A Trip to “Taste of the Valley”

Many of you are wondering what is Taste of the Valley. Well let me tell you.  Taste of the Valley was established in 2007 in Eau Claire. It is on the banks of the Chippewa River at Phoenix Park. The Taste of the Valley  offers great food and drinks from local Chippewa Valley vendors. The Taste of Valley vendors donate a percentage of their proceeds to United Way of the Greater Chippewa Valley.

Make sure you go with an appetite and enjoy the camaraderie with  thousands of people. You purchase tickets and can go try food and beverages from many different vendors. What a nice way to donate to a great organization as well as trying new restaurants, and their foods and drinks. They offer something for everyone.  The also had a Kid’s Zone for children to play in. They had a clown, face painting, and inflatable toys.

The scenery itself is amazing at Phoenix Park. It has come along way since I was a kid. Back in the 70’s it was houses on one side of the river and Phoenix Steel on the other side across Madison Street Bridge. A lot sure has changed. I could just sit there for hours and enjoy the view of the beautiful flowers or watching the ducks or tubers in the river. It has an amazing walking path that goes and goes and goes for miles. Above the river is a picture of the converted bridge that they made into a pedestrian bridge. A lot of people use it. Underneath, are old logs that have been there since they used to use the river for logging.

Taste of the Valley also offered live music. On Saturday night they had LoCash Cowboys play. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to make that but I’m sure it was a fun time had by all. On Sunday, during the day – they offered music from four different musicians and bands throughout the day. People had their lawn chairs, blankets, or even sat on the rocks listening to the entertainment. There was enough shade so if you didn’t want to sit in the sun, you could find a place to sit and keep cool.

Then of course there was the food booths. To many decisions to make. First we decided to walk around a bit to see what food offerings they had since we were there a little early. After we did our tour around the food booths, my mom and I found some shade to sit in, where we proceeded to map out our first food choices. Everything looked and smelled so good, where to start. Well, I myself chose to go the unhealthy route. First choice, homemade cheese curds from Milwaukee Burger. You got 4 big cheese curds that melted in your mouth. Nothing like the first taste of cheese curds during the summer festivals. I decided  to get an iced Cappuccino from Gloria Jean’s to go with that.

Sitting at the table and talking with mom, we had others that wanted to know if they could sit with us. It was a nice afternoon meeting new people, laughing and eating. There was a lady sitting across from us with this wonderful looking piece of cake. But I thought to myself, well I can make a cake at home. I wanted to try something new. But she said it was “sinful.”  It was Chocolate Bacon Cake from Jake’s Supper Club. I know what your thinking, eeew. But we decided to go for it and split the big piece that you got. It was a chocolate cake with a frosting which I wasn’t sure what was in it, and topped with crumbled bacon. It was EXACTLY as she said. “SINFUL”. The sweetness and the crunchiness of the bacon. Delicious. I’m sure it had a ton of calories but it was so worth the taste.  Melt in your mouth. At that moment I sure could have used a big cold glass of milk to go with it…  We even had enough tickets left so my mom got one to take home for my hubby.  He loved it….

No, unfortunately, we didn’t stop there. I decided that I wanted Crab Rangoon from Whiskey Dicks. So mom wanted to try it to. I stood in line for probably 1/2 hour but that was ok, cuz I had to try to make room for that as well. Yummy.

And at the end of the day, of course they had the “local” celebrity judges to weigh in on what they thought was the best appetizer, best entrée, and the best dessert. They had a ton of great choices. The celebrity judges ranged from new anchors, weatherman, & radio personalities. Unfortunately, we didn’t stay around to see what was the best in each category, but whatever it was, I’m sure they where great choices.

Anyway, by the time we left we were tired from all the walking and eating.. and eating…. But it was a very enjoyable day spending time laughing and just enjoying my mom’s company. I will definitely do it again next year. It goes to such a great cause. And here we are….. (of course she didn’t want her picture taken)

Make sure to put it on your to-do list next year. It was a good time.


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