Is anyone up for some porcini mushroom risotto?
Last night, hundreds of culinary enthusiasts from around the Elm City assembled at the New Haven Lawn Club for “Taste of the Nation,” the country’s largest hunger relief fund raiser.
Yesterday’s event showcased many of New Haven’s finest restaurants and allowed connoisseurs to taste dishes as diverse as sesame-crusted scallops and a local soup kitchen’s meatloaf.
Well-known local restaurants like Tre Scalini and Union League Caf* participated, providing such epicurean delights as veal with mushrooms and strawberry tarts.
Even Yale University Dining Services got in on the action, offering attendants such well-known dining hall fare as roulade of duck with Connecticut douxelle. Surprisingly, they did not offer tofu-stuffed acorn squash.
Other event highlights included opportunities for wine and beer-tasting, a champagne seminar, and a “chef’s auction,” in which bidders vied for the chance to have chefs cook them multiple-course meals in their own homes.
“It’s a real fun event, but I think what’s interesting and rather unique about it is that the whole food industry is being enabled to help feed people in need,” said Nancy Carrington, executive director of the Connecticut Food Bank.
“Taste of the Nation,” now in its 15th year, is part of a national anti-hunger effort coordinated by Share Our Strength, a Washington, D.C.-based group.
Carrington said the organization’s goal is to raise funds to help fight hunger and poverty around the world.
Share our Strength was formed in 1984, partially in response to the Ethiopia famine.
“It was started — with the belief that it takes more than food to fight hunger. That’s our motto.” said Elizabeth Muniot, field manager for Share Our Strength.
All proceeds from ticket sales went to charity, with half the money going to the Connecticut Food Bank. And with tickets at the door going at $65 each, that amounts to thousands of dollars to help fight hunger in Connecticut.
Founded in 1982, Connecticut Food Bank is a nonprofit organization that serves emergency feeding programs in six of Connecticut’s eight counties, including New Haven. It provides food to an estimated 250,000 people each year, according to the group’s Web site.
Other recipients of the proceeds include Christian Community Action, Hartford College for Women, and End Hunger Connecticut!
According to Share Our Strength’s Web site, “Taste of the Nation” fund-raising events are hosted in over 70 cities across North America, with over 60,000 people attending annually.
“It has raised about $46 million for about 450 organizations worldwide,” Muniot said.
Overall, Share our Strength has raised $90 million to fund more than 1,000 organizations in order to prevent hunger and poverty.