Palates and palettes combine at 'Celebrate Your Taste'

PlacerArts celebrates food, wine, music
By: Krissi Khokhobashvili, Journal Features Editor
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Lovers of fine art and fine wine are welcome at PlacerArts’ second annual “Celebrate Your Taste” dinner April 27. The Arts Building Gallery will be transformed into an intimate restaurant where foodies can enjoy a catered gourmet dinner with art as the backdrop.

“‘Celebrate Your Taste’ is one of the lead-up events to ‘Outside the Box,’ but the event itself is focused simply on Placer-grown food, wine and music,” said Angela Tahti executive director of PlacerArts.

On display at the gallery, “Outside the Box” features creations from 100 artists who crafted pieces out of deconstructed wooden boxes. The exhibit will culminate in a live auction May 19, but silent auction bids are now being accepted.

“I love the box show,” said Laura Kenny, whose Real Food Catering will prepare dinner. “The artists who participate continue to impress me more and more each year. I can’t wait to see the most recent creations.”

One of those creations is by Auburn artist Joe Gonzales, whose “Outside the Box” entry combines sculpture with fine wine. “Boo on Box Wine” incorporates bottles from Placer vintners and sculpted grapes into a rustic setting that brings to mind old-fashioned wineries.

“My inspiration was immediately just the fine wines that are produced here in our area in the foothills that I really enjoy, and I’m sure the whole community enjoys,” Gonzales said.

On the menu are seasonal crudités with roasted garlic hummus; crostini with balsamic roasted onions and Roquefort cheese; vegetarian spring rolls with sweet chili sauce; mini mustard barbecued pulled-pork sandwiches with coleslaw and mini strawberry shortcakes. The food will be served with wines from PaZa, Pescatore, Dono dal Cielo and Lone Buffalo Vineyards. Guests can enjoy four pours included in the ticket price, and can purchase additional wine as well.

Kenny and Joanne Neft’s new cookbook, “The Art of Real Food,” will be available as well. “Celebrate Your Taste” takes place the night before the official release, which will be from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the farmers market in Old Town Auburn. The authors will be at both events to sell and sign copies of the book, which features recipes using ingredients purchased at the farmers market.

Harmonic duo Fire in the Kitchen will play music during the evening, providing Americana old-time tunes with Diana Claire on guitar and Tad Kitada on mandolin.

Tahti said the inaugural “Celebrate Your Taste” in 2011 was a pleasant art- and food-filled evening, and she looks forward to another great event.

“This is a really great girls night out, a great date night, and great just for fun … in a really beautiful environment with good food and wine, and a nice group of people.”

Reach Krissi Khokhobashvili at Follow her on Twitter, @AuburnJournalAE.


Celebrate Your Taste

When: 7 p.m. Friday, April 27

Where: The Arts Building, 808 Lincoln Way, Auburn

Cost: $20 at the door, or (530) 885-5670


A glass of charity

The winner of Auburn Daybreak Rotary’s “Celebrate Your Taste” raffle will take home a wine refrigerator filled with 35 bottles of wine.

Ticket sales will benefit the Boys & Girls Club and Auburn Fire Department. Damon Meier, an engineer at the fire department, said proceeds will be used for public education materials to teach fire prevention in schools. 

Tickets are on sale now for $20 each by calling President Dennis Williams at (530) 889-0845 or Karen Williams at (530) 889-0844, or at Master Technicians, 12209 Locksley Lane No. 15, Auburn. Price includes one raffle ticket and admission to “Celebrate Your Taste.” The drawing will be held at 7 p.m. April 27, at the event.


Strawberry shortcake with whipped cream

Chef Laura Kenny will serve miniature versions of these treats at “Celebrate Your Taste.”


5 to 6 cups strawberries, halved

¼ cup sugar

Toss together in medium bowl and set aside.



4 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

¼ cup sugar

2 heaping tablespoons baking powder

5 ounces cold butter, cubed

2½ cups cream plus 1 tablespoon for brushing tops

½ teaspoon Demerara sugar (optional)

Sift together flour, salt, sugar and baking powder in large bowl. Cut in butter until almost cornmeal stage. Add 2½ cups cream a little at a time, stirring to incorporate, but careful not to over-mix. Roll dough out on a floured surface, about ½- to ¾-inch thick. Cut into 3¼-inch rounds; brush tops lightly with remaining cream and sprinkle with sugar. Bake 14 minutes at 350 degrees.


Whipped cream

2 cups heavy whipping cream

¼ cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

In a medium bowl, whisk cream until slightly thickened. Add sugar and vanilla, continue to whip until thick. To serve, cut biscuits in half, placing bottom on a small plate. Spoon strawberries over biscuit, add cream and top with the other half of the biscuit.