Bacon Ball 2012

I do enjoy a savory piece of bacon on occasion, but with Derby around the corner, I try to limit my intake.

However, my coworker Chris Humphreys is quite possibly the biggest fan of bacon – actually food, in general – and convinced me and coworker Joanna Hite Shelton to attend the second annual Bacon Ball hosted by the Louisville Visual Art Association.

For one night, I obliged to put my Derby diet on hold to enjoy the culinary delight of bacon and just about every food it goes with. On April 27, we visited the Louisville Water Tower for the event, which benefited Children’s Fine Art Classes, OPEN DOORS and the JCPS Student Art Supply Fund.

Some of Louisville’s top restaurants prepared dishes, such as the Bacon 50/50 Burger from Zanzabar and pickled pork tongue on pretzel toast with romesco, English pea puree and bacon from Eiderdown. Also participating were Proof on Main, Blind Pig, Feast BBQ, Hammerheads, Whole Foods Market, New Albanian Brewing Co., Silver Dollar, The Comfy Cow, Cellar Door Chocolates, No Place Like Home, Mark’s Feed Store and Kilimanjaro Foods.

When I arrived, I grabbed a plate and filled it with the Bacon 50/50 Burger, the bacon cole slaw from Kilimanjaro Foods and Proof on Main’s deviled eggs with candied bacon.

The tobacco onions placed on top of the burger gave just the right amount of spice and crunchy texture to the warm dish from Zanzabar. But, with my undying affection for deviled eggs, I have to give Proof the prize for my favorite appetizer. The pimento cheese provided a tangy twist on the classic, and the candied bacon added a touch of sweetness.

To satisfy my sweet tooth, however, I saved the most room for dessert. No Place Like Home crafted a chewy toffee with bacon crumbles, while Comfy Cow served up four flavors of ice cream: Blind Pig, national award-winning Bourbon Ball, The Doctor’s Cure and a new beer ice cream, The Tipsy Cow.

Being a chocolate lover, my favorite dessert was easily the butterscotch bourbon fudge from Cellar Door Chocolates. The confection was filled with smoked cacao nibs topped with toffee, pretzels and almonds deep-fried in bacon fat.

I wasn’t the only one raving about the treat. The crowd voted Cellar Door Chocolates as this year’s Bacon King for best dessert. Last year’s Bacon King Award winner, Hammerheads took home the prize yet again for best dish with their pork belly on french toast topped with candied bacon drizzled with a bourbon maple glaze.

After consuming the delicious fare and feeling a bit guilty, my coworker and I sat down with Joan Fox, who offered a free tarot reading to Bacon Ball attendees. I don’t believe much in astrology but surprisingly her tarot cards seemed to know exactly what was weighing on my mind lately. So much for living in denial.

Later, I hopped in the Magnolia Photo Booth for some silly photos and worked off a few calories dancing on the river terrace as Johnny Berry and the Outliers performed, as well as DJ Sam Sneed.

The Bacon Ball turned out to be way more entertaining than expected and made me appreciate Louisville’s culinary scene that much more. The night was filled with delectable food, laughter and a chance to reunite with many faces I hadn’t seen since college and even grade school. Regardless of what diet I’m on next year, this is one event I definitely won’t miss.

Photos by CHRIS HUMPHREYS | The Voice-Tribune

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