SAACA - World Margarita Championship
WORLD MARGARITA CHAMPIONSHIP AT HILTON EL CONQUISTADOR
What a night!
This time around I got a seat at the judges table along with fellow foodies Melissa Stihl from Tucson Foodie and Matt Russel from On The Menu Live! A pleasure judging alongside them at just another fabulous event put on by the Southern Arizona Arts & Cultural Alliance.
The top 3 Judges Choice winners of the night were:
1. Casino Del Sol's Tequila Factory - Hielo Verde Margarita
2. Fresco Pizzeria - Bitter Blood Orange Margarita
3. The Lodge on the Desert's Cielos - " Kiss Me Through The Foam" Fig and Apricot Margarita
Peoples choice winners were:
1. Rigo's Mexican Restaurant - Dragon Fruit Margarita
2. Chef Chic - Purple Blossom Margarita
3. Guadalajara Grill - Spicy Mango Margarita
There was also a category for best bite in this event and the judges choice was the Chiltepin + White Sonoran Wheat Salad with Whipped Goat Cheese & Prickly Pear from Casino Del Sol's Tequila Factory and the people's choice was Rigo's Barbacoa.
The experience behind the scenes was fabulous and allowed me to enjoy everything the participants had to offer even more by carefully sipping and biting into their margaritas and small bites. I appreciated those who put the time and effort into giving an excellent presentation along with a detailed description of their pairings. Casino Del Sol's Tequila Factory was very deserving of an award in both categories because of what I personally felt was such a unique experience in both their margarita and food. Their Hielo Verde margarita just hit it out of the ballpark in terms of creativity and flavor. It was perfectly balanced and every sip was just as refreshing as the next. Their wheat salad was so different and creative with their whipped goat cheese and prickly pear jam on top. Layers of flavor that were exciting to the palate.
Fresco's Margherita Margarita also brought something very original to the table with a tomato basil rim instead of your usual salt or sugar. It was magnificent and I'm pretty sure I licked the whole rim off first on that one.
Cielo's Kiss Me Through The Foam was quite the charmer as well with their chile foam as garnish. I mean to be honest just the name captivated me from the start. They should be proud of their garnish and their food pairing because that ceviche that I hope all of you got to taste was pretty delicious and light and just my kind of ceviche with a lot of limón.
I have one last comment to make coming from a person that loves spicy things, Guadalajara Grill's Spicy Mango Margarita was to me such a glorious spicy thing to taste. Tajín rimmed with mango chunks inside it just tasted like a good ole mango chamoyada or straight up mango with tajín like the kind you buy at the beach in Mexico from the guy with the cart. A recommendation for all my fellow spice lovers indeed.
Please enjoy some pictures from a couple of the participants below!
Thank you to the Southern Arizona Arts & Cultural Alliance for the opportunity to be part of the judging panel. If you couldn't make it to this event make sure you get your tickets to the next one! The Salsa, Tequila and Taco challenge is coming up very soon on September 2nd, Labor Day weekend!
Tickets available here: https://www.saaca.org/salsatequila.html