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Bacon Month Starts To Sizzle With Cocktail Party, Baconfest Menu Revealed

By Selena Fragassi in Food on Apr 2, 2015 7:45PM

Turns out it wasn’t a joke when Baconfest declared April to be Bacon Month in the city of Chicago. On Tuesday the group behind the popular culinary pig-out kicked off the 30-day celebration with a cocktail party at ACME Hotel’s Berkshire Room.

The sold-out event gave attendees the chance to drink up bacon-inspired cocktails made by four of Chicago’s elite bartenders, nosh on bacon bites such as BLT sliders and West Town Bakery’s delish bacon macarons and participate in a raffle that awarded tickets to the 7th annual Baconfest coming April 17 and 18 to the UIC Forum.

Before going home, guests also received a swag bag with themed pins, magnets, bacon-flavored lip balm and chocolate covered bacon also from West Town Bakery.

Some of the goodies in the Bacon Month Kickoff party swag bag

Our favorite drink by far was the rich “Breakfast Daquiri” from The Berkshire Room made with Mount Gay Black Barrel Rum, Cruzan Blackstrap Rum, Dark Matter Chocolate City cold-press coffee, fresh-squeezed lemon juice and grape jelly. It was a close call with the “Hawaiian Bacon BBQ” mixer from Benny’s Chop House that banked on a favorite combo: bacon and pineapple. In it was bacon-infused rum, pineapple-infused vodka, pineapple juice, fresh-squeezed lemon juice and smoked saffron simple syrup.

Also tasty was the sweet “Blackstrap Cobbler” from The Dawson made with Lustau Pedro Ximenex Sherry, Lustau Amontillado Sherry, Gosling’s Blackstrap Rum, fresh-squeezed lemon juice and simple syrup and garnished with crispy bacon. And our first drink of the night, “Bacon My Way Downtown” from The Berkshire Room, started the party with a good mix of Mount Gay Black Barrel Rum, Luxardo Abano, aperol, cynar, Blackstrap Bitters and bacon mist.

The kickoff event came on the eve of Baconfest releasing its own menu on Wednesday. More than 170 chefs from around the city will put their best ideas on the block for attendees and for consideration in the Golden Rasher Awards ("the Oscars of the bacon world"). Here are some of the bacon bits you can expect:

For the Friday dinner…
Milk Braised Bacon from Perennial Virant’s Edward Sura & Paul Virant

Honey mashed carrot, oat crumble, watercress, ramp mostardo

Wagyu Beef Loco Moco from Sunda New Asian’s Jess DeGuzman

Applewood smoked bacon with wagyu beef and bacon gravy, quail egg, jasmine rice, topped with spicy banana ketchup

Bacon Praline Bread Pudding from Big Jones’ Paul Fehribach

Bacon and rum bread pudding with goats milk cajeta, bacon, benne, and bacon fat whipped cream

For the Saturday lunch…
Grilled Pork Belly from Celeste’s Nick Lacasse

Honey poached cranberries, roasted carrots, Anson Mills grits

Bacon Chiyawanmushi from Slurping Turtle’s Takashi Yagihashi

Shiitake mushrooms, ginkgo nuts, bacon-dashi glaze and wasabi

Bacon Wrapped Onion Rings from Paddy Longs’ Pat Berger

Alpha King beer-battered bacon-wrapped onion rings with house-made curry ketchup

For the Saturday dinner…
Sweet Onion and Bacon Candle from Travelle’s Tim Graham

A sweet onion and bacon marmalade topped with a bacon candle

Falafel Italiano from Three Aces’ Matt Troost

Bacon and cannellini bean falafel with whipped bacon fat hummus, bacon sambal, and porchetta spiced tzatziki

The Bourbon Babe (“That’ll do pig”) from Pi Gallery Bar’s Nick Martaus

Cocoa nib-infused bourbon, maple black pepper simple syrup, plum bitters, and candied, applewood smoked bacon

Check out the full menu on the official Baconfest website and get the full list of events for Bacon Month here.