By Robin GOLDSWORTHY
It wasn’t the chilliest of days nor was it (surprisingly) the hottest. In fact, the weather was nearly perfect for the 12th Annual Wine & Gourmet Food Tasting held on the afternoon of Sept. 28 at La Cañada Memorial Park. The annual event, sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of La Cañada, the LCF Educational Foundation Endowment Fund, Le Petit Vendome and the LCF Chamber of Commerce, raised thousands of dollars, the majority through the live premium wine auction, earmarked for the education foundation.
Pat Anderson, CEO and president of the LCF Chamber, said there was a definite increase in attendance from last year’s event making it profitable and enjoyable for ticketholders who paid about $50 to attend.
“The event went extremely well,” said Anderson. “I wish I could order that weather every year.” Anderson estimated that attendance increased from 400 guests to about 700 this year.
Eric Rowse is a chef with Claud & Company Catering and Eatery. The company was one of the 20 food vendors at Memorial Park and has been at the Gourmet Wine & Food Tasting for the last several years. Rowse worked the event the last four or five years.
“This is definitely a stronger attendance,” he said. “We enjoy taking part in this type of event. It’s incredibly good for business.” The company is preparing to open its newest restaurant, Bacchus, in Pasadena and gave samples of its fare to eager guests.
Another vendor was Nancy Scott who represented amateur and at-home wine makers.
“We’re here to promote the hobby,” said Scott who provided samples of a variety of homemade wines. “[Making wine at home] is similar to returning to the farm-to-table days, but we’ve been doing it for 40 years.”
Le Petit Vendome has been a Wine & Gourmet Food Tasting sponsor for 11 years.
“We want to be a part of the community,” said storeowner Lynn Tram Antonio. “It is such a good cause.”
Many of the wine vendors offered special pricing for the event in addition to providing pours of their wines. One wine – the Bela Lugosi Malbec from Undiscovered Wines – was not only rich in texture but also was a nod to the Lugosi family that resides in La Cañada.
In contrast, Wine Warehouse poured a variety of beers – 12 in all – that pleased the palate of even the most discriminating connoisseur.
Anderson said that the success of the event was easy to measure.
“A lot of the vendors left with empty pots,” she said. “The last couple of years those ticketholders who came early left early, but this year almost everyone left at the very end of the event.”