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Food and Wine Experience returns to St. Croix on Thursday

Time:2019-04-03 03:18wine - Red wine life health Click:

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ST. CROIX — In just a matter of days, food lovers and wine connoisseurs from neighboring islands and stateside will visit the island for a grand celebration of local cuisine — all in the name of philanthropy.

The St. Croix Foundation for Community Development is preparing to host its 2019 St. Croix Food and Wine Experience, a culinary, wine and spirits festival, which will begin Thursday and run through Sunday.

Deanna James, executive director of the foundation, said she is grateful for the many people who have lifted the banner of philanthropy over the event’s 28 years.

“We have a number of dynamic partners and we work hard here at the foundation to ensure that we have the best opportunity to raise awareness about the multiple areas we cover,” James said.

James said she is very excited about this year’s event, because over the last 18 months — since two Category 5 hurricanes ravaged the islands — they have been struggling to get back to normal and maintain their community support.

“After the hurricanes, people begged us to go forward to do something and we did, but it was significantly scaled back,” she said. “So this year we are excited to have the full effect of the event back on track with all of the events and the attractions.”

The theme for this year’s Food and Wine Experience is “Food, Fun and Philanthropy,” and according to James, it highlights the St. Croix Foundation’s commitment to why it was established and how it hopes to continue helping the community.

“Here at the foundation we are a very unique organization,” James said. “We were founded by real conscious community activists so we work really hard to continue to support our own financial needs so that we do not compete with other non-profit organization for funds.”

“We are really about getting the most for our community and we bring partners on board to work side by side with us to ensure the commitment is there,” she said.

Funds raised from the St. Croix Food and Wine Experience support the St. Croix Foundation for Community Development and enables the foundation to continue its high-impact work in the areas of hurricane recovery, work force development, public safety, public education and economic development.

This year, with a partnership with The Good Food Coalition and a grant from Coca Cola, they are also putting emphasis on the farming industry, James said.

“We were awarded the grant that was focused initially on pop up shops, but we worked with them and had the blueprint retooled so that we could focus our support on pop up farm stands instead,” she said. “Many of our farmers lost everything with the hurricanes, they are still struggling to bounce back and rebuild and this is one way that we thought we could help them most.”

James said there will be a presentation about their renewed commitment to farming during the Sunset BBQ event on Friday and there will also be the presentation of the first farm stands.

According to the Food and Wine Experience website, the weekend event series will consist of a roster of talented chefs. The event also brings to the territory a variety of travel writers, bloggers and media representatives who broaden St. Croix’s national and international exposure as a culinary and cultural destination.

Events begin Thursday with “Bond at balter,” an invitation-only event where celebrity chefs will serve exclusive spirits and delectable appetizers at balter restaurant. Active philanthropists will be encouraged to meet and mingle during the event.

The fun will continue with one of the more popular and family oriented events, the Sunset BBQ on Friday at the Ann Abramson Pier in Frederiksted.

Other events include “Wine in the Warehouse” and the “Cork and Fork” event to be hosted at a private home, featuring a celebrity chef. Despite the $1,000 per plate ticket price, it is one of their most sought after events and has already sold out.

The series wraps up with the Gourmet Vintner Dinner, which includes a themed auction and a gourmet meal, prepared by chef Digby Stridiron and a celebrity Miami chef.

The event is about more than just food and wine, according to James. She said it is about connecting the various facets of the community and an opportunity to demonstrate the power of philanthropy.

“We develop some awesome partnerships and most of them worked hard behind the scenes following the hurricanes and we are thankful,” she said. “We also nurture partnerships with supporters like balter and their commitment to the historic restoration of their location. They are the vision of how we feel about revitalization and the direction we want everyone to move in.”

For information about, tickets, events, and sponsorship visit or call the Foundation at 340-773-9898.

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