Editor in Chief
The smell of food lingered, while soft and elegant music played, as guests roamed around with lights dangling from the ceiling at the La Verne Chamber of Commerce’s annual Taste of La Verne event, where food and wine were the art of the show.
The chamber held it’s 16th annual food and wine festival Friday at the Sheraton Fairplex Conference Center. The guests poured in at this year’s Taste of La Verne.
It was the largest crowd the event has had.
“The attendance here at the Taste of La Verne grows every year. We have over 45 food vendors, alcohol distributors and it’s just a wonderful event,” La Verne Chamber of Commerce President Brian McNerney said. “I’m very happy with the turn- out today, considering that it’s over 100 degrees outside in October, which is very rare and we have a big turn-out and people are very enthusiastic.”
The center filled with various vendors who gave out samples of food special to their menus as well as different types of drinks.
The Third Street Wine Shop, located in Old Town La Verne, was one of the many vendors at the event.
“This event provides good exposure for us, but it’s also nice just to get to meet people who are local to the community, who might not get to be in Old Town that often,” the wine shop’s tasting room manager Matthew Forgey said.
The shop includes two tasting rooms and offer daily tastings, but they are closed on Mondays.
Forgey recommends the Muscatos because they provide a crisp yet pleasant sweet taste.
“The Muscatos are always most popular because it’s sweet and we usually have a blend that sells pretty well, the 1448,” Forgey said. “It’s nice, like kind of an everyday wine and I think that’s why most people like it and it is something you can have at the end of the day.”
Other La Verne favorites were at the event such as Bowl of Heaven, Pappas Artisinal, Argo and House of Wings.
Smoke and laughter filled the air, along with the body heat of everyone there.
Despite this, many enjoyed samples given out by the vendors. Samples ranged from healthy treats and gluten-free desserts to sandwiches and tacos.
The Taste of La Verne attracted vendors from surrounding cities such as Claremont.
The Whisper House, inspired by the prohibition era and opened in July in the Claremont Villages, debuted a few of its drinks at the event.
“This is our first time at Taste of La Verne and I love it,” general manager of the Whisper House Valerie Lopez said. “The La Verne Chamber has been very welcoming with us and we’re really happy to be a part of this and got to meet so many nice friendly people here. The way this is turning out, we hope to be coming back every year.”
Lopez describes the food and drinks at The Whisper House to be a unique twist to everyday ingredients.
“We like to bring craft cocktails to the mix, we have great quality ingredients, fresh food, we have like great American comfort foods with a little twist,” Lopez said. “What’s special about our cocktails is that all the cocktails we make have freshly squeezed juices, have our own in-house ingredients and have really good premium alcohol that we carry.”
One of the samples that The Whisper House gave out was pudding with Bailey’s and Kahlua mixed in. “Most desserts usually have the alcohol cooked out, but this one is cooked in and you could definitely taste it and you could definitely feel it when you get up, it’s almost like you’re having a cocktail as well,” Lopez said.
In the middle of the conference center room were four tables that had various items for the silent auction later that night.
Some of the items included baskets filled with baking ingredients and tools, paintings, Dodger’s picture frames, makeup baskets and other miscellaneous items, that were donated by local businesses.
Other vendors included those that are not open to the public, like Jerry D. Mead’s New World International Wine Competition, which is a professional wine judging company that has been around for almost 25 years.
“Wineries pay us to have their wines judged, but all of the wine that’s left over from the competition each year has to be donated to charity,” co-producer and coordinator of NWIWC Jody Tillery Gmeiner said. “So all of the wine each year that’s left over gets donated, so we’re here tonight supporting.”
The company has raised over $1.5 million for charity with the left over wine in the last 20 years.
The way that they choose who got the donated wine is on a first come, first served basis.
This is the 10th year that they have participated in Taste of La Verne and hope to keep coming back.
Many businesses enjoyed the exposure at this event and thought the timing was impeccable.
“Because it’s the beginning of the holiday season, all the restaurants are preparing their holiday menus and this helps get their message out early enough for bookings and things like that,” chairman of the board Arun Tolia said.
At the end of the night, guests left with not only full stomachs and a great time, but also knowledge of most of the businesses in the community.
A favorite may have been hard to choose, but it was such a sparkling event that champagne would be jealous.
Jolene Nacapuy can be reached at email@example.com.