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The Dining Insider: A blog about Beaujolais Nouveau tasting at Irish Eyes, holiday food sampling at Janssen's Market, fun new cocktail kits from Chaddsford Winery, and gingerbread houses at the Hilton


‘Tis the Season

It’s the most wonderful time of the year—Beaujolais Nouveau time. Sample some of this year’s finest during the 23rd annual tasting on Nov. 29 at Irish Eyes in Lewes. There’s food, there’s music and, of course, there’s wine, all to benefit the Red Cross. The event runs 5 p.m. till 7:30. Tickets are $25. You’ll leave feeling happy—and with a commemorative wine glass. What better thing could you do after work on a Tuesday? 226-3333

Super Market Secrets

If you need help with your holiday party planning, visit Janssen’s Market in Greenville this weekend and next for a tasting of some of its finest wares. On Dec. 3, taste food from area producers such as Cakewalk Cakes in Wilmington, Shore Boys Soup and Suzanne’s Pepper Jelly of the Eastern Shore, Sugartown Smoked Fish of West Chester and Liz Marden Cakes of Kennett Square. There’s more, of course. Drop in between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Dec. 9, try Janssen’s own products—produce and fresh-squeezed orange juice, crab and shrimp, prepared holiday goods and samples from its renowned cheese counter. That’s more than 250 cheeses from around the world, people. You won’t want to miss this. janssensmarket.com, facebook.com/janssensmarket


Toast the Season

Whether you’re entertaining or looking for a unique gift idea, Chaddsford Winery can help. Wine-and-Vodka Combination Packs include a bottle of Chaddsford’s popular Spiced Apple or Niagara wine, a mini-bottle of SKYY vodka and a recipe for combining the two. Try Niagara as a White Grape Martini. That’s 1.5 ounces of SKYY vodka with 3 ounces of Niagara, shaken, strained and garnished with grapes.  Spiced Apple makes a beautiful Apple-tini. “Fall and winter are the seasons for raising a glass with friends and family, and our combination packs make it easier than ever to create memorable, delicious cocktails for special events,” says winemaker Eric Miller. “With these packs, those who are already fans of the Niagara and Spiced Apple wines might find something else to love about them.” Find the combo at your nearest Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board store. (610) 388-6221, chaddsford.com

Home for the Holidays?

So you think you can build a gingerbread house? Test yourself against the area’s best at DelTech culinary arts department’s third annual Gingerbread House Competition at the Hilton Wilmington/Christiana. The spicy structures are made by youth, amateur bakers and pros, and they’ll be on display for all the world to see Dec. 11-19. Judging takes place at 8 p.m. on Dec. 12. Try for Best in Show, Best Professional, Best Amateur and Best Youth based on creativity, originality, detail and theme. All ingredients must be edible, and no kits allowed. When you visit, check out lunch specials at the hotel’s excellent Brasserie Grill all week long. 454-1500, hiltonchristiana.com

Sunday Best

If you’re looking for a different kind of brunch, visit World Cafe Live at the Queen on Dec. 11 for the first to accompany one of its Collage Concerts series. You’ll listen to the excellent Serafin String Quartet’s String Quartet Time Machine, which features works by Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Dvorák, Ravel, Martinu and Higdon, as well as commentary from the players. Your menu: everything from saffron French Toast served with honey maple fig syrup and rosemary butter to three-cheese omelets to smoked salmon bagels. So, a drink, a bite and outstanding music from the best musicians in the area add up to a terrific Sunday afternoon. queen.worldcafelive.com

The Sale of the Year

Mark your calendar for this one, too: the annual Emile Henry Warehouse Sale Dec. 9-11. Serious cooks will find an opportunity to buy serious kitchenware from the best makers in the business at up to 80 percent off retail prices. While shopping, enjoy cooking demonstrations by local Delebrity chefs as Dan Butler and Robbie Jester, and learn about the important work of the Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition. More next week. For now, check out emilehenryusa.com. Then chart your course to 802 Centerpoint Blvd., New Castle.