Last year I had the good fortune to attend the International
Food Bloggers' Conference
in Seattle - my first visit.  I
didn't have much time outside the conference events, but there were
a few spare minutes where I did what any dedicated food blogger
would do - find good things to eat!


Though I was only in Seattle a couple of days, I fortunately had
friends who were ahead of the game and managed to score us a table
at Delancey, the brainchild of
author Molly Wizenberg (her blog, Orangette was one of
the first ones I ever read) and her husband, Brandon Pettit, who
mans the wood-fired pizza ovens. The couple opened this pint-sized
pizza restaurant in the summer of 2009 on a small budget, all
chronicled on Orangette - if you have ever dreamed of opening a
restaurant, you might want to take a look at Molly's blog to read
what you already suspect - it's a whole lot of work and a true
labour of love.  An excellent product and word of mouth have
kept them busy ever since and even though the menu is small, Pettit
proves that doing a few things really, really well is better than
trying to overstretch one's resources.

The restaurant, though small, lures in crowds of pizza enthusiasts
Wednesday through Sunday with offerings such as the White Pie ($14)
featuring house-made ricotta, fresh and aged mozzarella, garlic and
Grana.  If you're lucky you will be there during padrón pepper
season - if you like spice, you will fall in love with this
pizza.  The dough is the star of these pies; thin and crisp
with a good "chew" factor and delightfully charred edges, it
transported me back to a summer travelling through Italy.

Delancey is small, it can be loud and you do have to wait for a
table unless you arrive right when they open (they will take
reservations for parties of six or more only). But it's worth
it.  The atmosphere was welcoming and homey - the service
efficient without being in your face and the food…. absolutely
fabulous.

I dined with eight other food bloggers and we ordered every pie off
the menu. Yes, there were many, many pies. And none we didn't
like. 


(Look at the size of those lobster tails!)

One of the "must see" places on my Seattle list was, of course, The Pike
Place Market
.  Markets are one of the first things I make
a beeline for in a new city, often visiting more markets than
museums, because I truly believe you can learn a whole lot about
the culture of a place by checking out what people eat and where
they buy it.

Founded in 1907 and now spanning more than nine acres, the Market
is a huge draw for food enthusiasts visiting Seattle.  Home to
more than 200 year-round commercial businesses, 190 craftspeople,
approximately 100 farmers who rent table space by the day, 240
street performers and musicians, and more than 300 apartment units,
the Market attracts some 10 million visitors a year and is
considered one of America's premier farmers markets.


(Freshly-baked crumpets!)

Seattle City councilman Thomas Revelle proposed a public street
market with a view to connecting farmers directly with consumers.
This "Meet the Producer" philosophy is still the foundation of all
Pike Place Market businesses.  You can meet some of the
producers
here
.  Fish, seafood, fresh produce, flowers, baked goods,
pasta, groceries, spices - you name it, it will be at Pike Place
Market.  You can take in the market on your own, as I did, or
take a tour.
The main entrance to Pike Place Market is located at First Avenue
and Pike Street.


As I mentioned, I was in Seattle to attend IFBC, which just
happened to be held at the Theo Chocolate factory.
Yes, a chocolate factory. And 300 food bloggers. A marriage made in
heaven!   Theo Chocolate is the only organic, fair-trade,
bean-to-bar chocolate factory in the United States. (The name Theo
comes from the Greek name of the Cacao tree - Theobroma
Cacao
, Food of the Gods). Their award-winning chocolate and
commitment to social and environmental responsibility has garnered
them much press. Theo's
founder, Joseph Whinney, pioneered the supply of organic cocoa
beans into the United States in 1994. His dream was to build the
first organic chocolate factory in the US, as prior to Theo's
inaugural chocolate run in March of 2006, all organic chocolate
available in the US was manufactured in, and imported from, Europe.
According to their website, Theo's standards and practices
include:

  • Using only pure ingredients that are grown sustainably.
    Sourcing ingredients locally whenever possible.
  • Partnering with growers by ensuring they earn a living wage and
    have access to education for their families.
  • Honoring and respecting their employees and suppliers. This is
    possible due to the unique fact that Theo controls every step of
    their own manufacturing process.
  • Using green energy sources to power their factory.
  • Using sustainable packaging and printing methods.
  • Educating about social and environmental accountability 7 days
    a week through public tours of the artisan factory.


I was fortunate enough to take a short guided tour behind the
scenes (you can book a tour here),
learning about the origins of their cacao beans, their ethical and
sustainable practices and the true meaning of "bean-to-bar". 
Theo follows their beans through the entire manufacturing process,
only producing small batches of their chocolates, true artisans of
chocolate.

With some truly unique offerings, Theo has something for everyone,
from the die-hard adventurous eater to someone craving simple plain
chocolate.  Salted vanilla caramels not your thing? How about
toasted coconut, spicy chile, coconut curry, bread and chocolate or
chai tea chocolate bars?  Theo also offers dark and chipotle
sipping chocolates and "Big Daddy" bars in marshmallow or peanut
butter. You are guaranteed to find something you like in the tiny
retail store.

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Delancey
1415 Northwest 70th Street
Seattle, WA 98117, United States
(206) 838-1960

Theo Chocolate
3400 Phinney Avenue North
Seattle, WA 98103, United States
(206) 632-5100

Mardi Michels is a full-time French teacher and part-time
food blogger based in Toronto.  Her blog, eat.live.travel.write 
focuses on culinary adventures both near and far because she
travels as often as she can!

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