Great wines and food equal cool cash for schools

More than 550 people turned out for the La Cañada Flintridge Ninth Annual Wine and Gourmet Food Tasting on Sunday, benefiting the La Cañada Flintridge Educational Foundation Endowment Fund.

Local wine shop Le Petit Vendome, along with other wine companies, curated the wine tastings for the event’s 20 wine booths. Local wine shops Montrose Rosso Wines and Montrose Wine Cave donated wines for the event’s auctions.

About 25 different restaurants, most from the La Cañada and Montrose areas, served up taquitos, pastries, curried chicken, beef brisket and other food items.

The Kiwanis Club of La Cañada, was a major sponsor and helped to market and organize the entire event in conjunction with the La Cañada Flintridge Chamber of Commerce, Le Petit Vendome and Verdugo Hills Hospital.

In addition to supporting the quality education of La Cañada public schools, many people came to the event to enjoy the food, wine, beer and unseasonably cool weather.

“I’ve been meaning to come for the last few years, but the weather is usually so hot that I don’t want to attend. But today the weather is so beautiful,” said La Cañada resident Kristen Brakeman. The meatballs served by Franks and Pepe’s ceviche tostadas were especially tasty, she said.

It was Marion Kuszyk’s first time to the food and wine event as well. Her husband, Brent Kuszyk, served as the marketing co-chair and is a member of the Endowment Fund’s board of directors. “I had a Berolina Bakery brownie that was just fabulous and a great Argentinean cabernet,” Marion Kuszyk said.

According to Lindsay McGregor, executive director of the La Cañada Educational Foundation, money raised at this particular fundraiser is placed in the Endowment Fund, which pays 5% to its general fund. This sum is in turn distributed to La Cañada schools to help reduce class size, promote drama, music, Spanish and art programs. Money from the fundraiser also goes toward maintaining library resources for area schools as well.

The Educational Foundation raised $2 million for the 2010-2011 calendar year which will be donated soon to area schools. The food and wine tasting event this last Sunday raised $33,000 alone.

In addition to tasting foods from local restaurants, guests also had the option to bid for bottles of wine hailing from Argentina, Oregon, Washington state’s Walla Walla region, California’s Russian River Valley, New Zealand, Germany and other diverse places from around the world.

The silent auction was exciting, with bottles of wine starting at $600 fetching well over $1,000. Pasadena’s historic Raymond Restaurant donated a wine and dinner package for four valued at $500, which went to the highest bidder at $750.

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