Sunday, July 29, 2012

A Taste For Life

It seems that once you’ve caught the "volunteering" bug, you’re hooked. And so it was that when some good friends of mine, Jim and Marsha Oremland, recruited me recently to help out at a premier food and wine event to benefit the American Cancer Society, I happily agreed. The 13th annual "Taste For Life" event was held this afternoon at the Lyric Opera House in downtown Baltimore. Tables groaning with food and wine lined the grand lobby and several reception areas on two levels of the Lyric as dozens of volunteers arrived to take our assigned positions.
Pouring wine with Cantiniere partner Maurizio Farro
My assignment was to pour white wines for Marramiero, a small production winery from the Abruzzo region of central Italy between the Adriatic sea and Gran Sasso mountain. The dashing partner of Marramiero distributor Cantiniere Imports in Columbia, Maryland, Maurizio Farro, was on hand to give me a quick history of the winery and a synopsis of each of the wines I would be pouring. For several hours I extolled the virtues of the six wines of which I was in charge and actually found a personal favorite among them, which led me to order two bottles for myself – all for the benefit of the American Cancer Society, of course. The wine I chose as my favorite is a big white, with bold flavor and a long finish, much like the dry reds I favor. Never having experienced such a heady taste in a white wine, I was entranced. No other wine I tasted today could compare with Marramiero's Trebbiano Altare Superiore 2009.

Once my shift was over, I wandered the venue, sampling wines and food from vendors all over the region, including an outstanding liver pate made with blueberries from Clementine restaurant (, delightfully fresh spring rolls from Dogwood restaurant (, tiny strawberry cupcakes from Jazzy Sweet Treats (, and a number of other vendors offering delectable samples of their tasty fare. Amidst all the wine tasting and food sampling, an auctioneer bellowed out bids on a number of pricey items, including a one-week stay at a luxury villa in Scottsdale, Arizona, lunch with Baltimore Orioles pitcher Rick Dempsey, and a $1000 bottle of Axios, a Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon signed by the winery’s owner, Gus Kalaris.

On a nearby stage, local catering sensation Jerry Edwards, of Chef’s Expressions, offered demonstrations of some of his favorite cooking techniques. Tables full of silent auction items also tempted, including dinner for four at Charleston restaurant, one of Baltimore’s premiere dining establishments (, and $150 certificate toward dinner at one of my favorite country French restaurants, Tersiguel’s in Ellicott City, Maryland ( Even Jim and Marsha, chairs of this year’s Taste For Life event, got in on the action by auctioning off dinner for four to be prepared at their lovely home in Owings Mills.
Me with Jim and Marsha Oremland, Chairs of Taste For Life
It was a great afternoon. With a solid turnout of more than 250 happy patrons, lots of much-needed money was raised for a good cause and I got a couple great bottles of white wine as a memento of a fun day.

1 comment:

  1. Looks like fun! I keep meaning to go to this, but haven't actually made it there. Maybe next year. I used to be really involved with fundraising for ACS.

    Also, we know the Oremlands. Rich has worked with Jim on sports stuff.