SPECIAL FOR THE AJT //

If your idea of a great night out includes fabulous food, superb wine and a silent auction featuring spectacular prizes, with all proceeds going to a group of very special individuals, then “The Tasting” is for you.

Logo - JF&CSBenefitting Jewish Family & Career Services’ Zimmerman Horowitz Independent Living Program (Z-H ILP), the annual event highlights some of Atlanta’s greatest restaurants and top-notch wines from around the world at a fun, festive, elegant affair. The event will be held at the Grand Hyatt in Buckhead.

The nonsectarian Z-H ILP, a program of JF&CS’ Developmental Disabilities – Tools for Independence division, serves people with developmental disabilities, as well as their families and caregivers. The aim is to provide aid so these individuals can work, live and thrive in their communities. Every dollar raised at the benefit goes to serving clients of the program.

“For people who love food and wine, this is a great opportunity to meet some of the city’s top chefs, sample some great dishes, try some unique and wonderful wines and bid on some amazing things,” said Dawn Tresh, one of the evening’s chairs. “But what’s really remarkable is that it all goes to a really great, very important cause. The money we raise will help us bridge gaps in funding for these programs and ensure both the clients and their caregivers are supported in the years to come.”

This year’s event — the 14th annual — will take place April 9 and will feature a new and very different silent auction than past years. Guests will have the chance to bid on some very special items, including an exclusive six-day South African Safari; a day “Inside the Ropes” at the Atlanta Falcons’ training camp; being an “assistant coach” and having lunch with Coach Mike Smith; two days at Fashion Week in New York City; a private tour of the New York Stock Exchange; a week for up to 12 people in a luxury condo at Beaver Creek; a private dinner party at your own house; a culinary tour of Atlanta with Steak Shapiro of Atlanta Eats; an “instant wine cellar”; a pure-bred puppy; and more.

The Tasting started off as a series of private fund-raising dinners in peoples’ homes and then moved into the Hyatt’s Cassis restaurant. From there, it didn’t take long for it to become large enough to fill the Hyatt’s grand ballroom, featuring food, wine and a silent auction. Last year, about 800 people came to the event, and organizers expect more this year.

“I have loved watching The Tasting grow from an intimate gathering to the ballroom filled with people of all ages,” said co-chair Mara Berman. “It is powerful to see people year after year come together to support such an amazing program. Our goal is to educate the Atlanta community about ILP and to raise the necessary funds to continue to grow to serve our city’s needs.”

Tickets for The Tasting, which starts at 7 p.m., cost $75 in advance ($100 at the door) or $50 ($75 at the door) if you’re under 40. For more information, visit thetasting.org. For more information about the Zimmerman-Horowitz Independent Living Program, call (770) 677-9326 or check online at ILP@jfcs-atlanta.org. For information about Tools for Independence and its programs, call (770) 677-9358 or check online at  TFI@jfcs-atlanta.org