Eat, drink, and be merry!

Virtual wine and cheese event allows for safe enjoyment during pandemic

Created date

September 14th, 2020
Bernie Papa receives his basket of wine and cheese from Director of Dining Services Paul Cimins.

Bernie Papa receives his basket of wine and cheese from Director of Dining Services Paul Cimins.

In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, we’ve all had to make major adjustments to our daily lives to help curb the spread of the disease, like adhering to shelter in place orders. However, just because we’re all spending more time at home, that doesn’t mean there aren’t safe ways to have fun and stay engaged.

Eat, drink and be merry

On July 29, Cedar Crest neighbors participated in the “Nonsocial” Wine & Cheese Event presented by the Cedar Crest dining and resident life teams. To comply with physical distancing, the virtual event was broadcasted live on Cedar Crest’s in-house TV station, channel 591.

Ahead of the event, participants received baskets filled with three different wines along with two cheese pairings for each. The baskets also included a pamphlet that provided an overview of each of the selections.

Wine and cheese from around the world

The presentation was hosted by Cedar Crest Executive Chef Harris Gondelman along with his wife Trish, a certified sommelier and certified specialist of wine. They were joined by Director of Dining Services Paul Cimins and Assistant Director of Dining Services Aneta Haberberger.

The sommelier described each wine’s origins and unique properties and gave tasting tips, while Chef Gondelman described the cheeses and why he chose each one to pair with the different wine selections. Residents were also able to call in with questions.

"This menu and event were created to bring excitement and something to look forward to and raise the spirits of our residents during such a difficult time," Cimins says. "The goal was to raise money for the Resident Care Fund for us to give back to help support our community while at the same time creating a wonderful experience."

The first wine featured was Valckenberg Gewürztraminer from Pfalz, Germany, which was paired with Stilton and Muenster cheeses. Next up, Ferrari-Carano Fumé Blanc from Sonoma County Calif., which is made with Sauvignon Blanc grapes, was paired with triple cream Brie and Moody blue cheeses. The third and final selection was a La Calonica Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, made from a blend of Merlot, Sangiovese, and Canaiolo Blanco grapes from Tuscany, Italy. It was paired with Pecorino al Tartufo and Ricotta Salata.

Entertainment at a safe distance 

Sue and Bill McConnell participated in the event and thought it was a great way to enjoy themselves while adhering to physical distancing guidelines. Sue’s favorite pairing was the Gewürztraminer with blueberry Stilton, which she described as "delightful."

"The beautiful baskets were delivered a few hours before the event, which gave us time to unpack the wines and cheese and get set up in front of the TV," says Sue. "We got our good china plates and appropriate wine glasses for the event, and we were all set to go when the presentation went live at 2 p.m."

Sue says she’s missed seeing some of her favorite staff members while staying home during the pandemic, so she relished the opportunity to see and hear from them on TV.

Sue has participated in other virtual social distancing activities over the past few months, including exercise classes and meditation moments, both of which have been adapted for community members to access on Cedar Crest’s in-house TV channel.

"I also participated in a Zoom reading of plays written by one of our Cedar Crest playwrights,” says Sue. “The session was recorded, edited, and played on our channel. The staff here is very creative, so I’m excited to see which new virtual events they come up with next."

Become a member of the Cedar Crest family

Cedar Crest goes above and beyond to protect residents’ health and well-being, while offering a rich array of activities that underscore they’re part of an extraordinary community— every day—and during unprecedented times like the pandemic. If you’re looking for a vibrant senior lifestyle community to call your next home, request a brochure or schedule a visit.