Posts Tagged ‘Hospice of Eastern Shore VA benefit event’

Eastern Shore Hospice’s 5th Annual “Corks and Forks” Fundraiser A Complete Success

Thursday, May 3rd, 2012

The  Hospice and Palliative Care of the Eastern Shore  organization pulled off yet another great fundraiser party a few weeks ago.  Held once again at Aqua, a fine dining restaurant overlooking the Chesapeake Bay in Cape Charles, VA, the party was just getting into full swing as we arrived.  The great thing about Aqua’s  as a venue for a large party like this is that it is such a beautiful building- from its  long wall of picture windows overlooking the Bay to the amazing translucent bar that appears to be a long stream of liquid gold  to  the fabulous irridescent aquamarine tile covered columns,  Aqua’s offers  terrific ambience for any event. Kudos unlimited to Dickie Foster for building this fine restaurant !

Wine glasses and plates in hand,  we began a slow circuit  of the various food stations, each seemingly with more delicous offerings than the last.  First stop, the Oyster Station.   And not just any oysters, but three wide trays of  ice,  each proudly holding a specific type of Eastern Shore VA  grown beauty.   A  tray of  fat Chincoteage oysters, a tray of salty Seaside oysters and  a tray of tender Bayside oysters,  each  plump and glistening in its briny juice,  ice-cold and with a dash of Mingonette Sauce,  ready to be downed in one great sluurrpp !   My husband loves oysters but I took a pass, concentrating instead on the accompanying sparkling wine from the Scharffenberger Winery in Mendicino, California,  which was also ice cold and absolutely luscious.

Next stop,  the Chicken Satay/Grilled Shrimp Station whose offerings were being paired with  Savigonon  Blanc.  The chicken was grilled to perfection and served with a slightly spicy Thai chili sauce on the side.  The chili sauce was quite good,  although I personally am partial to a peanut sauce with satay,  particularly a sauce made with whole peanuts freshly ground in a food processor rather than made with the chunky peanut butter called for in lots of recipes .  ( However,  if one is in a time crunch,  Smucker’s  brand Chunky Peanut Butter is a top-of-the-line substitute.)   And as my husband was quick to remind me, it’s nice to do things differently from time to time.   Although they were offering both an oaked and a steel vintage of the sav blanc,  I didn’t try either because I was working on my second taste  of the Scharffenberger’s.  It  worked perfectly with the chicken so  I figured,  if it aint broke, don’t fix it……. or some such adage.

Onward and upward to what turned out to be, side by side,  my two favorite stations of the evening.   First station offered  an Italian antipasto,  Kalamata olives, fresh mozzerella and chunks of artichoke hearts transformed  into finger food with skewers and also  mini-mini sandwiches,  styled as  “Turkey Reubens”,  wafer thin smoked turkey with a dab of cole slaw, tucked into small wedges of crusty Italian bread, very, very nice.   Next door to that tasty group was a station featuring sausage chunks atop a bed of ratatulle as well as teriyaki meatballs, both very well prepared although I would have enjoyed  a bit more of  the delicious sauce over the meatballs.  The wine paired with the meatballs and sausage was my very favorite of the night-  an aromatic red Zinfandal from the Big Sur region of  California,  Peachy Canyon Vineyard’s  “Incredible Red”, a wonderful pairing,  a wine with plenty of heft to work well with those spicy meats.

By now the sun was almost setting and we moved to Aqua’s outdoor  veranda to sit for a bit, just relax and  enjoy the sunset and the gentle breezes  blowing off the water.  It was an idylic waterfront scene,  the sun slipping deep to the west, despite the cloud cover trying to paint  the Chesapeake’s waters in pastel shades of  pinks and gold,  a few last  boats cruising in off the  Bay, heading for their marina moorings,  waves lapping at  Aqua’s soft sand beach, candles glowing golden on the tables, perfectly lovely,  absolutely.  We waited until the sun had slipped below the horizon before heading back inside for a bite at the  Dessert Station,  a brie en croute with fig preserve and house made chocolate nut clusters,  paired with a late harvest dessert wine. Yummy !  From there, off to peruse the display  of  the  many donated  “Silent Auction” items.

