Taste of the Nation


Last week, I had the opportunity to attend a Taste of the Nation event in Hartford, thanks to Foodbuzz and Share our Strength. As I wrote before, I think Share our Strength is a great organization and the series Taste of the Nation events is one of their biggest and most exciting fundraisers. I felt a little guilty going for free, but the event was fabulous. There was tons of food and wine from some of the area’s best restaurants as well as lots of great auction items. 100% of the proceeds went to benefit Share our Strength’s local efforts.

But let’s talk about the food. WOW. There were some really delicious, really creative dishes to sample! From guacamole with lobster and fruit (so much better than you’d expect!) to pulled pork sandwiches with diced apple to the amazing asparagus and mushroom custard in that top photo. I even got to try bao! (I have to say though, Shawn and I both liked my Pillsbury version better – this one was kind of dense and dry.) And don’t forget the desserts! My favorite was the caramel custard topped with caramel foam and sea salt from ON20, but there was also a delicious lemon custard cake with blackberry sauce that I’ll be trying to recreate at home soon. And plenty of chocolates. And wine. And beer. Honestly, for the price of the $75 admission ticket (which will supply 18 bags of groceries to those who need them) you might feel like you’re ripping them off a little bit. If you purchase a VIP ticket (which I would do in a heartbeat next time) you’ll also have access to a roped off area that looks like it had some seriously good food and cocktails behind it. VIPs also left with gift bags (I left with a t-shirt from one of the participating restaurants and 2 beer glasses). If one of these events is coming to your area, I highly recommend going. It’s a great time for a great cause.

I took a ton of pictures, so I decided to make a slideshow instead of posting them all. Enjoy! (Also, see that plate above? I was so happy to see a lot of the restaurants using these. They’re eco friendly and very cool. I actually got some last week and have a review coming up soon!)


  1. This sounds like such an awesome event Lauren! Definitely worth the money for all that food…and such a great cause!

  2. Wow, what a great event…I wish I could taste each of the dishes! Will you be replicating any of these dishes in your kitchen? I know you mentioned the lemon custard cake with blackberry sauce…but a pulled pork sandwich creation too, pretty please? >.<

  3. A wonderful event! Thanks for sharing the slide show with us!

  4. This looks like a great event! I love to learn from other chefs; and it is for a good cause so the money is not important.

  5. Glad you got to participate in TON too! I went to the one in Worcester and really enjoyed it. I bet Hartford was great – my brother lives there so I’m aware there are some wonderful restaurants!

  6. looks like you had an amazing time. the last benefit i went to (some 10 years ago) for a playwriting association i stuffed my face! I definitely would go to another one if i beleived in the cuase! and SOS is a good one!

    love the sound of those dishes too!

  7. I wish I could join such an event one day. It looks fabulous! All the dishes look so intriguing.

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