Taste of Michiana 2014 brings together food, drink and a good cause

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By: Gwen Ragno & J.C. Lee

Gwen Ragno/Flavor 574

Century Center in South Bend was abuzz Wednesday night with sizzling pans, popping corks and a whole lot of people with a passion for local food. The Taste of Michiana drew more than 2,000 people, all sampling food and drink offerings from a myriad of local establishments. Here are a few of the tastes we got our hands on. 

A word of advice for next year: arrive early. The event ran 5 to 8 p.m. and we arrived a little after 6, to find a few of the restaurants had already run out of food. There was still more than enough to choose from, though, from barbecue and Polish sausage, to Indiana-grown whiskey and wine, to frozen yogurt and bread pudding.

With people lined up along each restaurant’s booth, grabbing a plate and then immediately moving on to the next line, it almost felt like the world’s biggest (and most varied) buffet. There were also plenty of folks taking a breather between stops to sit at the tables and listen to the band, Alligator Blackbird, while they ate. 

Of the Indiana wines we tasted, we especially enjoyed Satek Winery’s Traminette, a mild dry white wine made from a grape variety specific to Indiana. We also liked Lemon Creek’s Pheasant Run Red and Fruit Hills Winery’s Macalba red. It was Fruit Hills’ first time participating in the event.

The event’s organizer, chef Bela Szalay, said he’s still awaiting the final number on how much money the event raised for Life Treatment Center, but that he was very pleased with the turnout and the response. Next year will be the Taste of Michiana’s 25th anniversary, and Szalay said we can expect it to be even bigger, with a little more breathing room for each restaurant to help improve the flow of the crowd. If the weather cooperates, part of the event may even be al fresco.

Were you there for the Taste of Michiana this year? What was the best thing you tasted?

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