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Food Pairing Competition Raises Money for the Discovery Center

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BINGHAMTON, N.Y. -

The inaugural "Summer's Best Match" food pairing competition put local restaurants, breweries, and wineries against one another to raise money for the Discovery Center.

"The funds that we raise tonight help pay for programming at the Discovery Center to keep the doors open and keep kiddos happy," said Abbey Hendrickson, Discovery Center Executive Director.

She expected nearly 200 people to show up to the event just outside of the LG&T Tennis Competition in Binghamton. Seven restaurants and eight breweries/wineries had to create a drink and dish combination that those in attendance voted as "the best match."

Competing Teams

  • The Colonial and The North Brewery
  • Despina's and Americana Vineyards
  • Uncorked Wine Loft and Sovereign Vines
  • Galaxy Brewing Company (Both food and beer)
  • Enfield's and Binghamton Brewery
  • Sake Tumi and Heron Hill
  • Alexander's Cafe and Farmhouse Brewery

There were dishes you would expect like braised pork and beer, but some of the teams thought outside of the box.

"I'm hoping that people really see two different things come into the culmination of one," said Andrew Switzer, Americana Vineyards.

He and his partner Elpi Karvounis from Despina's in Binghamton paired a sparkling wine with felafel - not something you see every day. Others like Kelly Weiss from Heron Hill Winery combined a Riesling with sushi.

No matter which team everyone was competing for, they all agree that the money is going to a great cause.

"My son is in college now, but he went to the Discovery Center all his life and we love it," said Weiss.

"The Discovery Center is a place that I spent a lot of my childhood at and they do a lot of good," said Kaelan Castetter, Sovereign Vines CEO.

Castetter and his company, which infuses wine with hemp, was in charge of coordinating the entire event. He plans to donate an additional 10% of all the profits they make selling wine at the competition to the LG&T Challenger and Tennis Charities Inc.