This coming week, in events that get to your heart through your stomach.
Tuesday, January 26
Chef David Martineau, longtime matre d' at the Admirality Room, is teaching his latest "Whats Cooking?" lesson this evening, once again focusing on simple and classic dishes while using local ingredients. The chef will demonstrate the preparation of wild rice and ham salad, coq au vin rouge, and banana cream pie, with recipes provided to students for cooking at home. Willy Street Co-op, 1221 Williamson St., 6-8 p.m., $15 for owners and $25 for others. Call 251-6776 for more info.
Wednesday, January 27
Parents looking for an option to feed their infants fresher and more affordable foods might consider the First Tastes: The Adventures of Baby Food Making class at Whole Foods. "Travel back to your grandma's days by preparing your baby's meals in the safety of your own kitchen," reads the store's description of the class, taught by "local mommy" Tara Verma. She will focus on the basics of preparation, storage, and serving of baby foods, as well as provide info on selecting appropriate fruits and vegetables, complete with sample recipes. Whole Foods Market, 3313 University Ave., 6-7:30 p.m., $15. Call 233-9566 for more info.
Thursday, January 28
Cheesemakers Mike and Carol Gingrinch of Uplands Cheese, home of the raw cow's-milk farmstead seasonal hard cheese named Pleasant Ridge Reserve, host the first fondue dinner of the year at Fromagination. The menu includes the fondue and bread for dipping, along with fingerling potatoes and other root veggies, cornichons, salad, and dessert. Most seats are taken, so call quickly to reserve space. Fromagination, 12 S. Carroll St., 6 p.m., $35. Call 255-2430 for reservations.
Friday, January 29
Chef Neeta Saluja is teaching her latest spice-centric Indian cooking lesson at Whole Foods this evening. The menu for the class includes Palak Kadhi (easoned and sautéed spinach cooked with flavored yogurt sauce and garbanzo bean flour), a green mango chutney, Khichri (a rice and moong lentil porridge with vegetables), and pappadams (thin crispy wafers). Whole Foods Market, 3313 University Ave., 6-8:30 p.m., $25. Call 233-9566 for more info.
Saturday, January 30Chef David McKerchner of Mermaid Cafe is preparing the Taste of the Market breakfast at the winter Dane County Farmers' Market this morning. His menu includes: Mermaid Hobo Hash with pan-seared golden-brown potatoes, carrots, onions, garlic and sausage topped with poached eggs; a vegetarian Hobo Hash with Snug Haven spinach and fresh mushrooms; a salad of fresh mixed greens, heirloom apples, and crumbled goat feta with a sunflower oil vinaigrette; Grace Cheesecake rhubarb bars; and, organic fair trade coffee and tea, apple cider, cranberry juice, and milk. Folk fiddler Paul Kienitz will perform through the morning. Madison Senior Center, 330 W. Mifflin St., 8 a.m.-noon, $7.50 adults and $3.75 kids. Call 42403296 for more details about the breakfast and 455-1999 for info about the market.
The ecumenical Churches' Center for Land and People is holding its second Madison brunch and farmers' market of the winter this morning. The meal is one of many the group puts on across the Madison, Milwaukee, and Chicago areas from November through March as benefits for its Harvest of Hope fund, which "offers financial help and hope to Wisocnsin farm families in distress." St. Thomas Aquinas Church, 602 Everglade Dr., 10 a.m.-2 p.m., $10 for individuals and $25 for families. Call 833-2606 for more info.
Wollersheim Winery invites oenophiles to take a break from winter and join in its Port celebration. The fete marks the seasonal release of the Port 2008 and Tawny Port 2005 vintages with tastings, light food, live music, and tours. The Wollersheim Port is a sipping wine made with Foch grapes, and fortified with grape brandy, giving it a relatively high alcohol content (around 20%), and is fermented and aged by the winery in the traditional Portuguese fashion. The celebration feature music by the EnFuego Jazz Trio, and guests can purchase a special "Port Plate" with Roth Käse Buttermilk Blue Cheese and aged cheddar, fresh bread, almonds, chocolate truffles, and a 2 oz. serving of Port for $7. The 2007 Port sold out last autumn, so the new batch is arriving just in time. Wollersheim Winery, 7876 Hwy. 188, Sauk City, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., free. Call 608-643-6515 for more info.
