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Pair local bites with beer and wine samples at Taste of Concord. Courtesy photo.




Taste of Concord

When: Thursday, Oct. 15, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Where: Grappone Conference Center, 70 Constitution Ave., Concord
Cost: $30. See tasteofconcord.com




Capital tastes
Taste of Concord celebrates decade mark

10/08/15
By Allie Ginwala aginwala@hippopress.com



 Ten years ago, a handful of restaurants and vendors gathered in the basement of the Capitol Center for the Arts for the first Taste of Concord. A decade later, hundreds of guests will head to the Grappone Conference Center on Thursday, Oct. 15, to sample from over 30 restaurants and vendors.

“We put it [together] as a project to raise some funds for the Boys & Girls Clubs [of Central New Hampshire],” Chris Brown, president of NH Distributors and board member for the Boys & Girls Club of Central New Hampshire, said in a phone interview. 
Looking back on the event’s first year, Brown had an inkling that it could become something big.
“It’s very different than it was Year 1,” he said. “We had maybe a dozen restaurants that year and you could just see the potential of what it could become.”
That potential came to fruition with more interested restaurants, along with other features like live music, a silent auction and cooking demonstrations hosted by Baron’s Major Brand Appliances. This year, Granite Restaurant and Bar’s executive chef Corey Fletcher and O Steaks and Seafood’s owner/chef Scott Ouellette will present a cooking show style demo to the crowd.
The lineup of 30-plus restaurants and vendors includes Wellington’s Marketplace, Hermanos Cocina Mexicana, The Red Blazer, True Brew Barista, The Barley House, Arnie’s Place, Common Man and more.
Several restaurants return for Taste of Concord each year, like Cheers and O Steaks and Seafood, while others like Cimo’s South End Deli, Crust & Crumb and those from outside the city like New England’s Tap House Grille have joined in.
“We’ve opened up a little,” Brown said, both in terms of location and type of business. “You’ve got Orange Leaf [Frozen Yogurt] and Granite State Candy so it’s not just restaurants. You kind of can start with any appetite or craving you may have until your heart’s content.”
Each restaurant or vendor will bring appetizer-sized samples, giving guests the chance to graze. Brown said most places will present a couple of options, along with sliders from those who elect to participate in the annual competition. A part of Taste for the past few years, the slider competition gives chefs the chance to flex their culinary muscles and present something unique for the chance to win the title of top slider chef.
Rachel Robie, general manager at Washington Street Cafe, said they will present three different options for the competition — a bangers and mash slider, a Caribbean slider and a carnita slider.
“We run out of food every single year and we [usually] bring about 500 sliders with us,” she said in a phone interview. “This year I’ve got about 700 pieces going.”
In addition to the three sliders, Washington Street Cafe will bring falafel, chicken lala and baklava, highlighting their regular menu.
“It’s an opportunity for individual chefs to shine at what they do and it allows them that creative expression so this is kind of putting them on a plate,” Robie said. “The slider competition is where we’re able to promote some of our other menu items.”
Restaurants and drink vendors will be set up throughout three rooms, with high-top tables for people to stop and sample before continuing on to other booths.
“We will showcase a lot of local craft [beer] and will have the wine companies, they do a spectrum of different styles,” Brown said.  





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