What’s better than great food? Great food for an even better cause! I have been fortunate to attend Taste of the Nation Orlando for several years now & am always blown away by the event, not only due to the great food & drinks but also because of the amazing contributions it makes to Central Florida. Funding solutions for hunger relief in the area for the last 25 years, Taste of the Nation Orlando has raised almost $3 million for the Coalition for the Homeless & the Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida — amazing! This year’s event was bigger & better than ever.
My guest & I had an incredible time sampling offerings from the best local chefs & spirits. Because I have such a sweet tooth I began with desserts: cheesecakes, local fruit & pastries as far as the eye could see. We couldn’t help ourselves & paired desserts with delicious wine. A wine aficionado, tasting different wine offerings is always one of my favorite things to partake at Taste of the Nation. This year my favorite wine was Barefoot‘s Sparkling Pinot Grigio, it’s the perfect drink to have on a hot summer day. Make sure to grab a bottle next time you’re at the market, give it a taste & tell me I’m not right. Heaven.
As a vegetarian, I’m always nervous I won’t have many options at events but at Taste of the Nation that’s never a problem — there are plenty of delicious plant based options! And even if a dish is listed with meat in it, most chefs are happy to accommodate vegetarians by excluding the meat. The JW Marriott station had shrimp with grits & as soon as I informed the chef I was a vegetarian he had his team prepare a non-shrimp version for me that was to die for. I’ve never been a grits fan but after that dish I’m a convert. Bring on the creamy, buttery, southern grits!
In addition to all the delicious food & drinks I had the incredible opportunity to meet Food Network’s Melissa D’Arabian. I’m happy to report she’s as nice as she looks on TV, super approachable, friendly & engaging. I would expect nothing less from a fellow Alpha Chi Omega (shout out to my sorority!); we couldn’t help ourselves & took a picture representing AXO.
In all, Taste of the Nation Orlando 2014 was a delight. If you have never attended make sure to put this event on your calendar for next year. It’s a must do in Central Florida!