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The event organizers at Fundación BAI A.C., thanking their supporters, announced that the benefit hosted by Michael Berton and Robert Klie at their Villa Verde sold out well before the event began and earned 74 percent more than its previous wine-and-food pairing event.

“Tons of elegantly dressed friends and supporters arrived, clutching their precious tickets for this extravaganza,” reports Allison Nevins, a supporter (and proprietor of silent auction sponsor El Estudio). “I  was immediately won over, on entering the grand front entrance way, to be greeted by a table filled with chilled Prosecco! Perfect for quenching our thirst on this humid evening – we loved that idea!”

Emcee Mark Callum introduced guests to each course and wine as it was presented by a team of 10 smartly dressed waiters, says Nevins.

“Masterful wine pairings were matched with the four courses from some of our favorite restaurants in Mérida. The brilliant Stefano Marcelleti from Oliva Enoteca presented his insalata di mare matched with a delicious Italian Pinot Grigio. Then Eduardo Rukos and Pedro Evia from Kuuk prepared a tasty fish tostada with roasted chili and avocados, pairing it with a Spanish Tempranillo Rosé. Next Roberto Guzman at Restaurante Unico and Elliot Diaz at Taninos Para Todos brought us mouth-watering suckling pig pibil style on ciabatta matched with an incredible Mexican Cabernet Sauvignon from La Redonda that brought the house down! Nice job Elliot for finding that wine! And last but not least, Stephanie Verbrugge at Ki’Xocolati finished the night beautifully with a yummy Javanais with mezcal mango sauce paired with the Royal Tawny port she had selected.  Every wine brought out the amazing flavors of each course perfectly. These restaurateurs are truly masters of their Art – hats off to you guys!”

The event had been perfectly set up by Eduardo Sobrino and his team at Margarita Zoreda, she said. And one highlight of the evening was the silent auction, said Nevins, who “was happy since I won manicures and pedicures at the Robert Abuda Salon!”

Since its inception in 2007, Fundación BAI has conducted and/or participated in over 500 outreach activities including workshops, health fairs and rapid detection testing campaigns, notes Dr. Carlos Cabrera, Fundación BAI’s Director General, adding: “We have tested thousands of people for HIV and have linked over 150 people to available treatment services. We also provide free on-going psychotherapy and nutrition support to all our clients.  Thanks to events like this, we have been able to educate, prevent and care for those who are less fortunate than ourselves. Thank you so much.”

Sponsors of the event were, by category:

GOLD: Mitch Keenan at México International; Adele Aguirre at SoHo Galleries; Steve Broin at Casa Sirena; Andrea Mereghetti at Architettura Sonora; Michael Berton and Robert Klie at Villa Verde; Eduardo Sobrino at Margarita Zoreda; Robert Abuda at Robert Abuda Salon and Mérida Tradicional.

SILVER: Grant Beare at Yucatán Custom Home Builders; Sean Hennessy and Colm Cooney at Hennessy’s Irish Pub; Wade Yarchan at Yucatán Beach Homes/City Lights Merida; Sally Russ and Nita Lindley; John Bradshaw and Alan DiCamillo; and Lee Steele at Yucatán Expat Life, which was media sponsor.

IN KIND: Botella Verde; El Estudio; SoHo Galleries; Videre Eye Clinic; Lakini Massage; David Aldrich Artist; Rosas & Xocolate; artist Kreso Calvovic; Mérida Tradicional; Hotel Casa San Ángel; Nahuali Art Gallery; Taninos Wines and Robert Abuda Salon.