Sholom Benefit Pairs Great Food, Beverages

Having expert pairings of wine and food is a time-honored tradition, and an expectation at any of the higher-end restaurants in the Twin Cities. But what about pairing great cocktails or beer with food? While that’s a less-heralded movement, it’s no less important to the food world.

Two of the rising stars of the beverage world will be featured guests at this year’s Food For Your Soul, Sholom‘s annual fundraiser to benefit the senior living facilities in St. Louis Park and St. Paul. Matt Schwandt, the head brewer at Bauhaus Brew Labs, and Marco Zappia, the director of training for Bittercube will be two of the “Featured Foodies” who will be at parties across the Twin Cities Metro Area on June 16.

Food For Your Soul has been taking place since 2011, and helps provide the “extras” for more than 1,000 residents, tenants, and clients served daily by Sholom.

“I think the event is a wonderful way to spotlight Sholom,” said Rollye Rinkey, the chairperson of this year’s event. “It’s a way for the community to gather in a unique and intimate way. At the event, we have a way of telling the story of Sholom. It’s promoting in a fun and festive way for people of all ages.”

Of the 15 parties, two are designated as “Under 40s” events. Schwandt will be at one hosted by Temple of Aaron’s Rabbi Jeremy Fine and his wife, Jessie. The other is at Prairie Dog Sausages in Uptown, hosted by Sheri and Adam Dveris and Cara and Andy Strauss, and featuring restaurant consultant Tobi Niditz and Prairie Dog chef and co-owner Craig Johnson.

“We’re very excited to host,” said Rabbi Fine. The food that will be paired at their home will be a scaled-down version of the CrossRiver Kosherfest that he masterminded at Temple of Aaron the past two years. “We’ll have different tasters, paired with various beers that Matt and I have gone through. He’s going to talk not only about the beer itself, but his journey.”

Schwandt was a guitar major at Belmont University before going through law school. He started Bauhaus in Northeast Minneapolis in 2014 after a career as an attorney. A lot of the recipes were ones he developed as a homebrewer.

“We designed our beers to be very food-friendly, and chefs know that about us,” Schwandt said. “We tend to focus on a few styles that we do really well.”

Schawndt will pair his beers – he has four year-round taps and up to two seasonal, rotating taps – when Fine gives him the final menu.

Zappia has a different challenge. He’s the featured foodie at the Minneapolis event hosted by Lisa and Alan Bernick, and Marissa and David Upin. At Bittercube, Zappia works with a team to make a variety of housemade bitters to use in cocktails. Pairing cocktails and food can be a challenge.

“Cocktails are really bad food pairings,” Zappia said. “The whole idea of a cocktail is that you experience it by itself, in a bubble. It can be a palate wrecker.”

Zappia is trying to avoid this by creating cocktails that pair with the menu that has been developed for the event. (Editor’s note: I’m not going give anything away, but both food and drink menu here sounds incredible).

“There are two ways to go in creation,” Zappia said. “The first and easiest is mimicking what’s on the plate. It can mirror the food that is showcased. The other way is experienced-based. It’s reminiscent of smells and tastes from another part of your life. It can be an out of body experience. That’s our favorite way to go about it.”

For more information about Food For Your Soul, including registration and other Featured Foodies, go to the event’s website.