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Friday, January 30, 2015 |  Madison, WI: 17.0° F  Mostly Cloudy
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Madison eats agenda: Sweets, tastings, toasts, and feasts for Valentine's Day
The week in food

This coming week, in events that get to your heart through your stomach.

Tuesday, February 9

Viewers of Super Bowl XLIV likely saw a trio of commercials geared towards eliciting yuks via a cacaphony of clucking chickens fretting over a free Original Grand Slam breakfast promotion at participating Denny's around the nation from 6 a.m.-2 p.m. today. This high profile push, similar to those involving a free taco or a cup of coffee at various fast food chains, focused on eggs in the breakfast and all of the hens laying them. Given that they're accompanied by two pancakes, two slices of bacon, and two sausage links, it looks like it's going to be tough week for pigs too. Denny's, four Madison-area locations at 1798 Thierer Rd. near East Towne, 433 S. Gammon Rd. near West Towne, 1201 E. Broadway in Monona, and 8302 Greenway Blvd. in Middleton.

Anybody looking to share a dainty with their darlings would do well to stop by Sweets & Savouries, an open house and tasting hosted by a trio of small-batch local food start-ups. A showcase of local culinary entrepreneurs, the event brings together Josie Pradella of TerraSource Gourmet Chocolates and a selection of her vegan and fruit-infused organic chocolates, Nancy Potter of Potter's Crackers and a variety of her organic whole-wheat crackers, and Matt and Clare Stoner Fehsenfeld of Quince & Apple and their array of imaginatively-composed preserves. Along with samples of these treats, the open house also offers wine and cheese pairings, kitchen tours, and ideas for Valentine's Day gifts. Madison Enterprise Center, 106 S. Baldwin St., 4-7 p.m., free. Call 221-0588 for more info.

Wednesday, February 10

Fromagination hosts its second in a series of traditional fondue lunches served every Wednesday in February. The prix fixe menu includes Wisconsin Alpine-style cheeses and bread for dipping, which are accompanied by fingerling potatoes, roasted carrots, summer sausage, cornichons, salad, and dessert. Fromagination, 12 S. Carroll St., seatings at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., $22.50. Call 255-2430 for reservations.

Daredevil chocolatier David Bacco has crafted two new limited edition creations for Valentine's Day: Raspberry-Chipotle and and Mojito Bliss. They are available exclusively as selections in a series of all-heart chocolate boxes, though, available in 4, 8, 16, and 27-piece sizes. The Raspberry-Chipotle is composed of a 71% bittersweet ganache layered over a gelée combining both flavors, and the Mojito Bliss is a combination of fresh mint, lime and cachaa infused in 65% bittersweet chocolate enveloped in a 36% white chocolate. Other chocolates selected for the heart boxes include Aphrodisiac for Her, Aphrodisiac for Him, Vanilla Crème Brûlée, Chai Ganache, Hazelnut Praline, Passion Fruit Vanilla, and Yin+Yang. Orders for delivery must be placed by today, but purchases can be made in the shop through Sunday. David Bacco Chocolats, Hilldale Shopping Center, 550 N. Midvale Blvd. Call 233-1600 for more info.

Liliana's will be busy this week baking King cakes for local krewes and coteries looking to celebrate Mardi Gras "the way it should be," complete with the hidden plastic baby. Orders must be placed by today, and the cakes will be available for pickup from Vendredi Gras through Fat Tuesday. Liliana's Restaurant, 2951 Triverton Pike, Fitchburg, $20. Call 442-4444 for more info.

Chef Sabi invites culinary explorers to Experience the Magic of Morocco in a tasting tour this evening. While Moroccan tour guide Richard Bunk discusses the culture, history, and sights of this nation at the gateway to the Mediterranean, participants will be able to sample zitoun (olives), khobz (a whole-wheat flatbread), Harira Be-Karawia (caraway and coriander soup with lamb, chickpeas, and lentils), a seven vegetables couscous, kefta, harbel (honeyed wheat pudding), dates and almonds, Moroccan mint tea, and Tamar Hindi (a sweet and sour beverage made with tamarind dates). The food will be paired with French wines selected by Star Liquor manager Adam Casey. Willy Street Co-op, 1221 Williamson St., 5-9 p.m., $10 for owners and $15 for all others. Call 251-6776 for more info.

