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World Championship Abalone Cook-Off

Tickets for the general public will soon go on sale. As for the date? Look to autumn, abalone aficionados.

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    World Championship Abalone Cook-Off
    Will Patterson
    Tickets for the general public will soon go on sale. As for the date? Look to autumn, abalone aficionados.

    IF SEAFOOD IS YOUR GO-TO, and you've enjoyed a plethora of decadent, interesting, and zingy dishes over the decades, recalling every salmon filet you've eaten, and every shrimp, may not be so easy. You can probably summon your favorite salmon, and the restaurant name, or at least the city, and you'll be able to list a few shrimp staples, the eateries that do it best. But a complete list? Of everything seafoody you've consumed, as well as when and where? That may be too tricky, unless you have a food diary nearby. But there is an exception here, and it goes by the hallowed name of abalone. The storied mollusk isn't often eaten, compared to many other straight-out-of-the-ocean delicacies, and finding it on a menu is a bit of a rare thing nowadays. Farm-raised abalone is flavorfully making a showing, but, still: Abalone aficionados can likely recall most every place and time they've sat down to a plate of gastropodian gourmet-a-tude. Which makes the...

    WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP ABALONE COOK-OFF... a stand-out on the abalone seeker's calendar. The fall event, which is happening in 2017 on Oct. 7, is a Fort Bragg tradition, one that takes place South Noyo Harbor (that's right, South Noyo is also home to the World's Largest Salmon BBQ each July). The abalone showdown is an intense one, involving diving teams and the procuring of the mollusks, all while heeding the important Department of Fish and Wildlife rules. In short? There's a fascinating back story to the cook-off that few food festivals boast. There are also some good-to-knows, such as the fact that farm-raised abalone will be made available, if assembling a diving expedition is out of the question for a cooking team. And as for that on-sale date? It's Saturday, July 1, at least for the general public, and tickets are $90 each. Read everything, and feel free to bone up on your abalone knowledge, ahead of what can rightly be called a highly unique cook-off, which is saying something, in a day and age where cooking competitions flower quite prodigiously.