For the third year in a row, Baltimore played host to EmporiYUM, the one-of-a-kind marketplace with food and drinks from around the country. This was my second time attending and it was just as amazing as last year. The location of the market moved to a more accessible area in the Inner Harbor with nearby parking garages, on the Charm City Circulator route, and a Metro stop. I was lucky enough to purchase a pair of the VIP tickets for Sunday before they sold out. The event has sold out the past two years so make sure to buy your tickets early next time. I like to splurge for the VIP tickets because you get in at 10AM, before all the Early Entry tickets and General Admission. An hour all to yourself and the 500 other VIP ticket holders. This is good in theory but they do let children under 12 in free and because of this there were definitely way more than 500 people, it was packed.
I did attempt to taste something from every vendor with free samples but let me tell you some of the highlights from the event:
- Cream Cruiser: This is hands down, the best thing I ate all day. I’ve been stalking Cream Cruiser for months but never been lucky enough to find her while she peddles around downtown. She needs like a GPS so that I can travel immediately to her. Anyways, this is the Berger Cookie & Honey Graham sammy. It is heaven in your mouth. Wait a few minutes to let it soften out of the freezer and dig in.
- Simply Ghee: This was a very very close runner up. My only regret is that I didn’t buy all of their flavors. We decided to just get their Sriracha flavor. It’s got some very subtle heat, would be great to make scrambled eggs with. Their website has recipes for you to incorporate your ghee in to if, like me, you bought it for the flavor and have no idea what to actually cook with it. Luckily they sell it at Milk and Honey and Mom’s in Hampden. I will travel there soon to stock up on all of them.
- The Iron Rooster: One word for you, candied bacon. Their deviled eggs were really good too. They have a location in Canton that I will brave the traffic to get to soon for a full meal. Looking at their entire menu makes my mouth water. I can’t decide what meal to even go for, breakfast, lunch, and supper all have amazing offerings.
- True Syrups & Garnishes: If you like playing bartender at home then this is a good place to stock up. We tasted a few of the syrups and cocktails that they had prepared. Very flavorful and not too sweet. We ended up taking home their Authentic Grenadine Syrup and even the bottle looks really cool.
- Charleston Artisan Cheesehouse: There aren’t many things that I love more in this world than cheese. CAC has both hard and soft cheeses as well as cream cheese spreads. Their Charleston Caviar Cream Cheese was my favorite, a mixture of pimento and cheddar. I know they aren’t local but they do online orders so you too can partake.
- Misfit Juicery: I love companies that do good with their products. Misfit is one of those companies. Their website boasts that, “Misfit is part of the ugly fruit and vegetable movement. We take surplus produce that is either excess or the wrong size or shape to be commercially sold and turn is into delicious cold-pressed juice.” They are single-handily combating food waste in our country. Food doesn’t have to look good to taste good. Their juice proves that, because it is delicious.
- Hoop Tea: Hoop Tea is made in Ocean City from purified water, tea leaves, organic cane sugar, fruit, herbs, and contains 4% alcohol. It’s basically tea brewed with alcohol. I sampled their White Mango flavor. It was perfectly sweetened and didn’t have a strong alcohol taste. It would be the perfect compliment to any summer soiree. They haven’t spread their deliciousness to any vendors in Baltimore yet but hopefully it will be available in a store near you soon.
- Popcorn Queens: I already have a hard time putting caramel popcorn down when it is near me and Popcorn Queens makes it damn near impossible. The popcorn is made by a mother-daughter team from Washington DC but also has a location in Jessup. They offer unique flavors like Cinnamon-Apple and Bourbon Pecan. I’m using them as a vendor for a work event next week and I can barely keep myself out of the box since it arrived today.
- Bottoms Up Bagels: I love salmon and cream cheese lox bagels. I could eat one everyday for the rest of my life. Bottoms Up is up there in my top 5 of lox bagels even competing with the ones I’ve had in NYC. Bottoms Up Bagels doesn’t have a brick and mortar space you can visit. You need to catch them at one of their pop-ups or at some of the local farmers’s markets. Being so elusive is part of what makes them so delicious, you can’t have them every day so buy it all while you can. Follow them on Facebook or Twitter so see where you can find them next.
- Floedebolle: I can’t pronounce it but I can eat it and so I did. I didn’t ask what it was before I sampled and my original description would be a chocolate covered cloud. Floedeboller is a dessert that was invented in Denmark 200 years ago and they have recently started selling to the US. Their website describes it as, “Sugar, egg whites, and other natural ingredients are whipped together at super high speed to create a light, foamy mixture that is then portioned individually onto the crisp, waffle-patterned base for each cookie.” Then they dip it in chocolate. They also claim the dessert to be low-fat, but I doubt that helps when you eat 20 of them because they are so light and fluffy.
- Timber Pizza: I finished off my food and alcohol fueled adventure with a stop outside of the event space at Timber Pizza. I spent 4 years of my life working at a pizza restaurant so I consider myself somewhat of a pizza connoisseur. While I prefer the classic New York style pizza, Timber has a place in my heart with their Neapolitan wood-fired pies. I’m pretty basic so I’m happy with one of their Cheese Please pies. They have the best cheese and cut fresh basil over the pie once it’s out of the oven. Timber Pizza is another mobile eatery so you have to find them wherever they happen to be that day. They have a calendar on their webpage showing their upcoming locations. They also cater so in desperation for their delicious pizza, you could hire them to show up outside your office for a few hours.
Now I don’t know the exact count but I believe there were close to 100 different vendors this year. Much more than last year. Although I don’t have time to break down every place for you, I hope you appreciate my highlights. You can visit the EmporiYUM’s website to see a list of all the vendors and links to their websites. Next time, don’t miss out on all of the fun and get yourself a front seat ticket to the action.