Top Hat chef

Laurie Crause of Top Hat Special Teas will be one of about 20 chefs preparing items for the annual Taste of Symphony being held April 25 at Roseneath Farm located at 1102 Cherokee Lane.

FLORENCE, S.C. – The Florence Symphony Guild’s 19th annual Taste of the Symphony will take place from 7 to 10 p.m. on April 25 at Roseneath Farm. Roseneath Farm is at 1102 Cherokee Lane.

Restaurants and businesses donate their time and talent in support of music in the Pee Dee to make the event spectacular.

With “Springtime in Paris” as the theme this year, there is sure to be a variety of French cuisine among the culinary creations from more than 20 area chefs. There will also be cocktails and live music.

Chef Laurie Crause of Top Hat Special Teas Tea Room in downtown Florence will prepare Petite Croque Monsieurs (ham and cheese served on French bread rounds).

Crause said sometimes she does smaller portions of items on her menu or appetizers from the menu. Last year she prepared artichoke grilled cheese, which is on the menu at Top Hat.

She said she was so busy last year she could hardly keep up.

“I was doing it on a little grill,” she said.

Since this year’s theme is Springtime in Paris, Crause has decided on something French in origin.

She said cooks are asked to prepare for approximately 400 guests.

Different types of foods are prepared by local chefs.

“There are so many vendors,” she said. “This is truly one of the best Tastes in Florence.”

This is Crause's sixth year as a vendor. She said it is a good event, and the proceeds go to a worthy cause.

The Florence Symphony Guild was started in 1970. It is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the growth of the symphony and encouragement of young musicians.

All of the money goes back to support Florence Symphony Orchestra, said guild member Sarah Sweeney.

“We support FSO every year with a major donation, as well a donor and board member reception after the February concert,” she said. “Also, the guild pays for refreshments for the musicians for FSO's Sunday rehearsals. Recently, a scholarship was created and funded by the guild for a music industry major at Francis Marion University, and part of the funds raised goes toward that as well.”

Crause has been in the restaurant business for 19 years, and she has been a caterer for 33 years.

“I am no chef,” she said. “I am a cook who likes to eat.”

She serves a lunch menu, and afternoon teas are served all day.

In addition to an array of hot teas, she serves several iced teas, including favorites strawberry, mint and peach teas.

Top Hat hours are from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and Saturday afternoon teas and for private parties by reservation only. For more information about Top Hat, call 843-629-8326.

Tickets for the Taste of the Symphony are $75 per person. Tickets can be purchased at First Reliance Bank (Palmetto Street branch), Fisher Jeweler’s or Talbots in the Florence Mall or on Eventbrite. Attendees must be 21 years or older.

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