This coming week, in events that get to your heart through your stomach.
Tuesday, April 6
Harvest owner and wine director Tammy Lax and Chef Derek Rowe have brought their entire staff on a trip to New York for a special Farm to Table dinner at the James Beard Foundation this evening. This is the second time the restaurant has been invited to the city to host such a dinner, with the kitchen staff preparing the food and the house staff sitting down to enjoy it with ticket-holding patrons of the foundation. The dinner has long been sold out, but here's a look at what will be on the table. The hors d'oeuvre menu includes: polpettine, gougers, truffled potato croquettes, tuna and olive bruschetta, and a presentation of Adriano Adami Bosco di Gica Brut Prosecco NV. The dinner menu includes: roasted Beets and smoked trout with horseradish cream, paired with Villa Matilde Falanghina 2007; duck confit salad with roasted parsnips and pickled apples, paired with Ramirez de la Piscina Crianza 2005; pork belly with peanut milk and pumpkin purée, paired with Acústic Cellars Acústic 2006; parsley-crusted braised lamb shoulder with polenta, paired with Badia a Coltibuono Chianti Classico Reserva 2005; Artisanal Wisconsin Ader Käse Reserve aged blue cheese, paired with Giovanni Allegrini Recioto della Valpolicella Classico 2005; and, almond cake with cherries and almond brittle, paired with Castellare Vin Santo del Chianti Classico 2003. This meal follows a series of five fundraising dinners the restaurant served in Madison over the last couple of months in order to cover food and travel expenses. James Beard House, 167 W. 12th St., New York City, 7 p.m., $125 member and $165 non-members. Call 255-6075 for more info.
Wednesday, April 7
Culinary History Enthusiasts of Wisconsin, a group devoted to celebrating the global bounty of food cultures that goes by the name of CHEW, returns with its regular monthly meeting this evening. The guest speaker is Madeline Scherb, the Madison-based author of A Taste of Heaven, a guide and cookbook about the culinary products of Catholic monastic orders in Belgium, France, Germany, and the U.S. She is also the manager of the monastery food provider Heaven Gourmet and its accompanying blog. Her talk will focus on her travels researching the book, and will be garnished with some samples of the foods described in it. Goodman Community Center, 149 Waubesa St., 7:15 p.m., free. Call 233-5488 for more info.
Thursday, April 8
Whole Foods invites shoppers to stop by for its quarterly Community Support Day. The store is donating 5% of its net sales today to the Blue Mounds Area Project, a group that works to educate and empower landowners in southern Wisconsin about ways to preserve and restore native biodiversity in the region. Money raised today will go to land management workshops and field events. Whole Foods Market, 3313 University Ave., all day. Call 233-9566 for more info.
Silly Yak Bakery is similarly holding its monthly Community Give Back Day, but in its case is donating 10% of net sales to a charitable organization. The recipient today is the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Madison, which operates a temporary home for families with children receiving medical treatment in Madison, as well as a mobile dental health program for south-central Wisconsin. Silly Yak Bakery, 7866 Mineral Point Rd., all day. Call 833-5965 for more info.
Madison Meals for Haiti is a group of people working with Kids Against Hunger and Relief International to hopefully pack some 500,000 meals for Haitians still recovering from a devastating earthquake in January. Organizers are seeking 2,400 volunteers to donate $25 and 90 minutes of their time, assembling foods for shipping over the next three days. There are also sponsorship opportunities for businesses and individuals interested in providing more financial support to the campaign. Volunteers can register online for a meal-packing shift. Airport Road Business Park, 8233 Forsythia St., Middleton, Thursday 6-9 p.m., Friday 6-9 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m.-3 p.m. There is also a Meals for Haiti benefit show with Primitive Culture on Saturday, April 10 at the Crystal Corner Bar, 1302 Williamson St., 9:30 p.m., $7 donation. Call 575-0224 for more info.
