Wine & Cheese event another great evening for SRC

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Program cover for the wine-and-cheese tasting.

More than 30 people turned out for a very special “Rotary Home Cooking” series event on Saturday evening in East Greenbush.

Titled “An International Wine & Cheese Tasting,” it drew the crowd to Roberto Martinez’s residence despite rainy, chilly weather for the event designed and co-hosted by Roberto, Bill Dowd, and Jim Leyhane on behalf of the club’s International & Foundation Committee to support Gift of Life, ShelterBox, and other ongoing Rotary global programs.

A wide variety of hors d’oeuvres, sliders, specialty salads, mini-hot dogs, mac-and-cheese, chicken strips, and numerous desserts was available in addition to pairings of wines from eight countries and cheeses from American and European makers selected by The Cheese Traveler gourmet shop in Albany to pair with each, plus cornichons, Provencal olives, and charcuterie as palate cleansers. All that, plus a range of artisanal beers, spirits, and soft drinks, and a selection of New York State wines.

While the hors d’oeuvres and other foodstuffs and beverages were available all evening, the focal point was a guided tour of the wines and cheeses led by Bill Dowd, who has been a judge in international wine and spirits competitions for decades.

He distributed event programs he specially designed for the event that included information about the wines chosen from his personal collection from France, Germany, Austria, Spain, Italy, Greece, Argentina, and Portugal as well as the cheeses selected for the tasting by Mary Rizzo, the new owner of The Cheese Traveler, after detailed consultation with the event co-hosts, particularly Roberto and Jim. And, Mary graciously offered us a price discount in recognition of Rotary’s focus on public service.

Here are some scenes from the festivities:

Bill Dowd
Bill Dowd explains some of the international wines being presented for tasting.
The cheeses, charcuterie, and palate cleansers selected to pair with the wines.
Guiliana Cianfarrani and Matt Smith hit the non-wine beverage area.
Is this not a relaxed looking group?
The broccoli salad calls to April Dowd.
Kara Leyhane and friends engaged in a chat.
Ladies & gents, your party co-hosts (from left): Jim Leyhane, Bill Dowd, Roberto Martinez.
Is anyone taking notes of this high-level chat?
The children’s hour.
Proud first-time parents Nicole and Brian Forth …
Natalie & Friends
… and their daughter Natalie Ann with a couple of her admirers.
Ron Annis chomps while Monika Annis chats.
One of several tables of food being devoured by the crowd.
group 2
Lois Hannan, do you feel as if you’re being watched? And, why?
Kevin Leyhane catching a breath of cool air on the deck.
Mike Stangl intently studies the tasting guide.
Eventual “SRC First Lady-in-Waiting” Giuliana with SRC’s next two presidents — Andy Leyhane (middle) and Matt Smith.
Roberto’s digital kitchen message board.
Mary Rizzo
Mary Rizzo of The Cheese Traveler displays some of the cheeses she selected.
The Rotary sign welcomes visitors to the path to the party.

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