LACONIA — Over the two decades and counting that the Altrusa Club of Laconia has organized its "Taste of the Lakes Region" event, member Nance LeRoy said the area's cuisine has improved not only in its quality but also in its diversity. She thinks there's no better way to sample the creations of newcomer chefs, while comparing them directly to well-loved institutions, than at the fund raising event scheduled for Sunday, May 6, 3 to 5:30 p.m. at the Conference Center of the Lake ...
LACONIA — Over the two decades and counting that the Altrusa Club of Laconia has organized its "Taste of the Lakes Region" event, member Nance LeRoy said the area's cuisine has improved not only in its quality but also in its diversity. She thinks there's no better way to sample the creations of newcomer chefs, while comparing them directly to well-loved institutions, than at the fund raising event scheduled for Sunday, May 6, 3 to 5:30 p.m. at the Conference Center of the Lake Opechee Inn & Spa.
This year's event, which will be the 22nd Taste of the Lakes Region, is also the Altrusa Club's primary source of funds, which the all-volunteer organization returns to the community in the form of scholarships, literacy promotion and other programs.
Because there's a cash bar, no one younger than 21 is permitted to enter.
In a change from past practice, this year's event is being held later into the spring. This move is intended to allow for greater participation, both from returning seasonal residents and from restauranteurs who close for the winter. Also new this year, the club has compiled a cook book including some of the signature recipes of restuarants participating in the event.
In the Taste of the Lakes Region, participating restaurants volunteer their talent, time and ingredients to create a signature dish which they bring to the conference center. Attendees, who pay $25 to enter, can sample any and all of the offerings.
"They all have stepped up the cuisine," said LeRoy, who was a member of Altrusa since the event was first conceived. Every year, she said, there are a few offerings which create a "buzz" among tasters.
In the past, buzz-worthy dishes have included lobster mac & cheese, crab cakes, stuffed mushrooms, sautéed mussels, butternut squash ravioli, duck, and Italian meatloaf.
So far, about 20 restaurants have signed up for the chance to be the talk of this year's Taste. The list includes what Altrusa member and event chair Amanda Amidon called "some great favorites who have been with us since day one," such as Hart's Turkey Farm, Steele Hill Resort and Contigiani's Catering. Their cuisine can be sampled back-to-back with some relative newcomers to the local cooking scene such as Woodshed Roasting Company, Burrito Me, and new this year, Lakes Region Casino.
Ticket sales are limited to 400 and, if history is a guide, they will all sell. Tickets can be purchased at Patrick's Pub & Eatery in Gilford, Hart's Turkey Farm in Meredith, and in Laconia at Hector's Fine Food and Spirits and the Coldwell-Banker Residential Brokerage.
According to LeRoy, there's a couple compelling reasons to buy a ticket to the Taste. "One, it supports the community. Two, it's a wonderful way to spend a Sunday afternoon."
CAPTION for TASTE OF THE LAKES REGION in AA:
Displaying tickets and flyers for the 22nd Annual Taste of the Lakes Region, the Laconia Altrusa Club's primary fund raiser, are event sponsor Edward Engler of The Laconia Daily Sun, Altrusa event chair Amanda Amidon and sponsor Rick Hopper of Nassau Broadcasting (WLNH radio). Tickets for the May 6 event are now on sale. (Laconia Daily Sun photo/Adam Drapcho)