Fresh on the heels of the Biennial of the Americas, the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metro Denver hosted their annual food & beverage tasting event, Sabor. And there could not have been a more beautiful setting for an evening of networking and cross-cultural celebration than the Botanic Gardens in all their blooming glory. Entering guests were presented with a plate and a wine glass, then set free to roam the garden to fete and feast on delectable samplings from more than 40 of Denver's top restaurants, caterers and vendors. Before I'd even filled my glass I was intoxicated by the fecund landscape and the elegant Henry Moore sculptures nestled in the verdant scene. Los VIP's floated through the pre-tasting event and into exclusive dining areas as the setting sun cast its long, August rays, creating moments that felt like a dreamy Impressionist painting come to modern-day life. But with a Latin soundtrack.
Now in it's third year, the collaborative evening began as a way for the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce to bring its membership together with the larger Denver business community, raise its own profile and create networking opportunities for all. I'm sure the more than 2500 attendees would agree, it was a brilliant idea.
"Sabor has become an event that our members look forward to each year and one that has built a strong reputation in Metro Denver as an all-inclusive tasting which allows guests to explore what Denver has to offer," stated Jeff Campos, President and CEO, Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. "Sabor has allowed the Hispanic Chamber to be recognized as a diverse organization that keeps moving business forward within the business community."
Wandering through the tasting tents, I had the privilege of conversing with Mexican Consul General, Eduardo Arnal, about the contributions made to Colorado through our beautifully blended Latino cultures. I asked him if he'd noticed any changes in attitude as a result of Arizona's SB1070 Immigration Bill. According to Sr. Arnal, the anti-immigrant sentiment stirred up by our brothers and sisters south of our border is having very little effect on things here in the Centennial state. "Colorado is a very friendly state for immigrants", he told me. In fact two of the state's largest business ventures of the past few years have been fully or partially funded by Mexican investors; the $300 million cement plant in Pueblo and the Four Seasons Hotel, which opens in Denver this fall.
With a vibrant and harmonious cultural Latino mash up, let's hope we don't hit a sour note as Colorado Republicans plan to introduce their own version of the bill.
I am a lover of all things Latin, wanting nothing to disrupt the growth of Colorado's innovative Hispanic cultural and business communities. In fact I would love to see it flourish like the bountiful garden setting on this magical night called Sabor, enriching all our lives and giving me the opportunity to practice that Spanish I worked so hard to learn. The question is... where will it be next year?