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Joyce Endee

Taste of the Valley is... delicious!

Lucky attendees enjoyed a rare opportunity to sample cuisine from 12 of the Waterville Valley region's best restaurants, all in one evening, at the first annual Taste of the Valley event, held at the Country Cow in Campton on Monday night. Many generous and community-minded local chefs and restaurant owners all pitched in to contribute to the Taste of the Valley. Proceeds went to benefit the Waterville Region Chamber of Commerce Visitor's Center. Pictured: Jen Leonzi from the Country Cow in Campton, Alan Wang from Fugaky and Mandarin Taste in Plymouth, Tim Scanlon from the Sunset Grille in Campton, Tony Pierce from Tony's Italian Grille and Pub in Thornton and Bridget Davis from Foster's Boiler Room at the Common Man in Plymouth. (Marcia Morris) (click for larger version)
March 23, 2011
CAMPTON — It may have been the first full day of spring, but a soft, fluffy snowfall descended from the sky at dusk, creating a picture postcard backdrop in the large picture windows framing the historic Blair Covered Bridge over the Pemigewasset River at the Country Cow Restaurant in Campton.

It is always a treat to dine with a beautiful view at the Country Cow, but it was especially so during the first annual Taste of the Valley event held on Monday evening. Twinkling white lights hanging like icicles from the rafters of the function room, echoing the flakes of snow dancing in the window, created a lovely atmosphere for the evening's festivities.

A large crowd turned out for the event, despite the unpredictable New Hampshire spring weather. They gathered to sample the cuisine from 12 of the region's best restaurants — for this one night, all available at one time under the same roof! The chefs and owners lined up behind their wares to chat with customers and serve up a smorgasbord of dishes, from mac and cheese "just like grandma made" from Foster's Boiler Room at the Common Man, to Buffalo chicken and cheese soup or freshly sliced roast beef from the Mad River Tavern, to a sample of sushi and other Asian delicacies from Fugaky on the Tenney Mountain Highway in Plymouth.

Tony's Italian Grill and Pub was dishing out Ricotta & Proscuitto-stuffed Eggplant Involtini topped with homemade San Marzano tomato sauce & fresh mozzarella cheese. Yum.

The good folks at the Mad River Tavern made everyone feel welcome with generous helpings of fresh, hot roast beef and other delicacies. (Marcia Morris) (click for larger version)
It was all delicious, and everyone had a lot of fun.

Waterville Region Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Joe Collie said he was very pleased with the inaugural event, which served a s a fundraiser in support of the Chamber's Exit 28 Visitor's Welcome Center on Route 49 in Campton.

The Visitor's Center serves as the gateway to the region, a popular point of debarkation for travelers en route to destinations in the White Mountain National Forest, skiers and vacationers. It is conveniently located to help disseminate information about all the local attractions, accommodations, products and services in the area.

"Where can I eat around here? That's the one question I am asked most frequently when people get off the highway (I-93) and stop in at the Visitor's Center," said Collie. "Well, here it all is!"

Collie said that the event is a great way for the locals to have the opportunity to sample food from all the local restaurants. It is also wonderful for the chefs and owners to spotlight their cuisine, to get out of the kitchen and greet the public in a relaxed atmosphere of collegiality and community.

Plymouth State University Dining Services and Catering was on hand with shrimp cocktail, pulled pork sandwiches and good information on sustainable dining practices at the PSU student dining services on campus. PSU is undertaking a major campaign to eliminate waste and to use as much bio-degradable supplies and other earth-friendly materials and practices as possible to save water and conserve resources. (Marcia Morris) (click for larger version)
He said he was very grateful for the participation of so many local restaurant owners and chefs.

Given the variety of choices available to diners, from fresh salad and pizza provided by Chesley's in Cmapton to gourmet Chicken Marsala from Waterville Community Estates, to pulled pork sandwiches from Plymouth State University Dining Services, there was something for everyone, and nobody went away hungry.

Before heading back out on those icy spring New Hampshire roads after a satisfying meal with great company, it was good to tank up with a fresh brewed cup of Dave Levin's locally roasted coffee from Mad River Coffee. Levin's popular coffee is sold at his retail coffee shop, right nearby the adjacent WVRCC Visitor's Center- also conveniently located to meet travelers' and commuters' need for a good brew —but it can now be sampled in many of the restaurants up and down Route 49 in Campton, as well as the Rumney Common Cafe and several other locations in the area. It is also for sale in Bristol at Blue Skies Natural Foods in Central Square.

If you happened to miss this first annual Taste of the Valley event at the Country Cow, mark your calendars for next year... or better yet, grab a couple of friends and treat yourself to a night out on the town at one of the Waterville Valley region's excellent local restaurants. The good food, good company and enjoyable experience is not just for tourists, you know!

Martin Lord & Osman
Salmon Press
Varney Smith
Garnett HIll
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