Food & Drink

Annual 'Taste of Madison' Event Coming April 7

The 2014 Taste of Madison Organizing Committee, after a recent breakfast meeting at the Park Avenue Club. Seated: Cara Bradshaw, Maureen Byrne, Danielle Dixon. Standing:  John Morris, Jim Hollenbach, Michael Odell, Bob Conley, Wendy Tait, Anna Riker, David Morozoff, Michele Dominguez. Absent from photo, Russell Stern, Mark Fabyanski, Jim Burnet, Rocco Iossa, Gary Fisch.

MADISON, NJ - One New Jersey's premier food events is returning to the borough this spring.

The annual Taste of Madison will be held on Monday, April 7 and will exclusively feature the best wines from Napa Valley.

Gary’s Wine & Marketplace is the presenting sponsor of the Taste of Madison 2014, which will be held at The Park Avenue Club, 184 Park Ave., Florham Park. Madison’s best restaurants will provide samples of their best dishes.

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 “Certainly, the Taste of Madison has become an event for restaurants old and new to show off their best,” said Madison Mayor Bob Conley, who is a founder of the Taste of Madison and a continuing member of the organizing committee. “Because it has always been held in winter or early spring, the 'Taste' has become a community event to combat the winter blues,” he said.

Member wineries of the Napa Valley Vintners are making a special east coast appearance at the Taste, which was arranged by Gary’s.

“The Taste and its guests are very fortunate that the great wineries from Napa Valley are visiting us and sharing their great wines,” said Danielle Dixon, a Taste co-chair. “It’s one of the things that make the Taste of Madison so unique.”

Along with the food and wine, the Taste offers its guests a silent auction and basket raffle, which will be comprised of merchandise and services donated by Madison’s business and friends of Madison. The Taste also has a 50/50 raffle.

The Taste of Madison offers two kinds of tickets. VIP Admission at $100 permits entry an hour early at 6 p.m. General Admission at $65 permits entry at 7 p.m. The event ends at 9:30 p.m. All guests must be 21 years of age or older.

Tickets are available at and at Gary’s Wine & Marketplace at 121 Main St. and at Gary’s locations in Wayne and Bernardsville.  D torr boutique at 36 Main St. and Sprouts Consignment at 250 Main St. are also selling tickets. Ticket won’t be sold at the Taste so they must be purchased in advance.

Along with ticket sales, the auctions and the 50/50 raffle, the Taste generates revenue through corporate sponsorships. For information about mutually beneficial sponsorship opportunities, contact Maureen Byrne, a Taste co-chair at or (973) 714-0110.

Byrne said producing the Taste is “very labor intensive” for Madison’s restaurateurs and their staffs and the vintners from Napa Valley. “In addition, more than one-hundred volunteers from our community work the night of the event. They handle guest relations and even pour wine. The Taste is definitely Madison putting its best foot forward,” Byrne said.

The Taste of Madison has been held annually since 2002. “The Taste’s mission,” according David Morozoff, a Taste co-chair, “is to entertain its guests in a sophisticated and gracious manner, to promote the fine restaurants of Madison and to raise funds for many community-based initiatives.”

The Taste of Madison Organizing Committee, which is comprised of volunteers from businesses, non-profits and higher education, is a partnership between the Madison Chamber of Commerce, the Madison Downtown Development Commission and the Rotary Club of Madison. The partnering non-profits equally share production responsibilities and proceeds. Proceeds help to fund local charities, civic improvements and business development in Madison.

In its first 12 annual editions, the Taste has raised $385,000 and has entertained 5,500 guests. The 2013 Taste had proceeds of $38,650 and entertained 383 guests.

The Napa Valley Vintners (NVV) is the non-profit trade association responsible for promoting and protecting the Napa Valley appellation as the premier wine-growing region in world. Founded in 1944, NVV represents almost 500 Napa Valley wineries and is a leader in the world-wide wine industry. “Cultivating excellence” is NVV’s motto.

For more information about the Taste of Madison, visit or contact the Madison Chamber of Commerce at or 973-377-7830.

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