At the heart of the Taste is the stomach. This year, 16 local vendors will showcase creative cuisine, potent potables, farm-fresh produce and products. They are A Tavola Trattoria, Aroma Thyme Bistro, Brimstone Hill Vineyard & Winery, Hurd’s Family Farm, Jamaican Choice Cuisine, Jenkins & Lueken, Main Course Restaurant & Catering, Mohonk Mountain House, Moxie Cupcake, Neko Sushi, Robibero Winery, Ship Lantern Inn, Tantillo’s Farm Market, Toad Holly Pub, Whitecliff Vineyard and Wright’s Farm Market.
“Tastes” at each food or beverage booth cost $2 to $3, paid for by food tickets purchased at the entrance gate. Admission is $7. Children under 12 are admitted free. With portions styled to leave room for multiple courses, families, friends, neighbors and newcomers have the opportunity to sample a wide range of flavors from faithful favorites and brand-new businesses – none newer than Moxie Cupcake, which opened its doors at 215 Main Street in New Paltz just two weeks ago.
“I think the Taste of New Paltz is a great opportunity to showcase the wide range of taste in New Paltz, and a great opportunity for a new business to gain exposure,” said baker/owner Josie Eriole. “I don’t know exactly what to expect. It should be crazy – in a good way. I’m going to bake a couple of thousand cupcakes at least. Thankfully, I’m in my commercial kitchen now.”
Eriole will serve a selection of cupcakes, all made from scratch with high-quality ingredients, including fair-trade organic chocolate and locally sourced components when possible. Offerings will include the Apple Blossom, a spice cake loaded with chunks of Wright’s Farm Gala Red apples, as well as the Moxie, a double-chocolate chocolate-filled cake with Madagascar vanilla bean frosting.
Fellow freshmen vendors Bonnie and Nathan Snow of A Tavola Trattoria in New Paltz will offer meatball sliders made with turkey, pork, rosemary and oregano, braised in tomato and serve on a house-made garlic bun. The juicy finger-food is perfect for enjoying on the go, said Bonnie Snow, who attended as a visitor in previous years. She cited the opportunity to support the Chamber and the greater business community as compelling reasons for joining the event as a vendor.
“Our fellow businesses have been extremely helpful to us, sharing information and things we need – especially the farmers, who are a huge asset to us as a restaurant. We’re getting as much local product as we can from them: vegetables from down the road, harvested right before you eat them, that are so much better than ones coming in on an airplane or a truck. The amount of time the produce is allowed to grow has a lot of effect on the flavor,” said Snow.
From fine dining to sweet treats, there will be something to satisfy every palate. Last year, visitors feasted on diverse dishes – from pulled pork to sushi rolls, shrimp quesadillas to braised beef short ribs; jerk chicken and callaloo; Tasmanian crab and grapefruit salad; and grilled peaches and peach sorbet – washed down with local wines, sodas, coffee, tea and other specialty beverages.
While the participants and menus change annually, there are several stalwart stands. Count on Tantillo’s Farm Market of Gardiner to return, offering its popular hot apple crisp sundaes, candy apples, apple cider, ice cream and coffee, as well as hot dogs with all the fixings. The people and the place are among the things that keep them coming back year after year, said Beverly Tantillo.
“We’ve already started to cook the apples – buckets and buckets of them. We dice them small and cook them like you would for an apple pie, keep them warm in crockpots and cover them with a crisp baked topping, ice cream and whipped cream. It’s a lot of prep work, but we’ve decided it’s worth it. We get people coming right to us at the beginning of the day for our hot apple crisp sundae: They eat dessert first. And when they leave the Taste of New Paltz sometimes, they’ll come [to our farmstand] to get a big one,” said Tantillo.
Complementing the chefs are a wide variety of attractions for the whole family, including an Antiques Expo, with unique vintage wares for sale and free appraisal of small antiques; Artistic Expo, highlighting local painters, photographers and sculptors; Craft Expo, featuring ceramics, jewelry, handcrafted textiles and more; Business Expo, where visitors can enter raffles for specialty swag from local purveyors of goods and services; Wellness & Recreation Expo, for sports and health demonstrations and information; and Sustainable Agriculture Expo. Kids’ Expo, sponsored by the New Paltz Police Department, will have children’s crafts and games. Edible goods to go are available at the Country Store, and live entertainment throughout the day includes musicians Jude Roberts, Alex Mazur and the Big Takeover band. Motorcyclepedia, the new museum of rare and special motorcycles, which boasts a collection of more than 400 pieces at its 85,000-square-foot Newburgh home, will display a prime selection of sport bikes and choppers.
The Taste of New Paltz is sponsored by the New Paltz Chamber of Commerce and made possible through the donated labor of a dedicated corps of volunteers. Event admission director Carol Roper conducts a force of more than 40 community volunteers who sell entrance and food tickets, direct pedestrian traffic and help keep food lines flowing; a separate staff of volunteer cashiers handles money matters. Students from SUNY-New Paltz assist with setup, traffic control, programs and cleanup. Members of the New Paltz Youth Program form the cleanup crew. The New Paltz Police Department presents the Kids’ Expo and New Paltz High School Honor Society students assist with children’s activities.
The Ulster County Fairgrounds are located at 249 Libertyville Road in New Paltz. The event goes on rain or shine. For more information, call the New Paltz Chamber of Commerce at (845) 255-0243, or visit on the web at Newpaltzchamber.org.