This week, we’re looking forward to Tuesday night’s 28th annual Taste of the Nation. This annual benefit event gathers dozens of the Ithaca area’s restaurants, chefs, wineries, beer and other beverage producers, and even musicians for a gala night aimed at ending childhood hunger.
For the last few years, Taste of the Nation has taken place at Ithaca College’s Athletics & Events Center on the east end of campus, with plenty of space for the event and lots of parking.
With three dozen restaurants and other eateries paired with Finger Lakes wineries, distilleries, breweries, and more, Taste of the Nation is really a Taste of Ithaca, and a Taste of the Finger Lakes. There’s no better chance to get a representative sample of the cooking from such a wide range of local chefs, not to mention live music from The Destination.
For many of the participants, June is the busiest time of year. The Farmers Market is in full swing, wedding season has begun, and tourism keeps restaurants hopping. Leslie Muhlhahn from Just Desserts, a bakery and catering company, says, “We’re all busy, but being sure hungry kids get fed is important.”
Taste of the Nation gives local chefs a chance to introduce attendees to the kinds of foods their restaurants serve every day, but more importantly, it gives chefs an opportunity to stretch out and show off a bit. The result is a wonderful mix of comfort food and fancy hors d’oeuvres, in many cases with both meaty and vegetarian or vegan versions.
Participating vendors this year include Sweet Melissa’s Ice Cream, The Rook, Taverna Banfi, Six Mile Creek Vineyard, Myer Farm Distillers, Copper Horse Coffee, Bellwether Hard Cider, Finger Lakes Cheese Alliance, Just a Taste, Gola Osteria, Northstar House, the BoatYard Grill, Ryan William Vineyard, Shepherdess Cellars, Istanbul Turkish Kitchen, and many more.
100% of revenue from ticket sales goes to support anti-hunger organizations, and 60% of the funds support organizations in our region. Among them are the Food Bank of the Southern Tier’s backpack program, sending school kids home with healthy food for the weekend; Healthy Food for All; Ithaca’s healthy elementary school snack program; and Hunger Solutions New York.
The VIP reception begins at 5:30, general admission starts at 6:30, and $40 of your ticket price is considered a tax-deductible donation.
This year’s Taste of the Nation is Tuesday night, June 13th. For more information, a full list of restaurants and beverage producers, directions, and advance tickets, just visit ce.nokidhungry.org/ithaca. (Click the Ambassadors tab for a list of ticket ambassadors and their discount codes to receive $20 off per ticket.) Tickets are also available at the door.