“Corks and Forks” is an important  fund-raiser for Hospice with proceeds going to its Fragile Hearts Children’s Grief Camp,  a camp to be held at YMCA’s Camp Silver Beach this year for children dealing with grief and loss, a truly worthy cause.   And funds are raised not just through the ticket sales  but also through the donations of various items from local artists and the local business community to be sold at the Cork and Fork’s   “Silent Auction”.  This year the prime objets d’ art were  paintings  by well-known local artists  Willie Crocket,  Thelma Peterson and Clelia Sheppard and a ceramic  by Vesna Zidovec.  Other donated items included various types of gift baskets,  getaway packages, concert tickets, jewelrey and  sculpture.   All in all,  something for everyone to be interested in.  The countdown to the end of the auction was lively, with folks darting to enter their latest bids on their favorite items.  Some disappointed sighs were heard  the winners were announced but all in all,  loads of fun for everyone.  This post would not be complete without mentioning the music by the Russell Scarborough Jazz Trio.  I am a big fan of jazz and these three guys can really get down, they are wonderful and added a great deal to this delightful evening,  chalk up another winner by the Eastern Shore Hospice organization !

(Posted by Marlene Cree, licensed Virginia agent with Blue Heron Realty Co., 7134  Wilsonia Neck Dr., Machipongo, VA)

“Corks & Forks”- The 4th Annual Fundraiser On Eastern Shore Virginia

Tuesday, April 12th, 2011

My husband loves to tease me-  he always says that if an event has the word  “Fork”  in it,  I’m sure to be interested.  Well, that’s probably true,  and especially true for the wine tasting fund-raiser which we attended Saturday evening.  Now an annual “foodie” event,  “Corks and Forks”  this year benefited the  truly worthy project  of the Hospice of the Eastern Shore,  the establishment of  the Fragile Heart’s Children’s Camp to help Eastern Shore Virginia children aged 7-14 who are struggling with loss and bereavement, .

Aqua’s Restaurant in Cape Charles,  with its spacious, open layout  and gorgeous views from the long wall of windows overlooking the Chesapeake Bay,  was the  absolutely perfect venue for this year’s event,  I don’t think there could have been a better choice.    Tables `were beautifully decorated with large candles  and bouquets of yellow tulips.   Aqua’s nearly full-room length bar,  glowing with large bowls of  fiery candles floating above large sea shells,  (a theme which nicely complemented the restaurant’s location along the sandy Chesapeake shoreline ),  served as  the  MicroBrewery  Station as well as the official Cheese Station,  which  included a particularly delicious Danish blue as one of the selections.


Picking up a glass and plate at the entrance,  we  swirled along with the crowd towards one of the five Wine Stations  that had been spread out  around the restaurant,  offering  plenty of room for guests to flow among them,  picking up a nibble here and a taste of  another wine over there.  In total,  fourteen different Virginia wines were included in the tastings,  with Chatham Vineyards in Machipongo as the Eastern Shore appellation’s contribution to the evening,  with owner Jon Wehner serving as the event’s wine consultant.   We started at the Cabernet Franc Station, which featured wines from Chatham, Philip Carter Winery and Barren Ridge Winery, enjoying a taste of each and then a half glass of  the Chatham to accompany the food.  Offerings at the Cabernet Station  included beef tenderloin sliders plus one of my three absolute favorites of the evening,  mushrooms stuffed with an intriguing mixture of andouille sausage,  roasted tomatoes, garlic and bread crumbs,  absolutely delectable.  Wandering on to the  Chardonnay Station,  we  tried a lightly oaked vintage from Varitas Winery,  located near Charlottesville, VA ,  served with my second favorite food of the evening,  a  creamy and delicious butternut squash bisque garnished with cinnamon-honey creme’  fraiche.   Quite a delectable  pairing.   Also served at the Chardonnay Station was  smoked whitefish on focaccia,  which my husband particularly enjoyed.