Friday, April 9
Gear up for a new season in the field at the 26th annual Wisconsin Deer & Turkey Expo, a three-day hunting and shooting sports extravaganza. Unparalleled in size, more than 580 product booths featuring firearms and bows, accessories, guides, art, food, decorations, and more are at the heart of the show, but there are many other activities for families all weekend long. Highlights include numerous seminars, a trophy deer and black bear contest, natural history displays and live animals, photo contests, shooting ranges, archery demos, and nine hunting tech info centers. Game meat is also a focus of the expo, with demos on the basics of venison butchering, processing, and cooking. Alliant Energy Center, Exhibition Hall, 1919 Alliant Energy Way, 2 p.m.-9 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday, and 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday, $12/day and $20 for two days. Call 800-324-3337 for more info.
The National Mustard Museum invites one and all to behold and rejoice in its nonpareil condiment collection with a series of grand opening festivities at its new home in downtown Middleton. There are three days of celebrations, which include: the transfer of the last jar of mustard, Grey Poupon, of course, from its old location in Mount Horeb; the premiere of the award-winning baseball-and-mustard short film Hits; a hot pepper mustard tasting and discussion; mustard tastings and cooking demonstrations; and, plenty of mustard-slathered hot dogs, brat sliders, and pretzels for snacking. National Mustard Museum, 7477 Hubbard Ave., 6:30-8:30 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, and 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday, free. Call 831-2222 for more info.
Whole Foods is putting on fundraisers for local environmental groups this month with "Let's Retake Our Plates", a documentary film series about the impact of the food supply on the environment. The programming opens this evening with a triple-feature screening of King Corn, its follow-up Big River, and The End of the Line. All proceeds will go to support the River Alliance of Wisconsin, which works to protect and restore the state's watersheds. Whole Foods Market, 3313 University Ave., 6:30 p.m., $3. Call 233-9566 to reserve a seat.
Slow Food UW is hosting a South African feast and fundraiser this evening. The menu, prepared by guest chefs Nadia Smith, Daniel Norlindh, and friends, will highlight the diversity of South African cuisine with chakalaka, pap, bobotie, and potjiekos stew. Diners will get a chance to work up an appetite before the meal with an introductory South African dance class taught by University of Cape Town instructor Maxwell Xolani Rani. All proceeds from the dinner and class will go to the Sigiya Sonke Dance Group and Artist Proof Studio, both based in Johannesburg. The Crossing, 1127 University Ave., 5:30-8:30 p.m., $15 community and $10 students. RSVP online, and call 257-1039 for more info.
Saturday, April 10
Chef Jonny Hunter of the Underground Food Collective is leading a group of graduate students from the La Follette School of Public Affairs in preparing the final Taste of the Market breakfast of the season this morning, as the indoor Dane County Farmers' Market comes to an end this week, as the outdoor edition returns a week hence to its home on Capitol Square. The menu will include: breakfast tacos with Pecatonica Valley chicken braised in a Driftless Organic salsa verde served over handmade Drumlin Farm corn tortillas; vegetarian tacos with poached potatoes and roasted Black Earth mushrooms with salsa verde; Don's Produce mixed fresh greens with smoked Snug Haven peppers and shredded JenEhr beets marinated in vinegar; rice cooked with Black Earth onions, Brantmeier garlic, and dried Snug Haven peppers with Driftless Organic black beans; Granny's Bakery lavender cookies; and, organic fair trade Just Coffee and tea, Greens Orchards apple cider, cranberry juice, and milk. The Currach will perform traditional Irish tunes during the meal. Madison Senior Center, 330 W. Mifflin St., 8 a.m.-noon, $7.50 adults and $3.75 kids. Call 455-1999 for more info about the market.
The second annual International Raw Milk Symposium convenes in Madison today with a mission of addressing "the chasm between consumer demand for raw milk and health official qualms about allowing access to unprocessed, unadulterated dairy foods." An increasing demand for and resulting regulatory dispute over the status of raw milk in Wisconsin and elsewhere around the world is energizing producers and consumers to organize and push for easing direct access to this dairy staple. This all-day conference follows the inaugural January 2009 meeting in Toronto. The agenda includes a global lineup of speakers, and will be followed by a $150 fundraiser reception, dinner and lecture to support the work of the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund in Wisconsin. Monona Terrace, 1 John Nolen Dr., 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m., $60. Call 703-208-3276.
The entire Fleming's 100 collection of wines by the glass will be available for pouring at a tasting fundraiser for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society this afternoon. The benefit will also feature appetizers and a silent auction. Fleming's Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar, 750 N. Midvale Blvd., noon-3 p.m., minimum $35 donation. Call 233-9550 for more info.
