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LDEI-SF in collaboration with the San Francisco Professional Food Society Learn-and-Taste Event


Wednesday, March 16, 2011 from 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM (PDT)


Ticket Information

Ticket Type Remaining Sales End Price Fee Quantity
LDEI-SF + SFPFS Members Only 87 Tickets Ended $35.00 $1.86
Non-Members 39 Tickets Ended $40.00 $1.99
Students 41 Tickets Ended $10.00 $1.24
Press 22 Tickets Ended Free $0.00


Event Details


Vanilla Orchid

Beyond the silky sexiness of food essentials vanilla, saffron, coffee and chocolate, there lies a world of political intrigue. Join "Vanilla Queen" Patricia Rain, Juan San Mames, Saffron King, Mark Magers of Divine Chocolate and Janet Fletcher as moderator, as we explore a surprising and sometimes shocking look at the intrigue behind each of these crops. We will experience tastings featuring these exotic ingredients. 

We will meet in the Starr King Room at the Unitarian Church in San Francisco. Limited street parking (watch for tow times on parking signs during rush hours) so consider nearby pay lots. Directions and nearby lots are included with Eventbrite confirmation when you sign up. 


Patricia RainLes Dames member Patricia Rain, author of Vanilla: The Cultural History of the World's Favorite Flavor and Fragrance, is an internationally recognized specialist on the tropical plant, vanilla and owner of the award-winning, socially-conscious, web-based business, information and resource site, The Vanilla.COMpany and Vanilla-Saffron Imports, advocating for change and hope in the tropics. She is the voice for tropical commodities growers, worldwide, and founder of the International Tropical Farmers Network (ITFN). 
Patricia is a member of Les Dames D'Escoffier International, The Baker's Dozen and the Global Women's Leadership Network. Her passion is supporting young farmers in developing countries and assisting them with educational opportunities and meaningful work opportunities. She lives and works in Santa Cruz, CA.


Mark Magers is CEO of Divine Chocolate, the world's first grower-owned chocolate brand. Divine is owned in part by the 45,000 members of Kuapa Kokoo, a Fair Trade cocoa cooperative in Ghana. Mark spent 4 years as VP Sales of Divine before taking the helm as CEO. Prior to Divine, Mark was VP of Business Development at TransFair USA, the US Fair Trade certification agency.

Mark’s work for the past 10 years has focused on social and environmental justice, specifically on developing consumer-driven and commerce-based solutions to address poverty and dignity issues in developing countries.

Mark has done strategic consulting work in a number of industries, both at Mars & Co, and at Swander Pace, where he focused on strategy development in the food and beverage industries. He also served as VP of Sales & Marketing for the largest coffee grower in the US, Kauai Coffee, and was a founding partner of both greatcoffee.com and The Coffee Review, which won two Forbes Best of Web Awards in 1999 and 2000.


Juan San MamesJuan San Mames was born in Euskadi on the 22 of October of 1947, which is the same day saffron crocuses start to bloom all over the world. He imports the best sun-cured vanilla beans and saffron to the USA. He shares he does not have a passion for food, though he likes to eat good organic food...he has a passion for his wife! He told us he makes the best organic ice cream that you would ever taste; saffron, saffron ginger, Mexican vanilla with Mexican beans and no extract, Tahitensis (which is really Mexican pompona), California fig, Madagascar white cinnamon with apple (not cassia), huckleberry from Oregon, dry cherry and top of the tree red walnut with chocolate. His presentation will be on saffron, Persian which is the best in the world and he believes that whoever writes or says otherwise knows nothing about saffron. Please read his "Consumer Guide to Saffron Purchasing" at www.saffron.com before you come, so you can ask him passionate questions about saffron. By the way Cleopatra did use saffron perfume. Juan wants you to know that his paella is from a recipe first developed in 1530.


About our Moderator

Janet FletcherJanet Fletcher is the author or co-author of more than 20 books on food and wine, including Cheese & Wine: A Guide to Selecting, Pairing, and Enjoying and Fresh from the Farmers’ Market (both Chronicle Books). She is the weekly cheese columnist and a former staff food writer for the San Francisco Chronicle, where her journalism has earned three James Beard Awards. Janet has also written on wine and food topics for numerous national publications, including Saveur, Food & Wine, Fine Cooking and Bon Appétit. Her most recent cookbooks include Eating Local: The Cookbook Inspired by America’s Farmers (Andrews McMeel, 2010); My Calabria, a collaborationwith Rosetta Costantino (W. W. Norton, 2010); and Kokkari: Contemporary Greek Flavors with Erik Cosselmon (Chronicle Books, 2010). Janet trained at the Culinary Institute of America and at Berkeley's celebrated Chez Panisse restaurant. She lives in the Napa Valley. Website: www.janetfletcher.coWebsite: www.janetfletcher.com




Have questions about POLITICS OF THE PALATE: VANILLA, SAFFRON, and CHOCOLATE ? Contact the organizer
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When & Where

Universalist Church of SF
1187 Franklin Street at Geary
San Francisco, CA 94109

Wednesday, March 16, 2011 from 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM (PDT)

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San Francisco, CA Events Food & Drink
LDEI-SF in collaboration with the San Francisco Professional Food Society Learn-and-Taste Event Questions? Call our office at (650) 344-1403

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