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Taste & Toast Lands Perfect Summer Day for Arboretum Fundraiser

Guests at this year's Taste & Toast were treated to gorgeous wild gardens in full bloom.

If there’s a perfect setting for an outdoor summer food festival in Minnesota, it’s gotta be the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum in Chaska. On September 24, more than 1,000 people toured the gardens as part of Taste & Toast, sipping and noshing on cold beverages and small plates from more than 40 vendors, from lavender coffee spritzers to scallops wide awake on a bed of creamed corn.

At the Patrons Reception Featured Chef Jamie Malone of Grand Café and Eastside spread a flavorful cod mixture on crackers with tiny French pickles, fresh chervil and fennel oil. “I thought about what I would be eating in the gardens in France,” Malone said, when asked what the inspiration behind the dish was. Featured beverage vendor was Schram Vineyards and Schram Taproom.

Tickets for the fundraiser sold out in three day. Patrons pay a bit more and are allowed in an hour before the crowds, to meander up the pathway of food and libations. 

The weather, which hasn't been cooperating for restaurants lately, was on its best behavior for once—sunny, but cooling off as the event continued. 

Offerings included snacks, desserts, bits of entrees, candy and even a Vegas popcorn blend form the Arb Membership Crew, who were looking to sign up members. In addition there were plenty of chances to taste a variety of wines and beer. 

The annual event raises funds for the gardens and educational programs at the Arboretum. Next year's date is July 22.

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