Feel-Good Food... and Wine

For several years now, our friends have hosted a fundraising event called Designer Genes. This organization raises money for the National Association for Down Syndrome (NADS). Their mission is to “provide information, resources, advocacy and support to individuals with Down syndrome, their families and their communities.”

It’s particularly important to our friends because their youngest daughter Maria was born with Down syndrome.

I will never forget coming to visit our friends shortly after Maria returned from the hospital. At the time, the reality of the unexpected was joyful and sad, all in one. They were very open and honest about the surprise and sadness of the situation. But they also sought support and help in those first few months.

I remember Maria’s mother telling me about a faith leader they talked to and he assured them this child ‘would teach so many about true love and acceptance.”

She has… and she does. And there is no sadness with Maria. Her parents and older brother embraced this girl… and if you could see Maria now.

That said, they know some families may not have the support or resources needed to have such a positive outcome. Which is why Maria’s family got involved with Designer Genes. And they have definitely made a mark for this organization.

Ten (plus) years later, RR4 Catering had the honor of donating an auction item to Maria’s “Designer Genes” event. We were so happy to partner with a Chicago-based wine distributor to offer up a wine and food pairing tasting party for eight.

This past Saturday, we put together a food and wine menu for a lovely group of people. It was a blast… and it felt so great to do something while honoring Maria and all those exceptional children who benefit from Designer Genes.

Here’s the menu:

Tasting #1 – Lite Citrus Start

  • Citrus Salad of Arugula, Fennel, Kalamata olives, Grapefruit and Pistachios with Citrus Vinaigrette
  • Raventós i Blanc, Conca del Riu Anoia L'Hereu Extra Brut (2015)


Tasting #2 – Dry Savory Beginner

  • Crostini with Goat Cheese Topped with sautéed brussels sprouts and dried cranberries
  • Seehof, Riesling Feinherb Rheinhessen (2016)


Tasting #3 – Fruit Spice Kick

  • Cumin-Roasted Potatoes with Caviar and Smoked Salmon
  • Brooks Winery, Pinot Noir Willamette Valley (2015)



Tasting #4 – Tomato Blackberry Substance

  • Veal Meatballs with Red Sauce and Fresh Ricotta
  • Sean Minor, Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (2014)


Tasting #5 – Mild Sweet Close

  • Cranberry, Pistachio and Citrus Biscotti
  • Château La Rame, Traditionnel du Château Sainte-Croix-du-Mont Blanc (2014)