Plymouth State University’s Sodexo Dining Services served up a variety of mousse for desert at the Taste of Central New Hampshire event. (Ashley Finethy) (click for larger version)
April 04, 2012HOLDERNESS — Monday evening from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., the Waterville Valley Region Chamber of Commerce held its second annual Taste of Central New Hampshire event, which offered 15 different restaurants from around the region a chance to offer up their signature dishes to guests at the Plymouth State University Ice Arena.
"The number one thing is to promote the economics of the area, to promote businesses and to give some people that haven't had an opportunity to try some of these restaurants to try them, and hopefully go back," said President of the Chamber and Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs at Plymouth State University, Frank Cocchiarella.
From pulled pork sandwiches to sushi and stuffed eggplant, and soups to chocolate truffles, mousse and key lime tarts, everyone's appetite was satisfied. And as if the food wasn't enough to draw in a crowd of more than 200 people, getting a chance to see the PSU ice arena was an added draw to the evening.
"This is also an opportunity to promote the University and the welcome center because quite a few people will attend tonight that have not been in this building," said Cocchiarella. "Almost everyone in here has said they haven't been in this building before, so we want to promote this campus, promote this building, but most importantly, the economic finality of the area, and hopefully, we can raise some money for the chamber, as well."
For the Chamber, the event doubled as a fundraiser, generating revenue through ticket costs and a raffle.
"There is a fee to be here," said Cocchiarella. "The restaurants are serving at no cost, and then we are doing a super cash raffle tonight. It is the best cash raffle this side of the Mississippi."
With $3,000 raised, the Chamber was looking to give away $1,500 to those in attendance.
"It's not a true 50/50," said Joe Collie, the Executive Director of the Chamber of Commerce. "We do give half away, but we break it up so more people can win."
When the raffle numbers were drawn, Tom Avallone won $500, Wayne Charron and Dennis Prescott won $250, Mike Somma, Joe Monagle and Don Bourret won $100, and Randy Montague, Bruce Glass, Joe Monagle and Pam Troiano won $50.
With the event only in its second year, Chocchiarella and Collie were both impressed with its growth from last year to this year.
"We had 141 or more attendees this year, which is really good," said Collie. "Last year was our first year, and we had 72, so we more than doubled our attendance."
Not only did attendance grow, but the Chamber was able to add more local restaurants to their lineup. Restaurants this year included the Sunset Grill, Chesley's Pizza, Mad River Tavern, Woodpeckers, Tells of Waterville, Foster's Boiler Room, Fugaky / Mandarin Taste, Six Burner Bistro, Plain Jane's Diner, Sunset Room at Owl's Nest, Summit Lounge at Waterville Estates, Tony's Italian Grille and Pub and Clay's Chocolate Shop.
"We have more restaurants that participated this year, which was really nice, as well," said Collie.
Last year's event was smaller, in a different location, and though it was held on the first day of spring (March 21), a snowstorm may have had an effect on attendance.
Keep an eye out for next year's Taste of Central New Hampshire event, and in the meantime, keep up to date on events happening in the Waterville Valley Area; you can visit the Chamber's Web site at: www.WatervilleValleyRegion.com.