Out East: High Desert Party

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By Laura Wolstenholme

On Sunday, June 9, anyone hiking the Boise foothills near Table Rock may think they’re seeing a mirage through the heat and dust of the afternoon sun. In the valley below, hundreds of people will be seen meandering on lush garden paths edged with vibrant flowers. They will be laughing and chatting away while consuming delightful wines and succulent food under the cool, flickering leaves.

Amazingly, this site is not a mirage, but a true oasis. This is Savor Idaho.

Savor Idaho began five years ago as a way to bring Idahoans together to celebrate our state’s food and wine. Since then, Idahoans from every corner of the state, and indeed the Northwest, arrive in Boise to enjoy this annual event. This year, guests will have the opportunity to sample wines from 25 wineries across Idaho, as well as the culinary fare of fourteen regional chefs.

Moya Shatz Dolsby, who created Savor Idaho, explains that when living in Seattle she organized and directed “Taste Washington” a large, in-door event that highlighted Washington’s wines and food. After moving to Idaho, Dolsby wanted to initiate something similar but on a smaller scale and outside, an event to take advantage of Boise’s beautiful summer weather.

The event has flourished since its inception. Always on the second Sunday afternoon of June when Boise’s skies are blue and sunny, the 900 tickets sell quickly, and the event is typically sold-out at least a week in advance. Dolsby says they could add more tickets, but prefer to keep the event smaller so that guests don’t feel crowded.

Tickets are purchased in advance, in an effort to save guests from the hassle of on-site transactions as they enjoy the food and wine.

Not only does Savor Idaho showcase the wine and food of Idaho, but you can catch a glimpse of Idaho’s personality as well. “The event is very casual, very nice,” says Dolsby, “But at the same time, sophisticated.” Having lived and worked in other states, Dolsby says Idahoans are distinct in their values. She says, “Idahoans are just oriented to family, friends and making new friends,” and that’s what makes Savor Idaho a real party.

Savor Idaho is a slightly different experience each year as new dimensions are introduced. Adding to the fun in the last couple of years is a vertical ‘Wheel of Wine’ game, through which guests can win a bottle of wine, as well as seminars about topics such as how to taste wine and the history of Idaho wineries and, this year, a wine shop organized by the Boise Co-op will be on-site so that guests may purchase the wine the wines they fall in love with.

To learn more about the event, the wineries and the food that will be featured at the year’s Savor Idaho, please visit http://www.savoridaho.org.

Tickets are still available at $45 each, and may be purchased from the event’s website.