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Eat & Drink » Wine

Taste of the Wasatch

Stuff your face for a worthy cause



For the past 12 years, Taste of the Nation Utah has raised money at its annual food-and-wine event under the umbrella of the national organization Share Our Strength. For most of those years, I emceed the live auction, and we’ve all been proud to raise nearly $1 million during that time to help support three local anti-hunger and anti-poverty beneficiaries: Utahns Against Hunger, the Ogden Weber Community Action Partnership and the Utah Food Bank.

In the past, Share Our Strength took 20 percent of the funds raised to help its national and international anti-hunger/anti-poverty efforts. The remaining 80 percent of funds went to the aforementioned three local charities. However, this year, Share Our Strength announced they’d be taking 40 percent of the Taste of the Nation Utah funds raised, in part to support its No Kid Hungry Campaign, which doesn’t directly impact Utah. So, it was decided that Taste of the Nation Utah would (amicably) break away from Share Our Strength in order to keep the 100 percent of the funds raised available to Utah charities.

The result is that the event formerly known as Taste of the Nation Utah is now called Taste of the Wasatch. As in the past, Solitude Mountain Resort is extremely supportive of this important cause and will be hosting Taste of the Wasatch on Aug. 5. The local beneficiaries remain the same. According to event coordinator Karen Zabriskie, “The fundraiser remains volunteer-driven and a totally cool, awesomely delicious food-and-wine event that will raise funds to end hunger in Utah.”

If anything, this year’s Taste of the Wasatch promises to be even bigger and better than past Taste of the Nation events. If you’ve never attended the event before, you really ought to consider doing so. Most importantly, it supports vital anti-hunger and anti-poverty organizations in our community. Since 1981, Utahns Against Hunger has worked to expand the reach of nutrition programs to the estimated 1 in 6 households in Utah that struggle to afford enough food. Started as a project of Crossroads Urban Center, Utahns Against Hunger works hard not only to feed those in need, but to shape public policy regarding hunger and food issues.

Since 1904, the Utah Food Bank (under various names) has worked to feed the hungry in our community. Its mission statement is simple and straightforward: “Utah Food Bank fights hunger statewide.” It does so through programs such as the Food Box Program, the Commodity Supplemental Food Program, Mobile Food Pantries and after-school programs such as Kids Cafe and the BackPack Program.

Finally, among the many important services operated by the Ogden-Weber Community Action Partnership are emergency food pantries, the Northern Utah Food Co-op and the holiday food-basket program that supplies food baskets to needy families at Thanksgiving and Christmas.

So it goes without saying that the money that pays for your Taste of the Wasatch ticket and any auction items you purchase are going to extremely important charitable causes. You can sleep peacefully at night knowing you’ve done your part to help out. And Taste of the Wasatch is also a complete blast! It’s my single favorite Utah food-and-wine extravaganza of the year, and this year’s lineup of chefs, wineries, entertainment, etc. promises to hit very high notes.

Your $90 Taste of the Wasatch ticket buys you a smorgasbord of great food from more than 50 local restaurants and food suppliers, not to mention plenty of libations, from Smartwater/Vitaminwater and Rimini Coffee to sodas, craft beer from Uinta Brewing Co. and fine wines from Southern Wine & Spirits, Young’s Market, Phoenix Wine & Spirits, Vine Lore, Peter Grisley Selections and more. Live musical entertainment is also part of the package.

This year, a remarkable array of restaurants and chefs will be dishing up great food at Taste of the Wasatch. It’s a long list, but I want to duly recognize the chefs and restaurateurs donating their time, food and skills for this critical charity event. As of press time, the list of contributing restaurants and food purveyors include: The Aerie, Art Institute of Salt Lake City, Beehive Cheese Co., Blue Boar Inn, Caffe Niche, Cali’s Natural Foods Market, Carlucci’s Bakery, Caterina, Cena Ristorante, Chaia Cucina Catering, Chocolot Artisan Chocolates, Christina’s Cakes, Communal Restaurant, The Copper Onion, Cucina Vanina, Cuisine Unlimited, Royal Street Café at Deer Valley, Eatery1025, El Chanate at Snowbird, Empire Lodge, The Farm at Canyons Resort, Montage Deer Valley, Fire & Slice Mobile Wood Fire Pizza, Finca, Franck’s Restaurant, Frida Bistro, The Glitretind, J&G Grill, La Caille, La Bonne Vie at Grand America, Les Madeleines, Liberty Heights Fresh, Log Haven Restaurant, Martine Cafe, Meditrina, Pago, Pallet Bistro, P.F. Chang’s China Bistro, Plum Alley, Red Iguana, Sage’s Cafe, Salt Lake POP, Silver Star Cafe, Snowbird Resort, So Cupcake, St. Bernard’s, Tuscany, Utah Food Bank Kids Cafe, Veloce, Vertical Diner, Vinto, Westgate Grill, Windy Ridge Cafe, The Yurt at Solitude and Zy Food Wine & Cheese. In addition, Utah Bakers Dozen will showcase fine desserts from more than 15 of the state’s best pastry chefs and bakers.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the important Taste of the Wasatch 2012 sponsors, without whom the event couldn’t succeed: Glaceau Smartwater, Sysco Intermountain, CenturyLink, The Byrne Family, Solitude Mountain Resort and Whole Foods Market. And it’s also obvious that an event like Taste of the Wasatch couldn’t happen without the generous support of local chefs, restaurateurs and beverage suppliers, not to mention all of the various companies, businesses, organizations and individuals that donate goods and services for the silent and live auctions, as well as the numerous volunteers who keep the whole thing running smoothly.

Tickets can be purchased online at TasteOfTheWasatch.org. I hope to see you there.

Solitude Mountain Resort
12000 Big Cottonwood Canyon, Solitude
Sunday, Aug. 5
Noon-4 p.m.
$90 in advance/$100 day of event, $125 reserved VIP