Covington-area chefs are preparing to be cooking on all burners as the start date nears and the excitement builds for the Covington Business Association’s 10th anniversary of the culinary event, A Taste of Covington.
Steve Ahrons, of the Seiler Bar restaurant on Columbia Street, who along with chef Pat Gallagher has been part of A Taste of Covington since its inception, said the event provides an opportunity to get creative with ingredients and recipes.
“Working in a kitchen can get mechanical and mundane at times,” Seiler said. “This event provides a spark to the kitchen staff and lets them showcase their talents.”
From June 1-30, foodies and wine lovers alike can enjoy the results of those creative sparks in the kitchens and cellars by attending 15 different food-focused events, including specially selected menus and wine tastings.
“Our phones are ringing off the hook, we have been bombarded with people telling us how excited they are that things are gearing up again, like the Downtown Covington Block Parties and A Taste of Covington,” said Cliff Bergeron, past president of the civic organization and organizer of the event that draws foodies from throughout the state.
Bergeron said the association started A Taste of Covington a decade ago to draw visitors to the area for more than just a single event. “We wanted them to stay at local hotels or bed-and-breakfasts and to soak up the different aspects of life in Covington and throughout St. Tammany for more than a day,” he said. “They can get a great dinner, then visit the St. Tammany Art Association. Then have a wine tasting and maybe the Champagne brunch. It is about an overall dining and relaxing experience.”
What started out as a weekend has grown to a month of restaurants offering curated menus called Vinter Dinners, two wine tasting opportunities and a Champagne brunch. Reservations for the wine tastings and brunch can be made at atasteofcovington.com. Reservations for each Vintner Dinner are made directly with the restaurant, but the full list of participating restaurants can also be found on the website.
The Festa del Vino Wine Tasting will be from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. June 19 at the St. Tammany Art Association on Columbia St. with music by Christy and the Rascals. Tickets are $75 and will include light fare and desserts. Only 100 tickets will be sold.
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The Champagne Jazz Brunch will be June 27 at Pyre Provisions Restaurant with seatings at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Tickets are $50, and music is by Steve Burke’s Jazz Trio.
Bergeron said coming soon will be a list of menus and pricing. “Once the menus are posted, the spots fill. This event has a reputation for providing the best meals with the best prices.”
At each restaurant during the A Taste of Covington menus, a representative of the Covington Business Association will make a brief presentation thanking patrons for supporting the organization. Bergeron said he has received feedback through the years that diners love supporting the association.
“They know that they are helping to raise money to continue to support Covington. It’s our mission to continue to bring people to downtown Covington and St. Tammany,” Bergeron said.
The Covington Business Association produces the Spring for Art and Fall for Art events in conjunction with the St. Tammany Art Association, along with the downtown block parties.
He said this 10th anniversary year features 11 participating restaurants, the largest number of participants yet. “The pent-up demand with people wanting to get out and do things is tremendous, so we are thrilled that we have so many restaurants and an entire month to offer this special event.”
Bergeron said there is another benefit to having a month’s worth of dinners and tastings. “This way people have time to recover between meals.”