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Arboretum’s Best Party of the Summer



Featured Chef Michelle Gayer, Sue Zelickson, honorary co-chair, and Susie Hopper, communications, media and PR relations for the arboretum, kick off the patron reception before the gates opened for general admission.

Taste & Toast declared itself the “Best Party of the Summer,” and while we didn’t go to every party this summer, this fundraiser for the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum near the end of July just might be the toast of the town. 

For starters, a foodcentric event would be hard pressed to find a more perfect setting than the arboretum gardens in full bloom. Scattered throughout the landscape were larger-than-life origami sculptures from the current exhibit and white tents filled with bite-sized food—including at least three different versions of ceviche—and beer, cider and wine. 

Around 45 food and beverage stations meandered down a well-traveled pathway—more than 1,000 people attended, 150 more than last year at the sold-out event. Michelle Gayer of Salty Tart, a James Beard-nominated pastry chef, was the featured chef. She served delicious lavender shortbreads topped with peaches, which turned out to be the dessert before dinner, since she had the coveted spot at the beginning of the trail. Helping her out was her daughter, a deal the two worked out in order for her teen to earn a night out with her friends and the car. 

Sociable Cider Werks was the featured brewer. 

Mill Valley Kitchens had a clever gimmick. Buy a pair of its logo’d sunglasses, post a selfie on Instagram wearing them, and be eligible to win a gift card to the restaurant. 

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