Learn about pairing wine with sweets at the free Das Caramels and Wine Tasting today from 5 to 7 PM at Provenance Food and Wine’s Lincoln Square location. Five flavors of Das Caramelini—handmade French salted caramels in flavors like orange and honey, chocolate walnut, pistachio and ginger, and chai latte—will be served with wines including a cava, a moscatel, and Pasquet Marie-Framboise, a liqueur made from macerated raspberries and cognac. Katie Das, owner of Highwood-based Das Foods (which also specializes in exotic salts), will be there to answer questions.
Today's champagne tasting at Binny’s in Lakeview is sold out, but several of its suburban locations, including Des Plaines, Glen Ellyn, Highland Park, and Schaumburg, have tastings Friday and Saturday. Sample sparklers including prestige cuvees Moet & Chandon Dom Perignon, Louis Roederer Cristal (if you’re not backing Jay-Z’s boycott), Krug Grand Cuvee, Deutz Cuvee William, and Veuve Clicquot La Grande Dame. They’ll be served with cheese and hors d’oeuvres at most locations. Prices and times vary by location; click here for details.
Wilbert Jones, author of Smothered Southern Foods, gives a talk entitled Smothered—Southern Style Saturday at 10 AM at the Chicago History Museum. He'll discuss the history of smothered foods, including his own personal history with them, and sign books. A Culinary Historians of Chicago event; $5 (free for CHC members).
The annual Christmas and winter beer tasting at Delilah's, which bills itself as the largest event of this type anywhere in North America, is Saturday from noon to 5 PM. Among the 100+ beers available are Anchor Christmas Ale, Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale, Three Floyds Alpha Claus Christmas Porter, and St. Freulian Noel. $20.
Marilyn Pocius signs A Cook's Guide to Chicago Saturday at 1 PM at A-J Meats, one of the author's favorite Eastern European stores. The guide highlights local specialty food shops, stores for cooking equipment, and farmers' markets as well as offering tips on where to find unusual ingredients.
Fashion, fine art, dance, and gourmet food combine Saturday at The Orphanage with the debut of the clothing line Vagadu by designer Joui Turandot, which incorporates recycled fabric and other materials. In addition to a six-course tasting menu by local chef Efrain Cuevas that features pan-Asian fusion dishes like tuna tartare and green tea creme brulee, there'll be an exhibit of paintings by Chicagoan Rex Flodstrom and a dance performance. (The dancers double as models for the fashion show.) Doors open at 7:30 and dinner begins at 8 PM; it's BYOB. Regular admission is $60, VIP admission is $75.
Sunday The Boozehound, a local Web site and fledgling social group for spirits aficionados, plans to pack as much alcohol consumption as possible into a bacchanal by bus entitled A Busload of Bellinis, Beer, Brunch, and Bah-Humbug!. Mimosas and bellinis will be served en route to a private tour and tasting at the Three Floyds brewery in Munster, Indiana. After brunch at the brewpub there, participants will see a local production of Scrooge! The Musical (with sparkling wine at intermission) before the wine-soaked ride back to Chicago. The bus leaves at noon from the parking lot of the Rock ’n’ Roll McDonald’s, 600 N. Clark, and returns at 6 PM. 312-361-0229, $85.
The Lakeview location of Whole Foods has a class Tuesday from 7-9 PM on dessert and wine pairing. Husband-and-wife team Sam and Sunny McDaniel lead the discussion of sweet and sparkling wines and demonstrate how to make simple desserts, followed by a tasting of both. $15.
Webster's Wine Bar explores "the new old world" with a class Wednesday at 7:30 PM on wines from China, India, Mexico, and North Africa, among others. Though these countries aren't known for their wines, they're reportedly undergoing a "modern wine renaissance," and Webster's describes the wines as "world class." $30.