This past weekend was a food extravaganza in Madison, with the Food for Thought festival reigning on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard on Saturday.
However, I'd like to make a brief report about one of Madison's happiest fundraisers, the fifteenth edition of which took place on Sunday morning at the Brink Lounge: Java Jive, a benefit for the , Ground Zero and its sibling Cargo Coffee, Indie Coffee, JavaCat, Michelangelo's and its State Street brethren at Fair Trade Coffee House, and the Washington Hotel Coffee Room, along with Macha Teahouse for the tea crowd.
I tried as many coffees as I could before it seemed unwise to continue. Ancora's Dominican Gold, Johnson Brother's Organic Ethiopian Amaro Gayo Natural Processed, Cargo's Atomic Brew and Indie Coffee's chai latte all stood out. The Johnson Brothers Ethiopian was probably the brew that stuck with me the most, a lighter cup than I usually drink with brighter notes, pleasant to drink sans milk, even to someone who usually likes some whole milk to top off a much darker roast.
After all the straight-up coffee, Indie's chai latte was a sweet, but not too sweet, way to come down -- as were Macha's green teas.
The brunch, provided by some 23 local bakers, grocers, confectioners and restaurants, is more unsung. Scones, bagels, coffee cakes, cookies, bars, muffins and cupcakes along with fruit, cold cuts and sandwich fixings, and mini-quiches, are heaped on platters but not individually labeled as to which purveyor provided what. So if you're intent on finding, say, Lazy Jane's scones among the pastries, you need to have a sharp eye and excellent area baked goods recognition skills.
I'm 98% sure my red velvet cupcake came from Daisy Cafe and Cupcakery, and I'd guess that a moist granola cookie might have come from Nature's Bakery, but beyond that, I'm at a loss. I had a nice blueberry crumbcake from someone (feel free to get in touch with me, blueberry crumbcake baker). Macha Teahouse also supplied diminutive cookies, one flavored with cardamom and the other a thai basil lemon oat, both of which were outstanding.
One of the nicest things about Java Jive is that groups of people come to meet each other, sit and talk, nibble and sip, reconnect, relax, and basically do brunch -- this time for a cause. Sunday morning at last put to good use.