More than 30 chefs from 10 states prepared tastes of their food and 10 wineries and purveyors kept supporters of Veggie U's fundraising Food & Wine Celebration in Milan, OH very happy last Saturday, 7/18/09. I joined several of my International Wine and Food Society - Columbus Branch members to partake in this event this year. We chartered a mini-bus to do the 2-hour drive for us, letting us all taste as much wine as we wished. (Milan is in farm country near Lake Erie, halfway between Cleveland and Toledo.)
The event supports Veggie U, which provides a 5-week interactive curriculum for fourth-grade and special needs children throughout the U.S. to learn about healthy food and eating. It's part of the Slow Food movement in the U.S. I first learned of Slow Food in my 2007 trip to Barolo, Italy (it was started in nearby Bra in Piedmont). With my friends Roger & Sherran Blair, we luxuriated in a week of Slow Food dinners there, savoring carefully prepared meals each night in our typical 8:30 pm to midnight dinners. As suggested by the name, the Slow Food movement was started in reaction to the opening of the first McDonald's burger joint in Bra in the 1970s.
The 2009 Food & Wine Celebration was wonderful! I've had the pleasure of (over)eating at many such fundraising events over the decades. This was one of the most impressive, in terms of quality of food & wine presented. The chefs prepared most of the food on site and each taste was presented beautifully. The program provided diversions from eating and drinking, with cooking demonstrations, presentations on wine and food pairing, garden tours, and an Iron Chef-like cook-off judged by Food Channel personalities.
Since pictures are worth thousands of words, I'll let my photos do the talking. I've posted 160+ photos from the event on my smugmug photo website in the gallery 2009/07/18 Veggie-U Food & Wine Celebration. There, you can see many of the dishes offered and the chefs who did the cooking right on the spot. Warning: The photos might make you very hungry (or at least salivate)!
Hearty thanks to Sherran Blair for organizing the trip for us! It was definitely "worth the trip!"