Taste of the Berkshires marks biggest turnout ever
Photo Gallery | Taste of the Berkshires
PITTSFIELD — Two dozen restaurants fed hundreds a "Taste of the Berkshires" at the eighth iteration of the popular event at the Crowne Plaza on Thursday.
Both well- and lesser-known restaurants participated, marking it the biggest turnout among vendors, and people generally, the event has yet seen.
A benefit for the Junior League of Berkshire County, Taste of the Berkshires charges attendees the price of a meal for a smorgasbord of gourmet dishes and deserts. Proceeds go toward Junior League programming.
"You get all the restaurants you want to eat at in one location," Jessica Shandor, president of Junior League said. "There's no, 'Where do you want to eat?' It's 24 options in one room for one big dinner."
Methuselah Bar & Lounge served up Korean short ribs over sticky rice with kimchi, One West plated fried sea scallops over butternut squash risotto, Hops and Vines gave out pieces of candied bacon and stuffed meatballs and elsewhere one found cheeses, breads, ciders and many different types of mini dessert cupcakes.
Jazu Stine, owner of Red Apple Butchers in Dalton, offered passersby a variety of cured meats, including a beef pancetta.
He said some of the products take up to two weeks to properly prepare.
"[The preparation] is vastly different and very involved, but we do it all," Stine said. "It starts with the best meat possible, raised outdoors by a responsible farmer. After that, it's about fresh seasoning and a lot of time, trial, and error."
Some of the meats require a brine, others a smoker, still others receive a sous-vide bath.
Across the way from Stine, Crowne Plaza's Director of Catering and Social Events Janet Brennan gave out scallops claiming the hotel's restaurant, One West, the "best secret in Pittsfield."
She was pleased with the turnout and said the event has grown continually since it moved to Crowne Plaza.
"This event draws a wide variety of folks," Brennan said. "Pittsfield really comes together to support its own, and this is a great cause."
Part of the proceeds of last year's event went toward licensing rights for a public screening of the film "Miss Representation," about the narrow media portrayal of women and girls as objects of beauty and youth rather than leaders. The organization plans to spend part of Thursday's proceeds on a second showing of the film at Boys & Girls Club of the Berkshires this summer.
Funds will also go to support a singing/costumed performance program for kids at the Boys & Girls Club.
Thursday's event was sponsored by S&A Supply, Inc.