Dig Baton Rouge

Matters of Taste

By Tara Bennett

Rebecca Jacobs has a huge heart, and charity holds a special place in it. But with balancing her work life and personal life, there’s not always a chance to volunteer as much as she would like.

To combat this, Jacobs created an annual event, which would allow her to select a charity to provide donations—the Charcuterie, Pâtés & Rosés (CPR) tasting event, which celebrates its second anniversary this year. The event highlights charcuterie boards with cheese, pâté spreads, and a selection of rosé wine for all attendees, along with live music and entertainment.

“I love getting to know different charities and organizations to learn about how they benefit the community in their own special ways,” said Jacobs. “I always wanted to give back and this is the opportunity for me.”

Last year, Jacobs collaborated with Chef Scott Varnedoe of Restaurant IPO to host CPR in support of the Bella Bowman foundation, a charity in memory of seven-year-old Bella Bowman who lost her battle with a brain tumor in 2011. The Bella Bowman Foundation now strives to support research initiatives for pediatric brain cancer.

“Talk about a beautiful family and story right there,” said Jacobs. “Already, in two years, I have learned so much more about charity, the joy of giving back, and how every little bit touches somebody else’s heart. And that makes it all worth it to me.”

This year, Jacobs is partnering with the Ronald McDonald House Charities in Memphis. According to its website, Ronald McDonald House in Memphis provides supportive services and a “home-away-from-home” for St. Jude families and their children receiving treatment for cancer and other catastrophic childhood illnesses. Since opening its doors in 1991, Ronald McDonald House of Memphis has provided a home for more than 8,300 children from nearly every state and 45 countries. CPR is being held in honor of Parker Rivera, a Lafayette teenager who passed away in January from Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Rivera and his family lived at the Ronald McDonald House in Memphis while he underwent treatment.

“That was very special to them and made things a little bit easier for them,” said Jacobs. “This year when I was thinking about what charity I wanted to partner with, it was kind of a no-brainer.”

Ten percent of ticket sales, as well as 100% of the proceeds from the silent and live auctions, will be donated to the charity.

CPR moved this year from Restaurant IPO to the Roux House where Jacobs works as its event manager to accommodate a larger crowd and additional entertainment. According to Jacobs, the event has grown since last year, doubling the items for the silent and live auctions, as well as an increase in sponsorship. Last year, 150 people attended the event, and Jacobs is expecting 200 guests for this year.

“The talk about it is huge,” said Jacobs. “I get emails and calls about it each week. People are just really excited and know more about it this year.”

The event will setup a silent auction in Roux House’s upstairs private room, and the food vendors will be hosted in the outside courtyard along with tables decorated with rose petals and candlelight. A live piano bar reminiscent of Pat O’s in New Orleans completes the intimate setting.

Each guest will receive all-you-can-eat access to five food vendors, who will be giving out samples of charcuterie or pâtés. “Charcuterie” is the French word for the art of preparing meat, poultry, or game into culinary delicacies, and pâté is a French dip consisting of meat with various toppings. Three wine vendors will offer 30 different types of rosé wine.

“It goes well with any food,” said Jacobs. “It can go with something spicy, it can go with something bland…It’s just a very versatile wine, and it’s good for the summer heat, it helps you cool off.”

Vendors include Republic National Distributing Company, Glazer’s, Mockler Beverage Company, Mathernes Market, Bin 77 Bistro & SideBar, Ruffino’s Catering, Blend Baton Rouge, Roux Louisiana and City Pork Deli & Charcuterie. Plus there will be games such as ring toss and bean bag toss to play to raise money for Ronald McDonald House.

During the event, local artist Alexandra Drake will unveil a painting she created of Rivera, which will be given to his parents that night, Jacobs said.

As part of the event, more than 75 items will be available as part of silent and live auctions, including a signed LSU jersey from Les Miles, a Townie Bike, an outdoor fire pit, and a winery tasting tour in Texas.

“It’s nice to see the amount this community has given,” said Jacobs. “The support has just been phenomenal.”

Tickets are $55 pre-sale or $60 at the door. To purchase tickets online, visit DigBatonRouge.com.

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