Taste of Buffalo at Home organizers have released more details for the virtual food festival scheduled for July 11 and 12 in lieu of the traditional in-person event. It'll feature cooking demonstrations, live music and other food-related activities online.
At the heart of Taste of Buffalo at Home is the Taste Takeout initiative. Tops and more than half of the restaurants, food trucks, and wineries that were slated to participate in the original event will instead prepare special food offerings available for takeout or at the store or restaurant (where available) on July 11 and 12, and continuing the following week while supplies last.
"COVID-19 has changed our world, but our passion for the things that make Western New York such a special place remains," said Erin Collins, 2020 Taste of Buffalo chair. "To keep the Taste of Buffalo tradition alive and provide much-needed support for our local restaurant community, we had to re-imagine the Taste of Buffalo format. The restaurants remain at the heart of the event in addition to bringing a fun, community-centric atmosphere into people’s homes.”
An interactive virtual festival guide available now at tasteofbuffalo.com features a full menu of the Taste Takeout offerings from participating restaurants, food trucks, wineries, and Tops along with links to make it easy to order. To further support local restaurants, gift cards from some of the participating restaurants and wineries will also be sold at a discount throughout the weekend.
Giving back to the community has always been a significant part of the Taste’s mission. Throughout the event weekend, virtual food tickets will be sold online to benefit FeedMore WNY and support the organization’s ongoing hunger relief efforts.
Keeping the focus on food, the Taste is recreating a live festival favorite with the Virtual Culinary Stage. Chef Darian Bryan and other Buffalo area chefs will be live on the Taste’s Facebook and Instagram pages cooking and grilling summer dishes. Demos will take place on June 28, July 1 and throughout the Taste weekend on July 11 and 12. Guests will have the chance to sign up on the VIP list and get “ingredient boxes” that will include everything needed to cook along with Chef Darian. Other segments include Buffalo’s own Singing Cops making Moe’s famous shrimp and grits, an Arugula and Grilled Sweet Potato Salad presented by Independent Health Foundation’s Healthy Options, a delicious and easy Buffalo pork ribs dish from NY Pork Producers, and cooking lessons with kids.
Other virtual experiences Taste fans can look forward to:
• The Virtual Wheel of Prizes. Spin the virtual wheel to win Taste restaurant gift cards, Tops gift cards and boxes filled with a variety of Tops brand product samples and other goodies. Guests can also make a donation to FeedMore WNY.
• The Virtual Selfie Booth. You can picture yourself at the Taste. Take a free selfie, add stickers and the hashtag #TasteofBuffaloatHome, and share it with friends.
• Live Music presented by Tops. A variety of local musicians and full bands will play live shows throughout the festival weekend.
• Coca-Cola Virtual DJ Dance Party. A highlight of the live festival, this year guests can join the party on Zoom compliments of Coca-Cola.
• Taste of Fun KidZone. Explore and More Children’s Museum and Independent Health Foundation will provide interactive activities for kids and families. Independent Health Foundation will give away kits to take part in the Make a Healthy Trail Mix activity and WNY Book Arts will host a DIY virtual origami workshop. Programming will take place throughout the festival weekend.
The complete schedule of experiences, including times for culinary demonstrations, live music and more, is available now at tasteofbuffalo.com.