July 26, 2014

Denver market hosts food challengeTheBigWonderful is the ultimate food market for local and global food enthusiasts alike, featuring more than 50 different vendors in Denver’s Sustainability Park. The market, which runs more like a festival, draws heavy crowds of more than 5,000 people each week. TheBigWonderful tends to gather new members of the Denver food scene who are hoping to get their product noticed. Colorado Culinary School students in the area are sure to taste a few inventive dishes if they attend TheBigWonderful this summer. For those who aren’t able to make the trek, TheBigWonderful hosts a blog that regularly features local food trips worth making.

Another aspect of the food market is to assist new food enthusiasts in exploring their big ideas. The food challenge, hosted by TheBigWonderful, offers new producers the chance to get their products moving with a stipend for ingredients and supplies, as well as a vendor position at the market and special coverage on the blog. The three 2014 finalists are all from different areas of the culinary world, but their offerings speak to popular trends.

The finalists
Shane Etter fell in love with limoncello when he went to Italy for his honeymoon. He discovered that the drink, though alcoholic, tended to be served more as a top-off or family vibe inducer. When he returned to the United States he wanted to continue having that warm experience that the limoncello offered, but he found no varieties that were good substitutes for the Italian original. He created his company, Shane’s Dangerous Limoncello, in an effort to right this absence and has since begun experimenting with various lemon and liquor combinations.

Kristen Beaumont created a food delivery service called Clean Plates. This company was founded to provide custom-made paleo meals for delivery. Beaumont’s approach to food, coming from a culinary background, changed drastically when she began to take a serious look at the paleo nutrition plan. She says she has changed her whole perspective on food, and by using local ingredients, she hopes to “bridge the gap between foodie and health food.”

Steve Walsh, owner of Sweet Little Pigs Beer Fudgecicles, makes chocolate pops that each contain half an ounce of beer. Being forced to hold a liquor license to sell the product at fairs or in stores has cornered Walsh into only selling his product to a couple of local restaurants that have liquor licenses of their own. Walsh’s hope is to expand his business to the point that he can sell his Fudgecicles from any local store.