Palisade festival entertains palate

DEAN HUMPHREY/The Daily Sentinel—Chef Jonathan Rashleigh prepares hors d’oeuvres during Edesia, a fundraiser for Marillac Clinic. Rashleigh was working in his Craving food truck outside Wine Country Inn in Palisade. The event featured food and drink samples, plus chef demonstrations

From dessert cups to savory appetizer bites to samples of wine, beer and liquor, Edesia offered a little bit of something for everybody Sunday at Wine Country Inn.

Now in its fourth year, Edesia: A Palisade Culinary, Wine & Spirits Adventure has grown since its inception, bringing in new vendors, new chefs and new ideas to create a unique experience for the hundreds who turn out.

A portion of the proceeds every year goes to Marillac Clinic, which offers a wide range of health care services to the uninsured or under-insured in the area.

The opportunity to get dressed up and enjoy an afternoon sampling a variety of food and drink meant Sunday’s $75 ticket was a valuable one for Palisade residents Jackie Stapher and Mario Coringrato.

Smoking his trademark cigar outside Wine Country Inn, Coringrato said he hasn’t missed one Edesia. He knows many local winemakers and enjoys supporting Palisade events.

This year was highlighted by several firsts:

■ A heated, outdoor beer garden, where chef Jonathan Rashleigh prepared an appetizer in his Craving gourmet food truck.

■ A larger lineup of guest chefs offering live demonstrations, including Nitza Mendoza from Coral Gables, Fla., and a crew from Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts in Boulder.

■ A sold out VIP luncheon before Edesia’s main event that Jean Tally, one of Wine Country Inn’s founders, raved about.

■ An increased presence of local growers, including Melanie McHugh and Blaine Diffendaffer of Blaine’s Tomatoes & Farm. They aren’t responsible for making the food at many of the area’s finest restaurants, but they are responsible for growing it,

The farm at 33 3/4 Road in rural Clifton sells to local restaurants such as Bin707 Foodbar, 626 on Rood and No Coast Sushi, Diffendaffer said.

Local restaurants’ desires to source product locally is such a blessing, said McHugh.

The opportunity for people to see the collaboration that takes place among local growers, restaurants, and drink makers is worthwhile in such an agriculturally rich area, Jean Tally said.

“Every year we hear the same comment: ‘It just keeps getting better and better,’” she said. “The key to success is community partners.”

Edesia already set the date for next year’s event as March 29.


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