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5 Things You’ll Love About Cochon 555
Cochon 555, the national pork-centric event that blows through through town once a year, is now in its sixth year of coming to DC. This year’s porky celebration takes place at Union Market Sunday, March 23 from 4-8 PM. Tickets, which can be purchased here, cost $125 for general admission and $200 for VIP access, which includes early admission and unique experiences, wines and spirits.
We were lucky enough to attend last year’s Cochon 555, which aims to raise awareness and funds to support heritage pigs, so we have the inside scoop on the top five things you won’t want to miss:
1. The food, obvi: Stations featuring hot and cold pork dishes from some of the city’s best chefs are set up around the event space. Last year’s favorites included the pork-fat arancini by Mike Isabella, who was named the Prince of Porc; Jeffrey Buben's pork and hominy soup; Haidar Karoum’s play on an Egg McMuffin; and Bryan Voltaggio's extensive spread, which included the pâté en croûte shown above.
2. The booze: We’re still dreaming about the aptly named Perfect Manhattan and the oyster shooters of last year. This year brings it up another notch with an area called the Goose Nest, featuring Goose Island Beer Co. beers paired with Hudson Valley Foie Gras. There’s also a “Punch Kings” cocktail competition featuring five local barkeeps; a welcome cocktail by Four Roses Bourbon; a Bourbon Bar; and other featured spirits.
3. The showmanship: It’s not unusual for contestants in the running for the sought-after title of Prince of Porc (changed this year to King or Queen of Porc, likely since chef Marjorie Meek-Bradley joined the lineup) to act the huckster and campaign for their dishes to reign supreme. Aside from Meek-Bradley, who heads the kitchens at Ripple and Roofers Union, the roster of contestants includes Nathan Anda of Red Apron Butcher; Erik Bruner-Yang of Toki Underground; Mike Friedman of Red Hen; and Dylan Fultineer of Rappahannock Restaurants. Each must produce six dishes from one whole heritage-breed pig, with the crowd deciding who will go on to compete in the Grand Cochon at the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen in June and win a four-day wine experience to the Rioja region of Spain.
4. The whole-hog celebration: In addition to the whole-pig butchering demonstrations, event-goers can enjoy a half pig prepared in a “late-night Asian speakeasy style” by The Source chef Scott Drewno and Vidalia chef-owner Jeffery Buben before dessert and the awards ceremony. We’re not exactly sure what that means, but it’s not a giant leap to assume it’ll be delicious.
5. Porky desserts: What chef can resist the allure of using pork in every aspect of a meal? (Last year, Neighborhood Restaurant Group pastry chef Tiffany MacIsaac incorporated pig blood into a chocolate blood pudding pop.) We don't yet know what Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams and David Guas of Bayou Bakery have in store for the Swine & Sweets ice cream course, but we’re hoping it pushes the envelope.