Taste of Derby ~ A Celebration of Cuisine & Racing

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Taste of DerbyI’m back! And I had a fantastic time with Pure Leaf at the 138th running of the Kentucky Derby.

There is SO much more to the Derby then that exhilarating two minute run for the roses though, and I’ll be sharing a number of posts of what I got to experience in Louisville that weekend.

We started our weekend with a Red Carpet entrance at the Third Annual Taste of Derby.

Red Carpet Taste of Derby

What could be better than three hours of food and wine tastings? Not much! This is one of the “must attend” events of the celebration leading up to the running of America’s greatest horse race, and is filled with an eclectic assortment of tastes for everyone’s palate.

This large airplane hangar was filled with tables upon tables of food dishes and wine pairings.

Pure Leaf Tea Taste of Derby

So naturally because of the graciousness of Pure Leaf in selecting me to participate in this incredible experience, my first taste was the mixed drink that the bartender made of bourbon and Unsweetened Pure Leaf Iced Tea . He was very generous with the bourbon. I think next time I’ll have the Sweet Tea Pure Leaf with a “splash” of bourbon! But regardless it was a great way to start off the evening.

Unsweetened Pure Leaf Tea Bourbon Drink

So with plate and stemware in hand….it’s time to show you only a portion of what we tasted that evening, prepared by award-winning chefs.

Plastic Plate Stemware

From Atlanta, GA, Top Chef Eli Kirshtein presented Jerusalem Artichoke Veloute with Black Truffle, Parmesan & Brioche.

Jerusalem Artichoke Veloute

Chef Kent Rathbun from Abacus in Dallas, TX let us taste his Asian Smoked Pork Steam Bun with Green Mango- Tomato Slaw.

Asian Smoked Pork Steam Bun

From Ten Palms, Chef Ralph Pagano made Tacos Barbacoa with Red Onion Escabeche, Avocado and Crema.

Tacos Barbacoa

Why yes that is Cat Cora!

Cat Cora Taste of Derby

And keeping with the Derby mint, she whipped up Sesame Encrusted Lamb Meatballs with Harissa Yogurt, White Bean Tahini & Crispy Mint for us all.

Sesame Encrusted Lamb Meatball

Oh and there was so much more!

But you know we had to leave room for dessert, there was no lack of sweets here.


Taste of Derby Cupcakes

Push Up Cakes

Nutella Marshmallow Push Cake Pop

and you all know how I LOVE my ice cream. Naturally ice cream in Kentucky especially Chef Jo Jo Doyle’s from Levy Restaurants in Louisville would have bourbon in it! This was SO good, the little taste cup was not nearly enough, I just wanted a spoon to dig into the container!

Derby Bourbon Crunch Ice Cream

And while all this was simply indulgent, partial proceeds of this event benefited hunger relief charities. A donation to Blessings in a Backpack was made, so that children around the country can receive a backpack filled with food (with items like noodles and oatmeal) to help supplement their diets on weekends. That put a smile on my face!

Taste of Derby Cocktail Dress

Stay tuned for more posts where I’ll share pictures from a tour of Churchill Downs, how Pure Leaf ensures a consistent and authentic taste to their Iced Teas, meeting Top Chef judge Gail Simmons, Hat fashion, the whole energy and excitement about the races, and more food!

I have been invited to participate in a taste immersion experience with Pure Leaf, for which they provided full travel expenses, meals and accommodations and other premiums, however my opinions are completely my own and I have not been compensated to publish positive or negative reviews of the event or products associated with my experience.

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