It’s time for the 11th annual Gourmet Grazing on the Green, where you can enjoy a large amount of first-rate food (from local restaurants and caterers)—plus beverages from local wineries, breweries, and distilleries—in a friendly and festive atmosphere. And you will be helping support the very worthwhile Santa Cruz Cancer Benefit Group (SCCBG).
Gourmet Grazing is Saturday, Sept. 27, 2014 from noon to 4 p.m. at Aptos Village Park.
The event usually sells out a few days ahead of time, so I recommend you buy tickets soon. This year organizers are allowing 1,200 tickets to be sold instead of 800, so it is possible that tickets won’t sell out as fast—but you never know! SCCBG Board member Mary Anne Carson commented: “Due to its popularity, we’ve expanded our space in order to bring in more food purveyors, restaurants and vintners, as well as more Grazers, this year. We look forward to another stellar event and raising even more funds for the benefit of our beneficiaries.”
Purchase $65 tickets at New Leaf Community Markets (downtown, Westside or Capitola locations) or online. If you have a group of 10, you can get tickets for $50 each. Admission includes food, wine, beer, a souvenir wineglass, and live music. The event is outdoors; last year it actually rained for a short while, but everyone just ran under the few sheltered spots and it stopped as quickly as it started.
New this year is a “big bottle silent auction,” courtesy of new festival partner Santa Cruz Mountain Winegrowers Association (SCMWA). There will also be a bottle booth operated by SCMWA, an alliance of more than 60 wineries promoting wine produced from the Santa Cruz Mountains Viticultural Appellation.
Some of the food creations that participants will taste have been created with products generously donated by event sponsors Coke Farm, Watsonville Coast Produce, and presenting sponsor New Leaf Community Markets.
Some of my favorite dishes from last year’s festival included Café Rio’s Rio Prawn Spring Roll (included mung bean noodles, sprouts, carrots, green onion, basil, and mint) and Johnny’s Harborside’s Gazpacho Seafood Cocktail (calamari, scallops, shrimp, garnished with baby romaine and a watermelon radish). For more 2013 highlights, see my recap article.
There are more than 25 participating restaurants, farms, and food vendors for 2014 including The Crow’s Nest, Shadowbrook, Café Cruz, Café Rio, The Whole Enchilada, Solaire Restaurant and Bar, Hula’s Island Grill, Santa Cruz Fish Co., Everett Family Farm, MacKenzie Bar & Grill, Friend in Cheeses Jam Co., Redwood Hill Farms, The Penny Ice Creamery, and The True Olive Connection.
More than 25 participating wineries, breweries and distilleries include Venus Spirits, Alfaro Family Vineyards and Winery, Beauregard Vineyards, Burrell School Vineyards, Hunter Hill Vineyard & Winery, Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing, Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyard, Seabright Brewery, Sones Cellars, Bonny Doon Vineyards, and Kathryn Kennedy Winery.
This year, Kathryn Kennedy Winery will pour wine including 2011 Kathryn Kennedy Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, Santa Cruz Mountains, which sources say is “amazing.”
Proceeds from SCCBG’s events, including this year’s Gourmet Grazing, benefit these local cancer support and research organizations: Hospice of Santa Cruz County, Jacob’s Heart Children’s Cancer Association, Katz Cancer Resource Center, UCSC Cancer Research, the Teen Kitchen Project, and WomenCARE Cancer Advocacy. Over the last decade, SCCBG has distributed more than $1.5 million to directly support the Santa Cruz community.
There will be a raffle, with ticket sales benefiting SCCBG. Prizes include jewelry, restaurant gift certificates, a wetsuit from O’Neill, and SCMWA Wine Passports.
There is free parking and free shuttle service from Cabrillo College Lot E.
For more information on the event, see www.sccbg.org or call (831) 465-1989
Aptos Village Park: 100 Aptos Creek Road, Aptos
On Twitter? Follow me @santacruzfoodie.