Pouring a little out for a cause. One event that helped put Bend on the culinary map is the annual Sagebrush Classic, a golf tournament that hosts a lavish feast featuring famous chefs from around the country. With no shortage of golf courses, or those who love to golf, other such events have sprouted up in Central Oregon such as the Ghost Tree Classic. This year the prominent wine tasting fundraiser, formerly known as Wine by the River, paired up with the Ghost Tree Classic and changed its name to Promenade du Vin. Organized before the Friday dinner that commanded $300 per seat, the Promenade du Vin was casual, affordable and benefited a great cause: the Hospice Center of Bend and La Pine.
Stretching out over the lush lawn in front of Pronghorn's grand clubhouse, wineries hosted tastings under white tents. Over 25 wineries displayed their wares, offered tastes and gave event goers a chance to talk with wine makers. There were seminars on chocolate and wine and a Master Wine Competition. Along with wine makers there were also a few artisan cheese makers, including Tumalo Farms, which sampled its fabulous Remembrance and Classico, and an Irish dairy called Kerry Gold. Moonstruck Chocolates added some sweetness to the mix, as did Extreme Chocolate and Meeteetse Chocolatier.
The food selection was a bit disappointing. Other than some token baguette slices to accompany the cheese offerings, the only edibles were sliders made by Pronghorn. They were excellent sliders with a nice aioli and fresh lettuce, but if mini burgers weren't your cup of tea, then you were out of luck. Also, since the event goers were drinking a fair amount of wine (about 3 glasses if using a "passport"-the tasting punch card given to event goers) having a wider selection of food readily available would have been a good idea.
As the sun dipped below the horizon and the fire pit started attracting summer-clad folks glowing with a good wine buzz, there was no doubt that this had been an enjoyable evening. Making our way to our vehicle with the help of the golf cart shuttles, we vowed to be back next year with the hopes of a wider variety of food choices.