Sacramento Baconfest is a fairly new event to our city quickly growing in popularity. This year from January 20th - 27th various Sacramento eateries celebrated bacon by adding menu items highlighting this virtual member of royalty in the pork family.
I visited several restaurants during that week in January and tasted an assortment of bacon heavy culinary creations all of which hit the spot. Truth be told I'm someone who subscribes to the theory that bacon makes everything better.
The most memorable of my visits was to Track 7 Brewing Co. I've spoken in the recent past of Sacramento's growing craft beer culture. Track 7 is the perfect example of a place run by people who love and understand beer as well as being a place where beer lovers can enjoy quality brewed beverages. To look at this industrial store front, one wouldn't think much of it. This just goes to show you really cannot judge a book by its cover.
Preparing the food for the day was Jason Azevedo of Testa Duro Salumi. If you don't know who Jason is, I'm here to tell you no one in our area knows more about a pig and how to prepare one. Jason teamed up with Track 7 and served up items like his Porcetta Sandwich, Pulled Bacon Sandwich, Bacon Grilled Cheese with beer cheese, bacon and a bacon marmalade, Bacon Wings (which were already sold out when I got there) and Bacon Jalapeno Peppers.
Jason told me he started Testa Duro during a period of unemployment as a way to further his own knowledge of meat curing, sausage making and generally a way to pass time. When Jason started butchering meat, Testa Duro picked up a new momentum. Azevedo has been doing what he refers to as underground dining/catering far too long to remember. At times this has come in the form of a private catered event, pop up restaurant or cameo appearance in the kitchen of a local restaurant. When I asked Jason how he first got involved with Track 7 he told me the following:
“I met the owners of Track 7 last spring when I started to build my smoker, my friends shop was right around the corner, also he had created their bar, with the railroad ties. Needless to say we drank a lot of beer during the build out, and I also like to use Track 7 as a distribution point for my “meat ups” for Testa Duro Salumi, who could go wrong with beer and sausages?"
"Our first event together was their Tracktoberfest, last October, and since that was successful I hit them up about doing Baconfest, too which they already had plans for the smoked porter to be released that weekend. To run a pop up, you need to be stubbornly optimistic. You want a good turn out, you want to be sold out, but you don’t want to run out! I feel to run a pop up, you have to have an idea of what people are willing to pay, and eat. I have thrown pig roasts in art galleries with live glass blowing demos, and sit down fine dining meals in the middle of a vineyard. I think the hardest part is finding a partner that will let you go crazy with their space. Someone that also has a sense of adventure and can maybe offer something different to their clientele, as well as bring those that follow me to something new. I also have a full time job outside of Testa Duro Salumi, so to me planning and organization is the lynch pin of every event. Once the time and date are set, then a menu that can be executed, that entertains, and satiates guests comes next”
Currently Jason runs the company on his own with volunteer help from family. I'm told that a brick and mortar location is in the works for Testa Duro's future. With the following Azevedo has managed to acquire, I see big things in store for Sacramento's meat kingpin.
As for Baconfest itself, the concept is still finding its bearings in Sacramento but our community is nothing if not supportive of all things done locally.