Taste of Winter Haven Serves Many Great Tastes of Winter Haven
by James Coulter
Steak tips and mashed potatoes smothered in savory gravy and served inside cocktail glasses. Grilled salmon served on a bun as a burger with all the fixings. Grilled brats and onions served alongside shamrock green shots.
All of these tasty treats and more were served at the annual Taste of Winter Haven, hosted by the Greater Winter Haven Chamber of Commerce on Thursday at Venue 650. Several dozen local eateries, bars, and catering companies participated in the event to serve their best dishes.
Victor and Ashley Marrero, owners of Kairos Nutrition, madeprotein donuts drizzled with chocolate or caramel sauce, topped with sugary cereal bits, and served with nutrient and vitamin-infused refreshers.
Victor and his wife have been attending the event for the past two years. This was their first time participating as Chamber members. Aside from sharing their delicious and healthy treats, they also enjoy being able to engage with the community at large.
“We just want to be part of the community,” Victor said. “Being a part of the Chamber here in Winter Haven allows us to get to events like this that allow us to expose our business to the community…Last year, we had an incredible event. So we made sure to participate again this year. I think it is even better this year. We probably have more people here tonight.”
Christa Morgan, manager of The Catering Company, served mini strawberry flatbread with goat cheese, fresh basil, and a balsamic glaze. Those items were offered alongside “steaktinis”,which were steak tips and mashed potatoes in gravy served in cocktail glasses.
The Catering Company has been attending Taste of Winter Haven for the past seven years. Morgan appreciated being able to attend the event at the new venue, Venue 650, which she considered an upgrade from the event being hosted in the park and downtown area.
“I like the new move to Venue 650,” she said. “It is more spread out. And I like being inside rather than outside like it used to be.”
Ever since its inception, Taste of Winter Haven has brought together countless local eateries and catering companies in the Winter Haven community to share the diverse selection of their menus. This year featured such local businesses as Duke’s Brewhouse, Lucille’s American Café, and the Treasured Olive.
Hannah Spivey, Programs and Events Manager, was especially impressed by the turnout that turned out a full house: “It has been great. I love it. It has been sold out. We are now at capacity. Every vendor brought a great amount of food. We have only heard great things about it.”
She owes the event’s success to its vendors, sponsors, and participants. Whenever they host this event, everyone shows up for good food and conversation.
“It brings joy to everyone here. It has always been fun connecting our businesses to our community and it has been really good,” she said. “It is something not many places get to experience. We get to try many things in one sitting. So it is unique and gives a great perspective.”