Love food and culinary history? Check out the annual FUZE SW Food + Folklore Festival in Santa Fe. The inaugural event in 2013 was centered on Latin America and the colonial New World and included a lot of chile and chocolate. This year, the weekend focuses on “Native American foodways” and their “intersection with Spanish culture.”
FUZE SW takes place at the Museum of International Folk Art on Museum Hill in Santa Fe. This year's event is scheduled for from Friday, Sept. 12, through Sunday, Sept. 14. The festival's website explains their mission: “FUZE SW is a food conference where the past and present, the folklore and the customs that created a uniquely New Mexico culinary tradition are explored.” It’s a weekend with “lots of great food, drink, and camaraderie with fellow food enthusiasts.”
La Boca Chef James Campbell Caruso (right) puts the finishing touches on paella at FUZE SW 2013, assisted by Delicious New Mexico staff members — Photo courtesy of Serge Nurod, courtesy of FUZE SW
Santa Fe has a reputation as a serious food town. Prominent food writers and chefs - many of whom are James Beard Award-winners - have settled here. Some of these illustrious personalities, including cookbook authors Deborah Madison, Lois Ellen Frank, Bill and Cheryl Alters and Chef Mark Kiffen of The Compound, are presenters at this year’s event.
Celebrity chef John Sedlar of Rivera in LA (who is opening his new restaurant, Eloisa, in Santa Fe this fall) and acclaimed ¡Ask a Mexican! columnist Gustavo Arellano will also be there. They’ll be joined by Native American authors, chefs and farmers as well as an impressive roster of food and culture experts including historians, archaeologists, anthropologists and folklorists.
Presenters will talk about and demonstrate “how traditions and techniques comprising this state’s diverse heritages have intersected to create culinary traditions and lifeways uniquely New Mexican.”
Sliders and other good eats at the opening reception for FUZE SW 2013 at the Santa Fe School of Cooking — Photo courtesy of Steve Collins
The weekend will be loaded with dining opportunities and tastings. Friday lunch, "The Real Deal: A Grandmothers’ Spread," will focus on the foods that local Native American and Hispanic peoples were traditionally served at home. On Friday night, the action moves over to the Santa Fe Farmers Market in the Railyard for the Second Annual Green Chile Cheeseburger Smackdown. (Ticketing for this event is separate.) Following this, there’s a “dine-around.”
Cookbook authors Deborah Madison (left) and Cheryl Alters Jamison (right) during a panel discussion at FUZE SW 2013 — Photo courtesy of Steve Collins
Saturday’s lunch brings a food truck extravaganza put on by Santa Fe’s new Street Food Institute. Among the offerings: food from Oaxaca. On Saturday evening, there will be two food events. "¡Adios, FUZE! A Frito-pie ‘n’ Brew Tasting" starts the evening off with Santa Fe’s Five & Dime’s famed Frito-pies, accompanied by New Mexico craft brews.
An added treat: Gustavo Arellano will be “spinning the 10 best immigration songs.” Following this is a “buffalo feast,” featuring grass-fed buffalo accompanied by organic side dishes. All will be purchased form New Mexico farmers and ranchers and prepared by Weldon Fulton, chef/owner of the Museum Hill Café. There will be other food and beverage tastings throughout the weekend.
Sunday brunch at the Four Seasons Resorts' FS Taste Truck — Photo courtesy of Steve Collins
On Sunday, the FUZE SW MarketPlace on Museum Hill, taking place from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., is open to the public and free of charge. New Mexico-grown, -produced and -prepared foods will be offered for sale by local vendors (along with food tastings). Additional events include Native American music and dance performances, cooking demonstrations, bread making in a horno (traditional wood-fired clay oven), cookbook signings and a green chile roast. There will also be food trucks selling their wares. The Santa Fe Botanical Garden, across the road from the International Folk Art Museum, will be offering free tours.
FUZE SW Food + Folklore Conference is a must for any food lover who is curious about the traditions that led to Northern New Mexican cuisine, a unique amalgam of Native American and Hispanic food traditions. If last year’s conference is any indication, a good time will be had by all.