Classics Win at Atlanta Meatball Festival

Last Saturday, I headed out to Belle Isle Square in Sandy Springs for the second annual Atlanta Meatball Festival produced by Taste of Atlanta and hosted by Chef Linda Harrell of Cibo E Beve. Twenty two chefs were on hand under the big tent to share their best meatball creations in this "battle of the balls" where guests were each given a gold coin to use as a voting chip for our favorite meatball! Proceeds from the event benefit Second Helpings Atlanta, which is a social action non-profit serving as a conduit between food donors and the front line agencies which feed the hungry on a daily basis.

Of course, like most popular food items, many cultures claim to be the inventors. Case in point; the meatball is claimed to have been invented by the Chinese, Romans and the Persians and this year’s chefs certainly left no cuisine untested with their unique offerings like:
  • Braised Veal Meatball with Kimchi, Scallions and Charred Orange Vinaigrette from 1Kept
  • Lamb & Ricotta Meatball with Candied Garlic Sauce from 4th & Swift
  • Masala Meatball from Bhojanic 
  • Pork & Smoked Bacon Meatball with Honey Garlic Sauce from Community Smith 
  • Smoked Duck Meatball with Collard Green Kimchi from Food 101 
  • Turkey Poblano Meatloaf Meatball with Jalapeno Tequila Gravy from Madre + Mason
  • Shanghainese Lion's Head Meatball with Vermicelli Noodles and Cabbage from Makan
  • Fried Chicken and Champagne Meatball from Max's Wine Dive
  • Toragashi Spiced Lamb Meatball with Pita Almond Crisp, Tomato, Shisa Tzatziki Sauce from One Flew South 
  • Korean Dirty Rice Meatball from Rathbun's
  • Smoked Duck Meatball with Fire Roasted Poblano Puree and Cotija Cheese Cream from Smoke Ring 
  • Shrimp Meatball with Thai Coconut Curry and Jasmine Rice from STK Atlanta 

Even with all the innovative and original presentations, I couldn’t help but be attracted to the traditional sauce-smothered, Italian-style meatball (25 years of marriage to an Italian perhaps?) thus my gold coin went to Davio’s whose classic delicate meatball doused with balanced, gentle tomato sauce is the genuine article and worthy of the name “meatball.”

I must not be the only one with this same penchant for a traditional meatball since all three of this year’s finalists (who will compete in the Meatball Throw Down during Taste of Atlanta at the end of September) were made in the classic Roman style:
  • American Kobe Beef Meatball with Caciocavallo from Davio's Atlanta 
  • No. 246 Meatball from No. 246
  • Pork And Beef Polpette from Colletta

And a shout out to Morelli's® for sharing some Maple Bacon Brittle Ice Cream which was an excellent palate cleanser and to Angel’s Envy for sharing their amazing orange-spiked cocktails. Thanks to Brave PR for once again including us in this super enjoyable event again this year!