Palm Coast, FL (October 26, 2021) Hosting the most well attended Taste of the Fun Coast to date, more than 700 guests to the annual event were ready to sip and sample on Tuesday afternoon at the Hammock Beach Resort.
Benefiting the University of Florida Whitney Laboratory’s Sea Turtle Hospital, guests were eager to get the party started, with some arriving half an hour before the scheduled start time in anticipation, and restaurants across the region were happy to oblige.
Several restaurants, bakeries and catering services made their formal entrée into the area’s culinary scene at the Taste of the Fun Coast including Flagler’s newest steak house and entertainment venue, Tomahawk Tavern, led by restaurateur Jeremy Pombier.
Bakery sweetheart Melinda Rivera unveiled her new entity ‘Sweet & Sassy Treats’ with samples of baklava, rum cake and polvorón.
“I do catering for any type of sweets you can possibly imagine. I decided to try the Taste of the Fun Coast because we’re hoping within a year we can have our own storefront,” said Rivera, who says her signature chocolate cake is already receiving rave reviews.
“I’m very excited about this. I’ve always wanted to own my own business, and today just debuting, it means everything to me. I had a lady who just walked by and she said she heard my advertising on the radio and loved it, and it just swelled my heart.”
Eye-catching mini charcuterie cones filled with Irish Cheddar, salami, nuts, grapes, flat bread and a chocolate, offered a peek of Angelique Delage’s ‘Charcuterie Dreams’. The culinary artist hopes that by showcasing her business at the tasting event, party planners will be inspired to order her unique creations.
“These are made out of palm so they are eco-friendly, on top it, so they’re disposable,” said Delage of the cones holding the delicately designed samples. “What I do is create charcuterie boxes to go. So, people order them, I deliver them to them in boxes that are sustainable and I don’t have to go back and pick anything up.”
“This is amazing for people who are really super busy but want to have something that’s elegant and a lot of fun. I really hope that the Flagler area will embrace it and it takes off,” she said.
Set to open her brick and mortar location on State Road 100 in Bunnell soon, Becca Johnson offered up a variety of baked goods for guests to enjoy from her ‘Becca’s Sweet Tooth’ menu, sharing her peanut butter and chocolate treats, fresh baked sugar cookies, caramel coasted popcorn, and more.
“This is a dream from a decade or more ago. I’m really excited to hear what everyone thinks of them,” she said, counting her key lime cupcakes and biscotti among her biggest hits with customers.
Of course it wasn’t all sweets and nibbles.
Popular restaurants like The Atlantic Grille, Crab Shack 386, Beach Front Grille, and Texas Roadhouse provided generous tastings from their menus while gourmet food truck and catering service Ariel’s Fusion Cuisine had guests hovering around the oversized pot of fresh paella, inhaling the tantalizing aroma, which once ready, was quickly served piping hot.
Sharing a variety of holiday options for guests beginning to plan the upcoming season, Bill Oates, co-owner of Hammock Wine and his wife Lisa chatted amicably with guests who stopped to look or for a photo of the tastefully displayed charcuterie boards, and a glimpse of their retail wine selection with special case pricing.
“We are very happy to support anything that has to do with our community here in Palm Coast and the surrounding area,” said Oates.
“This is a wonderful event, and a time of year where people are starting to feel good about going back out and socializing. We’re advertising some of our holiday boards that can be pre-ordered and they’re actually shaped like wreaths and Christmas trees because my wife Lisa is very talented,” he said proudly.
Participating in the Taste of the Fun Coast event gave the couple an opportunity to reconnect with friends and neighbors while supporting the sea turtle hospital according to Oates.
Enjoying the evening with wife Linda and daughter Regan, Flagler County Commissioner Greg Hansen was glad to see local businesses flourishing after the pandemic.
“This is terrific. We have a lot of local vendors, and anything that brings people to the Hammock and shows off our beautiful Hammock is a pleasure for me to come to and support,” said Hansen.
Hoping to exceed 2020’s fundraiser to benefit the sea turtle hospital, Flagler Broadcasting’s vice president and general manager David Ayres was pleased by the enthusiasm of guests, and even happier to announce that 2021 had been even more successful, raising $10,585 throughout the evening.
Recalling the discussion with Coastal Cloud founders Sara and Tim Hale that led to the creation of the regional event, the collaboration has been a huge benefit to the sea turtle hospital, not only raising needed funds but awareness for the growing facility.
“It all started out that we wanted to do something for the sea turtle hospital at Whitney Labs,” said Ayres.
“A lot of people don’t know 386 spells F-U-N, so that’s why it used to be known as the ‘Fun Coast’. We have restaurants from St. Augustine, Daytona and mostly Flagler County here, so people can sip and sample some of the finer things we have here in the area, and it all goes for a great cause.”