Before continuing on to the Merlot Station,  we stopped to peruse the  many items on the Silent Auction table– a diverse collection of donated services and travel packages as well as many beautiful items  by local artists,  including  a lovely original acrylic, “Water Lilies”   by  Thelma Peterson .   Also by Thelma was an  original watercolor,  sure to enliven any room,  the  very colorful  “Oysters Caribbean”,  a  special  “Corks and Forks”  auction item.  Other interesting art items included a handcrafted leather handbag by well-known local artist,  Miguel Bizzotto,  a  William Turner sculpture entitled “Bronze Otter” and a small table topped with a  marble mosaic  donated by New Revenna.  For sports lovers,  there were several bidding opportunities including  a Sky Suite at Perdue Stadium, large enough for 20 people,  to watch the Delmarva Shorebirds, ( a  Single A affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles baseball team),   a fishing trip for two on board the Miss Jennifer,  plus assorted fishing gear for the trip from Eastern Shore Outfitters and  a  round of  golf and lunch for four  at the Eastern Shore Yacht and Country Club in Melfa, VA.

From there,  we pressed  onward  to the Merlot Station,  where vintages were presented from ChathamRosemont Winery and Veritas Winery.  Merlot is among my husband’s favorite wines,  although not mine,  and he enjoyed a tasting from each winery,  enjoyed them all.  Nearby, a separate carving station for  grilled pork tenderloin served with a fig demi-glaze was doing a brisk business,  the pork was fork  tender and paired well with both the sauce and the wines.  I especially enjoyed the  offering of  asparagus wrapped in puff pastry,  local asparagus  grilled to perfection,  the puff pastry  buttery with just the right crunch,   number three on my top food picks of the evening. For seafood lovers,  the nearby Viognier Station was the place to be,  with plump Virginia’s  Eastern Shore seaside oysters the stars of  that  Station.  Served on the half shell,  deliciously chilled,  nestled into a deep bed of  crushed ice,  these meaty local oysters  are prized for their briny zing,  a perfect balance of sweet meat and salty liquor.  I’m not really a fan of oysters,  my husband prefers them in a rich stew rather than au natural,  but for those who love a freshly opened raw oyster,  these were prime.   Along with the oysters,  the Viognier Station offered pastry cups stuffed with a very tasty shrimp salad and crunchy crostini topped with goat cheese and a chutney of  olive-artichoke-roasted peppers.   The Barboursville  Vineyard Viognier was especially fine,  I’ve bought it several times when I’ve visited their winery outside Charlottesville, VA ,  near the foot of the Blue Ridge mountains.

Definitely not to be missed,  the final station was,  you guessed it,  the Dessert Station.  Featuring a luscious chocolate torte and  a very light angel food cake served with a blueberry liquor sauce,  it was the perfect ending to a wonderful evening.   Both a red and  a white dessert wine were available for pairing- I tried a taste of both,  liked  them both.  Although in general I prefer red wines,  I usually like a very sweet white dessert wine best,  no exception here,  my husband and I both found the Barren Ridge Vineyard’s  offering  quite destinctive and delicious.    Bravo !   Hats off  to Aqua’s  Chef Shelly Cusmina and her talented staff,  the food was delicious,  they really did a superb  job !   And the ambience of the entire evening could not have been as interesting as it was without the delightful live music of the Russell Scarborough Jazz Trio.   I’ve read that the Trio has been voted as  “Jazz Artist of the Year”  by several regional magazines and it’s easy to see why.  Reminiescent of the George Shearing Trio,  their  mellow  music and  elegant piano added so much to the entire event,  helping make the 4th annual  “Corks and Forks”  one of the  most successful  to date .