Blueberry and White Chocolate Chip Jumbo Cookie and the SF Food Swap

by Irvin on June 13, 2011 · 12 comments

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Blueberry White Chocolate Chip jpg

A couple of months ago, my friend Azmina forwarded me a New York Times article about this crazy new party trend called “Food Swaps” happening all over the country (okay, maybe just in hipster places like Austin, Brooklyn and Portland but still). Azmina had asked me if I knew of one happening in San Francisco, and I said I didn’t and we should just start our own. But then, it turns out, we didn’t have to, as SF had their very first one last month! I tweeted Azmina about it the minute I found out, (she strangely did not sign up however) but I immediately signed up for myself. Though overloaded with food events that weekend (the SF Food Blogger Bake Sale that I was helping to organize and the Meals on Wheels Gala which I was attending, both of which I WILL be blogging about soon) I carved out some time to bring a trio of jumbo cookies. Included in that pack of cookies was my Blueberry and White Chocolate Chip Jumbo Cookie.

Swappers writing down their offers in a desperate attempt to get what they want.

So here’s how a Food Swap works. You show up with 5 to 10 items that are prepackaged and ready to swap. You also show up with samples of your item to entice other people into swapping with you. The classic food swap items would be something like homemade jam or chutney, or honey or eggs (if you’re the sort of urban dweller that keeps bees on your rooftop or chickens in your backyard – no store bought stuff!). You want to something both unique and individual, but not TOO off the beaten path (show up with something crazy and no one will want it. Show up with something too familiar, and people will ignore it because they can get it at the store. You want to find that sweet spot in the middle.). You spend a little time sampling everyone’s wares and you write down your name on a piece paper next to the item offered, as well as what you have to offer as a swap. Not everyone will take you up on your offer, so write down offers on as many items as you want.

My food swap station jpg

The food swap was scheduled from Noon to 3pm and there was also a potluck brunch that went along with it. People brought some fantastic stuff for the potluck part, from maple candied bacon (this went fast! I snagged the last piece) to devil eggs and coffee cake to salads. I brought some leftover muffins that I had rescued from the SF Food Blogger Bake Sale that didn’t sell (hey, I didn’t have time to make anything! Don’t look at me like that). The brunch part was pretty fantastic, with people asking why certain items weren’t part of the swap (I TOTALLY would have swapped my cookies for a pack of maple candied bacon – and I was not the only one).

the Food Swap Brunch Potluck jpg

The food swap itself was pretty awesome. I didn’t know what to expect but I arrived with five packs of jumbo cookies to swap and an open mind. My friend Sabrina of The Tomato Tart had said she was going to show up as well, but she was overwhelmed with other events going on that weekend and was feeling under the weather. As I walked in, I saw a huge table that was set up, running down the middle of the apartment, loaded with treats. With some trepidation, I thought to myself “oh man, I hope my stuff is worthy of the awesomeness I see before me.”

The May SF Food Swap

The first SF Food Swap jpgs

Alone, but open to meeting others, I was happy to run into my friend Mary who had brought some homemade Srirachi sauce (a recipe from the fabulous Andrea Nguyen’s blog, Viet World Kitchen). I made sure that I wrote down my name for one of those!

Mary's homemade Srirachi sauce jpg

One of the secrets to being a successful food swapper is to have your stuff attractively packaged. The prettier the package, the more likely you’ll have someone coveting your item. Being the designer that I am, I had made sure to create a proper label for my cookies, as well as packaged them in a professional manner. This, of course, nearly backfired on me, as I had one woman ask me where else I could get my cookies. I asked her to clarify as I was totally confused by the questions. “Oh you know. Where do you sell them?” I told her that I didn’t. I was a food blogger and I don’t sell my baked goods commercially. Her eyes widen and she quickly wrote down her name on my paper, as she explained that she had hoped she could just buy my cookies at Rainbow Grocery (a local food co-op) and she hadn’t realized that I wasn’t a commercial vendor.

Trio of Jumbo Cookies Package jpg

Lesson: Make sure your stuff looks attractive, but not TOO attractive/professional I guess.

That said, the food swap items ranged from home jams and marmalade to vanilla extract, savory sweet simple syrups, vodka infused beverages, to candied walnuts, homemade chutney, kimchi, perogi dumplings, enchiladas, pickles, hummus, caramel candies and more. It was hard to pick what I wanted to swap with, and in truth I felt bad that I had only brought five cookie bags to swap.

