Wine and Food go hand in hand at one of the best fund-raisers that I know of. We have been attending this affair for years, in fact we gave been going prior to the construction of the new VisTaTech Center at Schoolcraft College. This event raises money for the Schoolcraft College Scholarship Fund. It is held in September of each year just for that purpose. The greatest thing besides the noble effort of helping young students go to college is that former graduates of the culinary program return for this event representing the restaurant or other culinary institutions and prepare a tasting for everyone that stops at their respected table.
As soon as you enter the Extravaganza you are handed a plastic tray, which has a slot provided for a wine glass and a wine glass. This tray makes is as convenient as you go from table to table tasting all the delicious foods being offered. There are normally three sets of tables, each representing a different restaurant, and each table will offer a different dish that is placed on a small plate which is then placed on your tray. There are clusters of tables with groupings from appetizers, salads, soups, entrees of meat, poultry and seafood, desserts and coffee and soft beverages. Usually the fourth table in the cluster will be of a winery or a distributor featuring four to six different types of wine to try (hence the glass). There will be leaflets and brochures about the wines as handouts, and some of the restaurants even offer gifts as an added inducement to go to their restaurant at a later date. This is such a great time, because you may see a restaurant that is there, that you have heard about and never gone to, and they are trying to dazzle you with their offering. It is a great time, but be warned that you should go there hungry, because there is some serious “grazing” for the afternoon.
They also have silent auctions of art work, food baskets, dinners and collectible wines. There is also a live auction that features trips to wine countries and areas, dinners at your home prepared by some of the chefs at the Extravaganza, something for everyone at all price levels.
One year we begrudgingly left all the food and wine to go to a session of wine tasting (and I say begrudgingly because the food choices were so wonderful) overseen by the Detroit area’s Master Sommelier Madeline Triffon. It was a blind tasting and believe me there was some lively discussions and a fun time enjoyed by all that attended it. How often do you get a chance to discuss wines with a Master Sommelier? Ms. Triffon made it fun and not stuffy; she was attempting to make the wines accessible and non-threatening. She accomplished that goal with flying colors. We then proceeded back to the food and wine tables and ended up at the live auction.
We always invite friends to join us, and in later years we see our friends with other friends that they invite for more good times. The chefs, restaurants, wineries and all who participate are zealous in their endeavor to serve quality and not mediocrity. An extremely well run charity event.
So if you are in the Detroit area, go to Schoolcraft Community College’s website to check out the forthcoming Culinary Extravaganza and order your tickets. You will not be disappointed. My only caveat is that you should not have any dinner plans that evening, as you will have to work off the afternoon’s delicacies.