More than 400 guests, crowded into the Kennedy Caucus Room in the Russell Senate Office Building on Wednesday, December 9 for a chance to sample the best hospitality, food and drinks from some of Delaware’s top eateries at the 5th Annual Taste of Delaware celebration. Co-hosted by the Delaware State Chamber of Commerce and Senator Coons, the tradition brings together Delawareans and D.C. guests to enjoy the finest of the first state’s eats.
Taste of Delaware has humble beginnings to say the least. The first “unofficial” Taste of Delaware took place four years ago in a conference room just a week after Senator Coons took office. The gathering consisted of about 20 people enjoying a small sampling of Grotto Pizza, Capriotti’s sandwiches and Dogfish Head beer. Three years later, the event has gained a reputation among congressional staff and legislators as one of the can’t-miss events of the year.
The event is held annually as close to “Delaware Day” as possible. Since 1933, the governors of Delaware have proclaimed December 7 as Delaware Day in honor of that day in 1787 when Delaware became the first state to ratify the Federal Constitution, thus making Delaware the first state in the New Nation.
Senator Coons thanked guests and vendors for taking part in the event and encouraged those who enjoyed themselves to come to Delaware and explore more of the state’s culinary – and tax free – offerings.
“Who would have thought, just five years ago sitting around a conference room table at our first Taste of Delaware, that it would have grown to a celebration of this magnitude,” said Sen. Coons. “Looking around the room, and talking with the proud owners of these establishments, you can tell that these people love Delaware, love their customers, and really enjoy being part of the hospitality family in Delaware.”
Sen. Coons also remarked that the success of the event comes from the Delaware State Chamber of Commerce’s participation, coordination, and passion of the event.
“This event has become one of the Chamber favorites in the past five years,” said Delaware Chamber of Commerce President Rich Heffron. “We enjoy the partnership with Senator Coons’ office and staff, and it’s great to brag about Delaware offerings at the national level each year.”
Vendors from more than 20 restaurants, bakeries, breweries, and wineries from all corners of the state came to share their goods with D.C. guests, many of whom were Delaware transplants hungry for a taste of home.
James DeChene is the Chamber's Senior Vice President of Government Affairs.