Celebrate and indulge in the two most iconic comestibles associated with the great state of Wisconsin at inaugural Isthmus Beer & Cheese Fest this afternoon. There are some 20 participating breweries, including Furthermore Beer, Cross Plains Brewery, Sand Creek Brewing, O'so Brewing, Blucreek Brewing, Milwaukee Brewing, Dave's BrewFarm, Tyranena Brewing, Capital Brewery, Great Dane Brewing, the Grumpy Troll, Northwoods Brewing, Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing, Shipwrecked Brewpub, New Glarus Brewing, Viking Brewing, Potosi Brewing, Rush River Brewing, Pearl Street Brewery, and Sprecher Brewing. Even more cheesemakers will be at the fest, including Uplands Cheese, Pine River Pre Pack, Harmony Specialty Dairy Foods, Roelli Cheese, Meister Cheese, Sugar Brook Farms, Decatur Dairy, Edelweiss Creamery, Gingerbread Jersey Cheese, Baumgartner Cheese, Nordic Creamery, Sartori Foods, Sassy Cow Creamery, Cedar Grove Cheese, Klondike Cheese, Caprine Supreme, Next Generation Organic Dairy, Saxon Homestead Creamery, Organic Farm Marketing, Carr Valley Cheese, Ellsworth Cooperative Creamer, and Maple Leaf Cheesemakers. Events at the fest include a beer and cheese pairing presentation by the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board, a beer and chocolate pairing presentation by Gail Ambrosius, a beer and meal pairing presentation by Isthmus beer reporter Robin Shepard, and music through the afternoon by the Cork & Bottle String Band. Also, Union Cab is providing ticket holders with free rides to and $5 off rides from the fest. Exhibition Hall, Alliant Energy Center, 1919 Alliant Energy Way, 1-5 p.m., $40, or save $5 dollars on tickets at Fromagionation and Star Liquor with a qualifying purchase. Call 251-5627 x.122 for more info.
More beer-soaked libations are to be found this afternoon up north, where the Central Waters Brewing Company is throwing itself a 12th anniversary party. Eight of its standard lineup of beers will be on tap throughout the celebration, with special tappings of another six of its limited offerings. Music will be performed in the evening by Sloppy Joe. Central Waters Brewing Co., 351 Allen St., Amherst, 3 p.m.-12 a.m., free. Call 715-824-2739 for more info.
Madison Friends is sponsoring a traditional Vietnamese dinner this evening as a fundraiser for its reconciliation projects in Vietnam. The meal will be followed with by a slide presentation and discussion led by veteran Mike Boehm, who has worked with Madison Quakers, Inc. on peace and reconciliation projects in Vietnam since 1992. Their work includes the My Lai Peace Park Project, building schools, construction of compassion houses for victims of Agent Orange, microcredit loans to village women, and an art exchange between children in My Lai and Madison. Friends Meeting House, 1704 Roberts Ct., 6 p.m., a donation of $30 up to whatever a diner can afford. Call 233-8506 to RSVP.
Sunday, January 31
The annual beer dinner at Natt Spil this evening is taking the form of a Fat Tire Feast, featuring a four-course meal prepared by Chef David Oliver and an octet of beers from the New Belgium Brewing Company. The dinner features: a potato leek puree with white truffles, paired with Fat Tire and Ranger IPA; a Roth Kase cheese plate with winter fruit compote, paired with 1554 and Dark Heather Saison; roasted game hen with wild mushrooms and french beans, paired with La Folie and Abbey Ale; and, a chocolate souffle with tuile and sugar, paired with Trippel and Dark Kriek. "These are strong beers," warns the pub, "leave your bike at home." There is limited space remaining in the first seating, with more opening in the second. Natt Spil, 211 King St., seatings at 6 and 9 p.m., $40 with tax and gratuity included. Stop by to make a reservation.
Monday, February 1
Fromagination and Sardine are teaming up for a fondue dinner this evening, the latest in the latter's monthly Monday evening series of special prix fixe meals. The menu will feature a mix of Swiss and French cheeses paired with breads, root vegetables, and salad. Sardine, 617 Williamson St., 5:30 p.m., $35. Call 441-1600 for reservations.