Orange Marmalade jpg

Various flavored simple syrups jpg

An assortment of jams, extracts and pollen jpg

After wandering about, taking pictures and sampling food, I went back to my item and saw that people had not only sampled my cookies, but had written down their names for my cookies! So many, in fact, that they had spilled over to another sheet of paper! Whoo hoo! I was loved.

My trio of jumbo cookies for swapping jpg

When they announced the items were ready for swapping, people started to bargain and I pretty much made a bee line to the items that I wanted, offering what I had. One of the things to keep in mind is to not take it personal when you ask to swap and people say no. With only five items to swap, I had to be judicious about what I chose and in the end I had to, sadly, refuse someone who has asked me if I wanted to swap. If I had more items, I totally would have taken her offer, but since I was down to one cookie pack, I needed to save it for the savory sweet simple syrup.

Kombucha, jams, pickles jpg

Homemade Tomato Salsa jpg

Trio of savory sweet simple syrups jpg

In the end I scored homemade kimchi, vanilla limoncello, srirachi, blackberry jam and a trio of savory sweet simple syrups. There was so much more that I wanted to swap for and I know if I make it to another Food Swap, I’m definitely bringing more items.

My take homes from the Food Swap jpg

For those who are interested, the next SF Food Swap will be held this coming Sunday, June 19th. For more information about it you can pop over to the SF Swappers Facebook page or reserve a space at the event at their Eventbrite page (it’s totally free to attend). There will also be a special guest, Kate Payne, the blogger and author of Hip Girl’s Guide to Homemaking, who will be there with some of her fabulous books for sale.

For more pictures from the SF Food Swap in May, feel free to visit my flickr page and check out my Food Swap set.

In the meanwhile, if you weren’t one of those five people who got my jumbo cookie trio, here’s the recipe for the Blueberry and White Chocolate Chip Jumbo Cookie. Enjoy and I hope to see you at the next food swap!

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Caroline @ chocolate and carrots June 13, 2011 at 5:09 am

Those giant cookies look amazing…and perfectly packaged too! :-)

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Belinda @zomppa June 13, 2011 at 7:54 am

I’m pretty sure I would not want to swap these. Pour me some milk!

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Bethany ~ PDX Food Swap / Sustainable Food For Thought June 13, 2011 at 11:52 am

I love it! So fun to see images and recipes from swaps around the country… Next time you’re in Portland, bring a few extra cookies to our swap!

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Mary June 13, 2011 at 8:59 pm

Irvin – Great post. Your cookies were so awesome! The packaging was gorgeous. And thank you for sharing the last slice of maple-candied bacon. Bummer, I’m going to miss the next Swappers, but hoping to catch your next DIY event @ 18 Reasons.

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Lawyer Loves Lunch June 14, 2011 at 2:29 pm

So BUMMED I missed this! The move back to suburbia and the Mini Me are sucking up all my free time. But next time, I’m in (and until then, I’ll just live vicariously through your fabulous updates) :)

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Brooke June 14, 2011 at 3:23 pm

WHY are those jumbo cookie packs the lovliest thing I’ve ever seen? I’ll take twelve, stat.

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Lauren at Keep It Sweet June 15, 2011 at 3:16 am

I never heard of a food swap, but what an awesome concept! I’d definitely consider participating in one. Your cookies look great, and definitely a great balance of familiarity but uniqueness!

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wheat free cakes June 15, 2011 at 9:38 am

Hello,
Nice article! It will me more chose what I will buy and What I will select for me.
Thank’s

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Mike@The Culinary Lens June 18, 2011 at 5:10 am

This looks like a really fun event. Even the packaging on all this stuff looks so good. I have a feeling I may have arrived and then quietly sneaked out the door head hanging in shame :)
Thank you for sharing this

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Dana June 21, 2011 at 4:12 pm

Reason #1,000,000 I would like to live in SF – I want to participate! What a super fun event and everyone’s stuff looks just amazing. I would totally have written down your cookies.

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Irvin June 25, 2011 at 1:49 am

And I would LOVE it if you DID move down here! That said, Seattle has it’s own food swap. You should check it out. http://seattleswappers.blogspot.com/

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JPolly July 26, 2011 at 2:41 am

I made these cookies. Loved them. My friends loved them. I blogged about them. I credited you. http://inthekitchenwithpolly.com/blueberry-chip-cookies/ I think I will have to try that Strawberry Cream Cookie next. Do you have an Orange Creamsicle Cookie yet? Please try…. :D

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