Local libations and regionally sourced cuisine are on the menu at the 8th annual Sample the Sierra food and wine festival, Sept. 16. Early bird tickets are now available for the region’s only farm-to-fork fair celebrating homegrown food, wines, spirits and brews, and the opportunity for businesses to participate in the growing foodie culture in South Lake Tahoe, Calif. (www.samplethesierra.com)
Sample the Sierra aims to expand the gastronomic horizons of festival-goers with approximately 20 booths each featuring a different winery, distillery or brewery, restaurant and farm with paired food and drink unique to the region. Attendees can expect flavorful complementary pairings that endure from the first taste to the last sip.
According to the California Department of Agriculture, the Golden State grew over a third of the vegetables in the United States and two-thirds of the country’s fruits in 2015. El Dorado County restauranteurs and vintners have taken full advantage of the state’s designation as the “land of plenty” by partnering with one another and forming close relationships with local producers. This bond extends far beyond the one-day festival to create all-inclusive and memorable dining experiences for the discerning food enthusiasts, as well as newcomers.
“The growth of Sample the Sierra has been key to bringing a greater abundance and variety of year-round, fresh, local produce into the South Lake Tahoe restaurant scene,” said Scott Craig, owner of Riva Grill. “We’ve built new and long lasting relationships with local farmers and wine makers, like Grace Patriot Wines and Boeger Winery, making for even more attractive combinations.”
The event showcases South Shore favorites Café Fiore, Cold Water Brewery & Grill, Sidellis Lake Tahoe, Blue Angel Café, as well as El Dorado County vineyards Madroña, Bella Grace, Auriga Wine Cellars, Mount Aukum, and Crystal Basin Cellars; artisans Tahoe Mountain Soap Company, Tahoe Bath & Candle Works, and Heart Rock Herb & Spice Co. The celebration also includes live music, art and the opportunity to witness three chefs go head-to-head in an Iron Chef style competition to test their culinary prowess.
“Sample the Sierra attracts a substantial number of visitors to the Tahoe area and it also helps to cement our reputation as an emerging dining destination,” said Carol Chaplin, president and CEO of the Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority. “These partnerships lend themselves to extraordinary experiences for our visitors.”
One example of the many successful festival partnerships that has sprung from Sample the Sierra is the highly-regarded Café Fiore, which now features fresh, local produce and wines from neighboring Placerville, Calif.
“The bonding and interaction with the community and vendors builds long lasting relationships,” said Nick Ashmore of Café Fiore.
Sample the Sierra is located at Bijou Community Park, South Lake Tahoe, Calif. Early bird tickets are $30 for adults, $20 for under 21 until July 1, with $10 increases after, and free for children three years old and younger. Tickets are available at http://bit.ly/SampletheSierraTickets.
Sample the Sierra is produced by the Lake Tahoe South Shore Chamber of Commerce, the Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority and El Dorado County. The festival is supported by Camelot Party Rentals, South Tahoe Alliance of Resorts, Winters Electric, Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Lake Tahoe, South Tahoe Refuse & Recycling, Lake Tahoe Resort Hotel, Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, Liberty Utilities, Sierra Sotheby’s Realty, Lake Tahoe TV, KTHO, Tahoe Daily Tribune, Getaway Reno/Tahoe, Tahoe Quarterly, and SierraFoodWineArt.
For information about Sample the Sierra, tickets and participation, visit www.samplethesierra.com.