Viewed from the upper story of the atrium at Jewel restaurant in Melville on Wednesday night, the launch party for Edible Long Island was impressive. “If you build it, they will come”….well, we built it and you came! Nearly 400 local food supporters were surrounding the tables loaded with the samples, snacks and sips provided by local food purveyors.
We had an outstanding show of force in the food and drink department (we are, of course, all about food and drink!) Nobody left hungry or unquenched. Our host for the evening was Long Island restaurateur extraordinaire and Edible friend, Tom Schaudel. Tom and his staff at Jewel couldn’t have been more helpful, gracious or accommodating. (Tom, a personal thank you from me for securing my parents two chairs, while in the midst of oyster shucking.) In the eats category we sampled from West East All Natural Bistro, Roots Bistro Gourmand, Besito, Lombardi’s Market, Monsoon, The Big Cheese, Whole Foods Market, Jack Halyards, Mirabelle, Jackson’s, Morrison’s, J. Kings, Blue Island Oysters and Frosae. Craft beers were poured by Southampton Publick House, Montauk Brewing, Greenport Harbor Brewing, Crooked Ladder Brewing and Blue Point Brewery. Always a huge supporter of all things we do, the Long Island Wine Council was represented by Comtesse Therese Vineyards, Osprey’s Dominion, Palmer Vineyards, Lieb Cellars, Roanoke Vineyards, SuHru Wines, Sherwood House Vineyards, Waters Crest Winery, Sparkling Pointe, Sannino Bella Vita Vineyards and Wölffer Estate Vineyards. Not a beer or wine drinker? No problem, as we had vodka from Long Island Spirits, gin from Tuthilltown Spirits and gourmet lemonades from Sweet’tauk Lemonade.
While we were clearly in a festive and celebratory mode, we never stray from our mission of connecting our readers to the chefs, farmers, fisherman, brewers, vintners and food artisans who feed us. To that end, Linda LaViolette, director of farmers markets for the Empire State Development Corporation joined us on Wednesday evening. Representing Governor Andrew Cuomo, in support of the governor’s TasteNY initiative, LaViolette asked our participating chefs to sign the Pride of New York Pledge. By signing this pledge, these chefs have agreed to support New York State’s agribusinesses and spread the message to choose locally grown and made food and beverage products.
What an amazing evening it was: scrumptious eats, enticing drinks, new friends and business associates and a furthering of our commitment to the local food movement. This is one gratified editor who is proud to be a part of the Edible family.