Want to know how much the public loves the Fresno Food Expo’s tasting event? Just ask Marylen Karsted, who was first in line for the annual event dubbed Expolicious.
“This is the biggest food event of the year,” Karsted said. “And I didn’t want to miss it. We look forward to this all year long.”
Expolicious gives the public the chance to sample some of the more than 100 locally made food items exhibited during a business-to-business trade show held during the day. In the evening, the public gets its chance to try everything from pistachio flavored bourbon to butter brioche bread.
As part of the event, 16 local restaurants compete for prizes by making dishes using some of the products featured during the daylong expo. This year, celebrity chef and cookbook author Simon Majumdar judged the competition.
A veteran of past Expolicious shows, Karsted has learned a few things along the way. First, come early, come hungry and bring your own plate. Karsted brings a plate to make sure she doesn’t miss any of the restaurant samples.
Karsted was wowed by Rev’s short rib taco, and the strawberry, olive oil and basil ice cream from Ampersand Ice Cream. One of her friends, Melissa Flores, especially liked the pork belly, kimchi and rice appetizer from Tazzaria in Visalia. It was a delight of flavors and textures.
“It was so good, I had three of them,” she said.
Other favorites included the tri-tip sliders from Bella Luna Bistro in Merced. The tri-tip was topped with a barbecue sauce and bacon aioli, Deb’s Sweet and Smoky jalapenos and all on a house-made brioche bun.
More than 1,000 people were expected to attend Expolicious.