Hunger stimulating aromas filled the air with the buzz of voices inside the Gene Bianchi Community Center for the fourth annual Taste of Oakdale hosted by the Oakdale Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday evening, Aug 28.
With glass and plate in hand, people wandered through the rows of local food and beverage establishments of wineries, restaurants, grocery stores, and other palate pleasing enterprises offering samples for a moveable feast highlighting what the Oakdale area has to offer.
Whether it was mouthwatering brisket from Medlen’s House of Beef, an appetizing soup from Café Bliss, or the delectable chile relleno from Beret Rouge, the Taste of Oakdale had at least something for everyone’s tastebuds.
Silkwood and Sorelle Winery along with Raley’s of Oakdale were pouring award winning vintages to add to the slight slurps of satisfaction as event goers munched between offerings.
Kevin Tazelaar, owner of Oakdale’s California Gold Olive Oil Company, was featuring his award winning extra virgin olive oil.
“We’ve been at Taste of Oakdale since its inception,” said Tazelaar. “I’m proud of what we offer.”
Firenze Ristorante of Oakdale was serving three versions of its ravioli that were bursting with flavor and were among the many food options available to show attendees.
Many were in line for the Oakdale Golf and Country Club’s braised short rib served on a bed of garlic mashed potatoes and chocolate raspberry cake dessert.
The club’s food and beverage director and executive chef, Daniel Quint, said he was very excited to be at the event again this year.
“Even though the club is closed to the public, we want to showcase that we are opening up to those interested for banquets and events at the country club,” said Quint.
In addition to the delectable dish featured, Quint had on display food sculptures of carved fruits and vegetables that could be added for scheduled events.
Even with a year between events, it still took a lot of planning on the part of the Chamber CEO Mary Guardiola to convince new local restaurants and businesses of the marketing value of such a gala.
“Four years ago we started with only 16 booths,” said Guardiola. “We’ve now grown to over 25 featuring 17 food stations and eight beverage booths. It’s another thing the chamber does to bring awareness to local businesses.
According to Guardiola, over 300 people attended the evening’s affair.
The crowd favorite appeared to be Valley Spirits Cold House Vodka where owner and master distiller Lee Palleschi was pouring and preparing mixed drinks with his flavored vodka.
“It’s important to be at these type of things,” Palleschi said between pours and mixing for the lines to his booth. “I’m getting a great response tonight.”
Results of the judging by guests were:
Best Non Alcoholic Beverage: Smart Water - Coca-Cola
Best Alcoholic Beverage: Valley Spirits Cold House Vodka
Favorite Food: Oakdale Golf and Country Club