Last Sunday afternoon under gloomy skies, the day was lit up at Grounds For Sculpture, Hamilton, New Jersey, for its 11th Annual Epicurean Palette benefit event spreading joy of food as art, while raising much-needed funds to support Grounds For Sculpture’s educational programs and activities for the public.
Hundreds of guests attended despite the threat of rain and crowded into the Domestic Arts Building and the Seward Johnson Center for the Arts to sample and sip delicious foods and wines from surrounding restaurants and local vendors. Among some of the outstanding treats to tantalize the palate were: Element’s Chef/Owner Scott Anderson’s attractive cornucopia filled with smoked pork belly, corn, frisée and peanuts with a kick of miso; Buddakan, Caesars Atlantic City, Chef Scott Swiderski prepared a savory tuna tartare with ponzu sauce, sweet mayo, shallots and Thai chili all tightly wrapped in a fried wonton; Executive Chef Scott Snyder from Kenilworth’s Boulevard Five 72 served perfectly medium-rare crusted salmon with guacamole and a citrus/mango salsa; Chez Alice Catering, Pennington, showcased a beautifully presented plate with two contrasting flavors of soup – hot carrot ginger and cool gazpacho with hummus, pita and skewered chicken prepared by Executive Chef Kelly Hamdan; Pamela Horowitz, Co-owner/Executive Chef of Provence Catering, offered a slow-smoked pulled pork with her signature barbecue sauce and cole slaw topped with micro-greens on a corn pancake; and Host Chef Shane Cash, Executive Chef at Rat’s Restaurant created a “sous-vide” pork loin with veal sweetbreads and truffled risotto.
There were too many delectable dishes to describe all – or even to taste without feeling totally stuffed. The wines and spirits sipped were just as excellent as the food. Some that were memorable were: Old Vine Red Lot 55, Marietta Cellars, Geyserville, California, a recently released zinfandel blend with aromas of blackberries, dark cherries and plum complemented with hints of spice, earth and oak; a rich red Cortes de Cima Chaminé 2009 from Portugal’s Alentejo region, and a crisp dry Chardonnay from New Jersey’s own Unionville Vineyards.
Despite the gray day, the atmosphere was shining sunlight everywhere where chefs, vintners and spirits vendors were sharing their wonderful fare. An added bonus was that, as a private event, guests could stroll the glorious 42 acres of Grounds For Sculpture viewing magnificent sculptures and the new seven-acre outdoor gallery The Meadow featuring Aerial Roots, an exhibit by renowned artist, Steven Tobin. And, the brightest news is that the Foundation grossed around $70,000 to benefit Grounds For Sculpture’s programs.
** For other stories covering food news, cooking and recipes, please visit my Shore Region Food Examiner page or on my website, TastefuLiving.net.