Thursday, February 11

The Madison Public Library youth program is holding another Valentine's season craft session, at which kids ages 10 and up can make cards and candy sushi. Paper, glitter, stickers, sparkles, and plenty of sweet treats will be provided at the event. Make a one-of-a-kind card with glitter, stickers and sparkles and create some sweet candy sushi for someone special. All supplies provided. Pinney Library, 204 Cottage Grove Rd., 3:30 p.m., free. Call 224-7100 to RSVP.

Madison chocolatier Gail Ambrosius will join Fromagination cheesemonger Bill Anderson for a Valentine's season tasting that features pairings of various chocolates, cheeses, and beers. Fromagination, 12 S. Carroll St., 6:30 p.m., $35. Call 255-2430 for reservations.

Friday, February 12

Elizabeth Crawford is teaching The Art of Risotto in a class today at Whole Foods, one in which "students will gain a technical understanding of perfectly cooked risotto and will be inspired to create endless variations of their own." A trio of risottos will be presented through the lesson: a classic mushroom risotto featuring three types of mushrooms and fresh Wisconsin goat cheese; an "untraditional" risotto made with organic barley, leek, kale, chickpeas, herbs, and parmesan cheese; and, a Tahitian vanilla dessert risotto served with an apple compote and crème fraiche. Whole Foods Market, 3313 University Ave., 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m., $25. Call 233-9566 for more info.

Saturday, February 13

Slow Food Madison is preparing this morning's Taste of the Market breakfast at the Dane County Farmers' Market. The menu will include: Pecatonica Valley scrambled eggs with sauteed mushrooms; rosemary-garlic potatoes; nitrate-free sausage; Don's Produce mixed greens with vinairgrette and Capri Cheesery feta; Lefebers blueberry waffles with Cherokee Bison Farm maple syrup; and, organic fair trade Just Coffee and tea, Ela Orchard apple cider, cranberry juice, and milk. Mealtime music will be performed by the fiddle and guitar duo Hoot N'Annies. Madison Senior Center, 330 W. Mifflin St., 8 a.m.-noon, $7.50 adults and $3.75 kids. Call 424-3296 for more details about the breakfast and 455-1999 for info about the market.

The new Red Mango frozen yogurt outlet on State Street is marking its grand opening today with free treats and fundraiser. Everybody stopping by the shop during its first three hours of business today will receive a free small Original yogurt with one topping, while the first 100 customers will also receive a free gift bag. While serving these free Valentine's weekend sweets, the shop will also be asking its patrons to consider making a donation to the Go Red For Women health awareness campaign organized by the American Heart Association. Four flavors of yogurt -- all nonfat, gluten-free and kosher -- are offered at Red Mango: Original, POM Wonderful Pomegranate, Tangomonium ("a proprietary citrus blend") and a seasonal offering, which is currently Cocoa. They can be combined with a variety of toppings that run the gamut from fresh fruit and nuts to granola and sugary cereals, and are accompanied on the menu by a line of probiotic iced teas. Red Mango, 627 State St., 11 a.m.-2 p.m., free. Call 260-0070 for more info.

More than 80 teams from six states and Canada will be competing in the President's Cup adult indoor soccer tournament at the Keva Sports Center this weekend, each playing to secure a spot in the nationals. Along with the action on the pitch, spectators will also be treated to the inaugural President's Weekend Beer & Food Festival, a tasting tour of Wisconsin brews. Participating breweries include Sand Creek Brewery, O'so Brewing, Potosi Brewing, the Great Dane, Gray's Brewing, Capital Brewery, Esser's Best, and Granite City Brewery, all of which can help wash down Milio's sandwiches, pork sandwiches, brats, and pretzels coated with the finest condiments from the National Mustard Museum. Keva Sports Center, 8312 Forsythia St., Middleton, 4-8 p.m., $17 in advance and $22 day of event. Call 662-7259 for more info.

