Never been to a tasting event? Imagine walking into a conventional hall - upon entry you are given a plate and a wine glass. As you walk down the aisles, your favorite chefs await you with samples of their signature dishes. When you get thirsty, someone appears to fill your wine glass with a vast array of reds, whites or beer. Feeling full? Bust a move on the dance floor in the front of the hall. Donating to charity has never been so delicious or intoxicating!
Taste of the Nation, Boston, will be this Thursday, April 2nd at the Hynes Convention Center. Over 75 restaurants will participate including some of my favorites: Upstairs on the Square, EVOO, La Morra and Hamersely's Bistro. Each restaurant sets up a table and their staff will offer samples. In between tables of restaurants are 50 tables of wineries and breweries. And, of course, Pellegrino (Nestle Waters) will be on hand to refresh us.
The VIP reception starts at 5.30pm (general admission is 6.30). It costs a bit more, but to me it's worth it: you get an hour jump on the crowds to taste the best dishes. And the VIPs get access to special champagne and caviar tastings.
Why do I love this event especially? Share Our Strength is my charity of choice, and I have volunteered in some capacity for the last 15 years. Operation Frontline (their direct service program) recruits chefs to go into their local communities to teach about cooking and nutrition to families in danger of hunger and malnutrition. I taught classes for 10 years, and sat on their advisory board.
I especially value non-profits that mobilize communities. Instead of giving hand-outs (which obviously are a very important part of the process) they teach and empower people to help themselves.
Taste of the Nation events are organized all across the US. Find an event in your area... click here.