▪ Napa Truffle Festival
Event prices and locations vary; Friday- Jan. 19
When we talk truffles, we’re not referring to chocolate-covered bonbons. We’re talking about the subterranean fungus that’s a delicacy in the global marketplace. Right now, black truffles retail for between $1,200 and $1,500 a pound, with white truffles going for $2,800 to $3,000 a pound. Though their looks aren’t at all impressive, for centuries truffles have been a treasured ingredient in haute cuisine. Which takes us to the fifth annual Napa Truffle Festival. Highlights include truffle-accented lunches, food-and-wine pairings and tastings, a truffle-cultivation seminar, wild-mushroom forage, and a pop-up marketplace that will showcase specialty wines and foods in the Oxbow Public Market in Napa. The event brings foodies from all over California and beyond. Tickets are limited. For more information and to reserve a spot: (888) 753-9378 or www.napatrufflefestival.com.
▪ Fran’s Chocolates Dark Chocolate Sauce
$10 for 10 oz.; Nugget Markets; www.franschocolates.com
It’s rumored that President Obama is a fan of the salted caramels from Fran Bigelow’s Seattle-based artisan-dessert empire, but our favorite is this decadently rich sauce that tastes like nothing more than pure melted dark chocolate. Pour it over vanilla ice cream for a simple and irresistible sundae.
▪ Arden Hills Gold Honey
$9.99 for 9 0z.; Taylor’s Market, Corti Bros. and local farmers markets; http://2beeyoung.wordpress.com
This urban-raised, raw (never heated above its natural temperature) and local honey from the beekeepers at To Bee Young Apiaries has a spicy, complex flavor that balances out its sweetness – so delicious it recently won a Good Food Award from the Good Food Merchants Guild, a collective that recognizes superior products from sustainable companies.
▪ Basics of cooking
$175-$195; Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op; www.sacfoodcoop.com
Are you a wannabe chef who never learned the basics of cooking? Feast contributor and author Elaine Corn will lead this hands-on class based on her beginners cookbook “Now You’re Cooking” and show you how to time the courses in a meal; bake, saute and steam chicken, fish and vegetables; properly chop like a TV chef; and more. The three-session course begins at 9 a.m. Jan. 17. Enrollment is limited. (The Co-op is located at 1900 Alhambra Blvd., Sacramento.)
▪ “Twenty-Dollar, Twenty-Minute Meals”
$13; Workman Publishing; 208 pages; www.workman.com
“Twenty-Dollar, Twenty-Minute Meals” by Caroline Wright brims with imaginative recipes and full-page color photographs. Wright knows her stuff, having graduated from the Ecole de Cuisine La Varenne cooking school in Paris, and serving as food editor at Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food magazine. In “Twenty,” she offers quick and economical recipes that “use simple techniques, fresh produce and ready ingredients that don’t sacrifice flavor or healthfulness for time.” We worked up an appetite reading recipes for dishes such as lentil and tuna salad with Kalamata olives, fried catfish sandwich with radish remoulade and roasted pork tenderloin with pears and pistachios.
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