We dropped by Capital Confections for preview tastes of two unusual items that owner Teresa Higgins has concocted for the second annual TomatoFest. Her store is at Town & Country village, the site of Saturday's all-things-tomato celebration (9 a.m. to 4 p.m.).
Earlier this year, Higgins created the Red Hot Chili Truffle - chili oil-infused ganache covered in a dark-chocolate shell. It was a hit, but it wasn't hot enough for some chocolate-lovers. So she added more fire for a second version, the Double Hot.
For a special TomatoFest novelty item, she added sun-dried tomato to the original hot truffle to produce the Lil Hot Tomata Truffle. It packs a bit of fire, plus bits of subtly flavored sun-dried tomato. Give it a thumbs-up. It and the other two truffles are $2.50 per 1.5-ounce piece.
Higgins didn't stop there. She conferred with Rick Blakeney, president of the Latest Scoop Italian ice-cream company in Berkeley, to develop a creamy tomato gelato, which I tasted Saturday. It gets its texture and flavor from tomato puree and diced sun-dried tomato. Think "tomato bisque meets gelato." Among my notes: "Tomato tang in every bite...balanced flavor...rich gelato." Another thumbs-up. Individual servings are $3.50 to $8.25.
As for the second annual TomatoFest, those tomatoes growing in your backyard garden could be a "cash crop. At stake is $500 in prize money for each winner in three tomato categories: largest, smallest and ugliest. The tomatoes must be ripe. Contestants can download entry forms at www.theterracecuisine.com, or register tomatoes in person by 9:30 a.m. Saturday.
Also: Restaurant chefs will compete for the Orient & Flume glass-art trophy and bragging rights as they prepare their best salsa, bruschetta and cold or hot tomato-based soup (samples will be available to help attendees decide on the People's Choice Award). Last year's grand-prize winner was chef Jon Nelson of Sienna in El Dorado Hills.
Look for a village-wide sidewalk sale, live music, art displays, winetasting, gardening demonstrations, cooking demonstrations, a children's area, a Tomato Trot for kids 13 and younger, and performances by the Sacramento Theatre Company. Plus: fried green tomatoes.
Town & Country Village is at Marconi and Fulton avenues, Sacramento; (916) 933-4056, www.shoptownandcountry.com.