More than 500 guests packed the Kennedy Caucus Room in the Russell Senate Office Building Monday for a chance to sample food and drinks from some of Delaware’s best eateries at the 3rd Annual Taste of Delaware celebration. Hosted by the Delaware State Chamber of Commerce and Senator Coons, the tradition brings together the some of the first names in dining from around the First State. Taste of Delaware is traditionally held on December 7 in honor of Delaware Day, which fell on a Saturday this year.
Addressing the crowd, Chris thanked participants and vendors for taking part in the event and encouraged those who enjoyed themselves to come to Delaware and explore more of the state’s culinary offerings. “We may be a small state, but we have a big appetite, and our restaurants and breweries rank with the best of them,” Chris said. “We hope your taste today will inspire you to come visit or to come home.”
Vendors from more than 20 restaurants, bakeries, breweries, and wineries from all corners of the state braved the snowy commute to share their goods with D.C. guests, many of whom were Delaware transplants hungry for a taste of home.
Around the room, celebrated Delaware staples like Capriotti's Sandwich Shop, Brandywine Brewing Company, and Dogfish Head Brewery lined the walls between popular restaurants like House of William and Merry, (a)Muse, and Piccolina Toscana, all sampling their fare in the name of promotion and fun.
Chef Dan Butler, owner of Deep Blue, Piccolina Toscana, and Brandywine Prime missed last year's event because of restaurant renovations and was happy to return. "This event is a blast," said Butler. "You look around the room here and realize that there are a lot of great restaurants here in Delaware, and I'm proud to be a part of it."
Contributing to the success of the event were more than 30 students and teachers from Delcastle Technical High School's culinary arts program, led by Chef James Berman. Students fanned out across the room to assist vendors with their preparations, gaining valuable experience and developing connections with local restaurant owners and operators.
The event also drew its fair share of legislators, including the full complement of the Delaware delegation, as well as Senators Ed Markey of Massachusetts and John McCain of Arizona, who both enjoyed Johnnies Dog House hot dogs. Governor Markell was also on hand to thank participants.
Taste of Delaware has come a long way from humble beginnings. The first "unofficial" Taste of Delaware took place three years ago in a conference room just a week after Senator Coons took office. The gathering consisted of about 20 people enjoying a small sampling of Grotto Pizza, Capriotti's sandwiches and Dogfish Head beer. Three years later, the event has gained a reputation among congressional staff and legislators as one of the can't-miss events of the year.