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Feast for the eyes, and stomach at Glen Cove's Culinary Delights

Offering of small plates with big heart

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Foodies from across the North Shore crowded the Glen Cove Mansion on Monday for the Chamber of Commerce’s annual Culinary Delights event. For over 20 years, the chamber has brought together the best local restaurants, gourmet eateries, delicatessens, bakeries, chocolatiers, supermarkets, spirits purveyors and nutritionists, giving residents a chance to feast on the best food the community has to offer.

Walking through the gilded halls of the mansion during Culinary Delights is like being a kid in a candy store: It’s hard to know which treat to sample first. The air was sumptuously scented with flavors from all over the world, tempting taste buds even before guests took their first bites.

The evening’s offerings were varied and numerous — nearly 50 local eateries were represented. Diners were treated to freshly made salads from Forest Ave Grill, tuna tartare from the View, cheesy quesadillas from the Brass Rail in Locust Valley and tiramisu from St. Rocco’s Bakery.

The chamber created the event 22 years ago to promote its members and enhance the health and profitability of local businesses, explained Dr. Maxine Cappel Mayreis, who has chaired Culinary Delights for the past 15 years. “We appreciate the community coming to support the event and give their money to local businesses,” she said. “I thank the restaurants here. They just give of themselves, and without them we’d have a whole different character in our town.”

The event is more than a chance to delight in the culinary offerings the city has within and beyond its borders. A portion of the night’s proceeds benefited the North Shore Soup Kitchen and two Glen Cove High School seniors, who will receive scholarships from the chamber. “We’re like a big family here in Glen Cove,” Mayreis said, “and this event has only grown and marinated for all my life.”

City Councilwoman Pamela Panzenbeck — who is partial to the salads from Forest Ave — said the chamber’s hard work results in a wonderful community event that many residents look forward to. “This gives everyone here an opportunity to taste foods from all of our fabulous restaurants,” Panzenbeck said, “and hopefully the restaurants gain some business.”

Glen Cove Mayor Tim Tenke — who sampled a savory pupusa from El Tazumal — said the event offers a pure taste of everything the city has to offer. He also commended the chamber’s efforts. “They’re promoting their members,” he said, “and having one event that says, ‘You got to see what we have in Glen Cove’ is a great way to do it.”

“The local people showcase their wares to let the community know what’s available,” Mayreis said. The interaction between merchants and consumers helps residents better appreciate where their food comes from — and it helps the chefs, too.

Sharon Ellenbogen, the director of Culinary Services at the Atria in Glen Cove, said, “It’s a great way for us to focus on the techniques we can utilize, the creativity we have and the flavors we create to make our meals special for our residents, their families and visitors. It’s also fun to network and see what other restaurants are doing.”

The event was formerly held in the dining room of the Regency. Chamber members, Mayreis recalled, pushed the tables and chairs against the wall to make way for the vendors. And while the venue has changed — now spanning three large rooms at the Mansion — the event’s philosophy remains the same: “Eat until you explode, drink until you’re blind and go home happy,” she said.