Circolo Catering is putting on a special "supper club" at the fourth annual Arty Gras, a benefit for the Monroe Street Fine Arts Center. Spanish tapas will be served with beer and wine during live and silent auctions of artwork donated by Madison-area artists. All proceeds from the fundraiser go to the group's mission "to teach, share, and inspire through the arts." Circolo Supper Club in Gallup Coffee and Bakehouse, 100 Cross Country Rd., Verona, 7 p.m., $25 donation. Call 232-1510 to RSVP.

Chef Earl Gesling and Chef Richard Sweed of Bodhi Personal Chef and Catering are preparing a special Valentine's Farm Dinner in celebration of the Scottish Highland beef raised at Fountain Prairie Farm and other locally-sourced fare. The six-course tasting menu includes: Adobo pork belly braised with hickory smoke on grand queso polenta; a winter mix salad tossed in a maple vinaigrette with apple, bacon and goat cheese; poached trout with spinach, winter vegetables, couscous and lemon chive buerre blanc; pheasant breast and morel mushrooms with pheasant confit, foie gras and a risotto cake; herb-crusted rack of veal chop, whole grain mustard roasted potatoes with wilted spinach; and, Door County cherry crème brulee with a chocolate soup shooter. Guests are asked to bring a favorite wine to pair with the meal. Fountain Prairie Inn & Farms, W1901 Highway 16, Fall River, 6:30 p.m., $75. Call 920-988-8597 to RSVP.

The Boys & Girls Club of Dane County invites supporters to attend Hearts for Helping, a Valentine's eve benefit tasting. Guests will be able to sample Wisconsin-made chocolate, cheese, wine, and beer, as well as listen to music by Mike Massey and Francie Phelps, and place bids in silent and live auctions to raise funds for the club. Triple M deejay Jonathan Suttin is serving as emcee and auctioneer for the benefit, and will be accompanied by special guests Al Toon, Kathleen Falk, club executive director Michael Johnson, amd UW vice-provost Damon Williams. The benefit will be preceded by a "Dream Supporter" VIP event beginning at 6:30 p.m., with every ticket for it going to sponsor a child at the Boys & Girls Club. Cocktail attire is requested for all patrons. Concourse Hotel, 1 W. Dayton St., 7:30 p.m., $50 or $100 for the VIP event. Call 357-2606 x.215 to RSVP.

Sunday, February 14

Show some love for local currency at the Madison Hours Pancake Breakfast, which is back this month with its menu of organic vegan flapjacks (available with fruits and or nuts), oven-roasted potatoes, organic fair trade coffee, and orange juice. Wil-Mar Center, 953 Jenifer St., 8:30-11 a.m., $8.50. Call 259-9050 for more info.

Sample a distinct array of local brews and spirits this afternoon at a benefit tasting and chocolate competition for Breast Cancer Recovery. Participating brewers include Ale Asylum, Capital Brewery, the Great Dane, Lake Louie Brewing, and Tyranena Brewing, and participating distilleries include Madison Apple and Cherry Pie, Spirits of Madison, and Yahara Bay. Awards for the best chocolate creations will be selected both by a lineup of celebrity judges and via popular vote. Guests must be 21 or older to attend. Dexter's Pub, 301 North St., 1-4 p.m., $20 donation or $15 if bringing a chocolate dish. Call 661-4178 for more info.

Dining out on Valentine's Day is a big deal for plenty of couples, not to mention a banner night for the restaurant biz. But where to find the right place for the date? Nadine Goff of Madison on the Cheap has compiled a list of restaurants serving special menus or meals for two, organized in per person price categories of less than $20, between $20-$30, between $30-50, and over $50. If your favorite restaurant, or any place you would like to take your sweetheart isn't on the list, consult the Madison Eats list of restaurants and call ahead to see if you can find the perfect spot for that special date.

Monday, February 15

Slow Food UW, the Wisconsin Union Directorate, and several other campus organizations are co-hosting Come to the Table: The Flavor of Wisconsin, a locally-sourced meal followed by a discussion led by food activist and Isthmus contributor Terese Allen. The menu includes, with possible substitutions: potato and leek soup, meat and vegetarian Cornish pasties, cranberry couscous salad, spicy Hmong salad, fried tomatoes, Clausen's Bread cream puffs, and locally-roasted coffee. Memorial Union, 800 Langdon St., 6-7:30 p.m., $7.50 for UW students and $12.50 for UW staff and community members. Contact for more info.

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