Chili Cook-off Benefits Food Charity, Donors Sample 'Chili-Friendly' Wines (video included)
Wines of Wildwood owners hosted a fourth annual chili cook-off among four local restaurants Saturday to help a food bank, while assisting donors with more atypical wine selections to go with chili.
Chili-friendly wines are not the first pairings that wine connoisseurs learn, but that meal combination seemed delightfully fine during Saturday afternoon at Wines of Wildwood. Owners Karl and Cheri Hagnauer hosted their fourth annual chili cook-off to benefit the St. Louis Area Foodbank.
Donations of $3 to $5 each earned participants the opportunity to sample chili from four local restaurants, as well as four different wines. Everyone got to vote for their favorite chili, and the winning restaurant displays a traveling trophy from Wines of Wildwood until next year.
All donations went directly to the St. Louis Area Foodbank, and Wines Of Wildwood matched the total donations, tallying $594 this year.
The staff of Big Bear Grill restaurant produced a chicken chili, which was the favorite among tasters this year, according to the total votes. Wines of Wildwood offered an unoaked Chardonnay from California called Toad Hollow with it.
Indigo Joe's restaurant team provided a smoky sausage chili, which was paired up with a wine from Oregon called Evolution. This wine is a blend of nine grapes.
Clancy's Pub provided a traditional red chili, which was complemented with Spellbound, a Petite Sirah wine from California.
The staff of Big Chief Roadhouse sent a Mexican-oriented chili, which was offered with field-blended wine from the R Collection Lot No. 7 in California.
Tim Brady, of Eureka, said he dropped by the cook-off event because it was for a good cause, and he was curious about what wines would be recommended. "Putting a white wine with the second chili I tasted was not something I would've thought to do, but it was a nice match," he said.
The Hagnauers chose to support the St. Louis Area Foodbank because the organization's programs assist the area in a variety of ways:
- One in eight people in the St. Louis metropolitan area need food assistance.
- The Foodbank delivers more than 22 million pounds of food a year.
- A $1 donation buys four meals.
- 97 cents of every dollar donated to the organization goes directly to food distribution programs.
- The St. Louis Area Foodbank is the largest non-profit food distribution center in the bi-state area.
An on-site jewelry sale from Arlene Martin, with Premier Designs Jewelry in St. Louis, and Bissinger's chocolate samples topped off the cook-off and charitable event.
Editor's Note: For a few tips about choosing wines for chilis, please see the suggestions from Karl Hagnauer in the news video that accompanies this article.