!), some stood out. Prettiest was Two Twenty Two's shrimp with a mango salsa in a clear cuboid cup. Along with the bronzy orchids next to it, it made the evening's prettiest table, and branded this new cafe in the Country Music Hall of Fame as one to watch. (And the cafe caters, too.)
Whole Foods brought back its spicy-and-sweet pineapple ginger punch, but also offered cups of Cas Cal sodas to parched Iron Fork attendees. Cas Cal is a brewed and fermented but alcohol-free soda with a fermented malty twinge to it. Sparkling, fragrant and off-dry, it has enough festive fizz and edge to stand in for beer or bubbly. We tried Fine Dry and Light Red, and look forward to Crisp White on a hot afternoon.
Finally, after last year's incredible chocolate-peanut butter-banana ice cream-topped dessert from Chaffin's Barn, we had to see what they conjured this year. Choco Haze (as I've dubbed it) put a flourless chocolate hazelnut cake under a layer of Choco Haze espresso ganache and a topping of espresso ice cream. Yes please!