There are few experiences closer to foodie heaven than the stunning table set by this year’s Slow Food Nation. Hosted in collaboration with the 2008 Architecture and the City Festival, the event saw San Francisco erupt in a momentous celebration of good, local, and sustainable food. From the beautiful Civic Center Victory Garden to an excellent assortment of films, lectures, and music, the event united over 60,000 people in honest appreciation for the food that sustains us all. One of our highlights by far were the architecturally inspired Tasting Pavilions, offering a culinary tour-de-force of the finest and freshest in 15 food groups. Each innovative pavilion was designed a top bay-area architect and many structured their stands around sustainable building practices. Read on for our favorites!

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Honey + Preserves Pavilion
Second Office‘s Honey and Preserves Pavilion was a splendid summery affair complete with reclining chaises lazing about a green grassy lawn. The structure itself was composed entirely from borrowed berry crates, and beautiful pieces of beeswax art by Jehanne Hale adorned the walls. Delicacies available for tasting included macadamia nut and christmas-berry honeys in addition to preserves made from sour cherries, pumpkin, and red jalapeño.

Pickles + Chutney Pavilion
The pickles and chutney pavilion offered a tour-de-force of of potent, pungent, and absolutely brilliant brined preserves. Sagan Piechota Architecture envisioned the pavilion shaded beneath an sweeping canopy of 3,000 ceiling-suspended mason jar lids. The walls are composed of recycled jars and contain recipes. Tastings included savory and sweet chutneys made from lemon pickle, starfruit, and tomato & spicy carrot.

Cheese Pavilion
With its bright red milk-crate walls and hay-bale interior, the Cheese Pavilion directly referenced the materials used in cheese production. Macy Architecture sourced more than 1,100 milk crates and then zip-tied them together to compose the structure, which was topped with planters sprouting different varietals of grass.

Olive Oil Pavilion
Studio Terpeluk‘s Olive Oil Pavilion consisted of a copse of olive trees surround by two tasting areas entirely encompassed by a beautiful display of light-catching bottles. Reclaimed wood tables took the center stage as visitors sampled from an extensive selection of California olive oil.

Chocolate Pavilion
In creating the Chocolate Pavilion Aidlin Darling Design focused upon the origins of chocolate and incorporated various elements from its production. The smell of freshly milled cacao filled the air of an encampment constructed entirely from reclaimed lumber and hundreds of borrowed shipping pallets.

Spirits Pavilion
Situated beneath a whimsical cloud of opened umbrellas, the Spirit pavilion celebrated a variety of sustainably sourced libations. In approaching the structure, Min|Day aimed to re-capture the ambiance of by-gone saloons, showcasing a bright brass still and reveling in the particularly American nature of the classic cocktail.

Check out the Inhabitat Flickr for more photos!

+ Slow Food Nation

Photo credit: Mike Chino