After eating my way through Allyn's inaugural Geoduck Festival this weekend, I'm sure I like geoduck. I'm also quite sure I don't like it in my ice cream.
Relatively few of the 2000 geoduck fans who showed up for the event sampled the Olympic Mountain Ice Cream geoduck concoctions, although there was plenty of talk about the lemon ice cream and lime sorbet seeded with clams. When I brought my cone to the cash register, the clerk's stomach rumbled in involuntary disgust. "Sorry about that," she said, putting her hand to her proactively distressed gut.
To Olympic's credit, the sorbet itself was superb. But the chewy, fleshy bits--which added far more texture than flavor--seemed misplaced.
But festival vendors found other, more delicious ways to showcase the sturdy clam, including a geoduck slider, geoduck ceviche, geoduck empanadas, and a terrific fried geoduck on a stick. The meaty, oceanic geoduck made for a memorable clam fritter.
The geoduck snacks were so popular that most of the food was gone by 2 p.m., hours before the event was slated to end. On Twitter, seafood marketer Jon Rowley characterized the festival as a "dress rehearsal for next year."
Next year, perhaps, organizers will straighten out the confusing ticketing system and make sure there isn't a geoduck shortage. And maybe they'll give more guidance to geoduck-derby entrants attempting their first-ever geoduck digs; my rookie team would have benefited from an equipment list and illustrations showing the telltale valve ends that indicate where geoduck diggers should stick their shovels. A map of potential digging spots would have been handy, too: We conducted our dig close to the festival grounds, reasoning a town wouldn't host a geoduck festival unless its beaches were lousy with geoduck. Wrong.
With absolutely no idea what we were doing, we adopted a questionable approach that involved digging deep holes and then lowering me into them. (Perhaps we should have fashioned our strategy before we picked up a case of beer at the Allyn Shell station.) We ended up with muddy clothes and scraped feet--but no geoduck. Still, in recognition of our efforts--and the costumes we wore, not knowing the costume portion of the contest had been cancelled--the organizing committee gave us a stuffed geoduck, T-shirts, and a $50 gift certificate.
First-year stumbles and geoduck ice cream aside, we had a fantastic time at the festival. We'll be back in 2012--with the right spades.