Alicia Rheal of Mad City Chickens is teaching an introductory class this afternoon about raising backyard chickens. Titled City Chickens 101, the lesson will cover the basics of nutrition, housing behavior, regulations, and the benefits and drawbacks of various chicken breeds. Willy Street Coop, 1221 Williamson St., 1-2:30 p.m., $15 owners and $25 non-owners. Call 251-6776 for more info.
Wunk Sheek, a Native American student association at UW-Madison, is hosting its 35th annual Spring Pow-Wow this afternoon. Preceded by the introductory seminar "Pow-Wow 101: An Introduction for All the People," the festivities include drumming and dancing, grand entries at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m., a traditional feast at 5 p.m., and arts and crafts sales through the day. Kohl Center, 601 W. Dayton St., 1-9 p.m., free. Call 890-2746 for more info.
Drumlin Community Gardens welcomes the new growing season this afternoon with a public gathering and potluck birthday celebration of United Farm Workers co-founder Dolores Huerta. Participating farmers and supporters are invited to bring food to share while signing up for garden plots and exchanging seeds and ideas to put into action this spring and summer. The long-term future of the Drumlin grounds, long threatened by commercial development, will also be discussed at this gathering. Centro Hispano, 810 W. Badger Rd., 4 p.m., free. Call 262-9036 for more info.
Sunday, April 11
Sweet and Savory Pies!, a class taught by Chef Laurie Conrad of the Savory Spoon Cooking School covers the basics of baking from scratch with both dough and fillings. The menu for this hands-on lesson features: buttermilk, sage, and crab cheese pie; lemon chamomile meringue pie, and a French galette. Willy Street Coop, 1221 Williamson St., 11 a.m.-1 p.m., $15 owners and $25 non-owners. Call 251-6776 for more info.
The Melting Pot is marking National Cheese Fondue Day with its Cheese for Charity fundraiser. The restaurant will donate $10 from every fondue purchase to Gilda's Club of Madison, a support network for people whose lives are touched by cancer. The Melting Pot, 6816 Odana Rd., all day. Call 833-5676 for more info.
Monday, April 12
Chef Sabi turns his focus to fresh seasonal fare today at his Vegetarranean cooking class. The Mediterranean-focused menu for the lesson will feature: lentil spinach soup with turmeric and coriander; a tabouli made with a "secret dressing," date and walnut energy bars; and, a "Found Fresh Food" seasonal vegetarian entree made with ingredients selected from the produce section at the co-op. Willy Street Coop, 1221 Williamson St., 11 a.m.-1 p.m., $15 owners and $25 non-owners. Call 251-6776 for more info.
Author, innkeeper, and farmer Lisa Kivirist is giving a free talk this evening titled "Eating Organic on a Dime" as part of the Ethical Eats lecture series hosted by the First Unitarian Society of Madison. Drawing upon her experiences operating the renewable energy-powered and local food-serving Inn Serendipity Bed & Breakfast in Green County, as well as her work with the Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service, the talk will examine he challenges and rewards of maintaining a grocery shopping budget that focuses on healthy foods and conscientious purchasing strategies. First Unitarian Society, 900 University Bay Dr., 7 p.m., $5. Call 233-9774 for more info.
Beer Monks & Maidens is holding its next monthly meeting and membership drive this evening, focusing as always on tasty brews and camaraderie. Babe's Grill & Bar, 5614 Schroeder Rd., 7:30 p.m., free. Call 628-9806 for more info.
Upcoming eats events
It's worth knowing about some events that require reservations farther in advance.
Sunday, April 18
Herbalists Lauri Lee and Susan Churchill of the Madison Herb Society are teaching a Herb Garden Design workshop this afternoon that offers examples and ideas on "how to transform a random collection of herb plants into a well-designed garden." Olbrich Gardens, 3330 Atwood Ave., 1:30 p.m., $45. RSVPs must be made by April 8. Call 246-4550 for more info.
Saturday, June 5
Celebrate backyard cuisine at its most local level with the return of Burgers & Brew, an annual summertime fundraiser and feast on behalf of the REAP Food Group. The burgers will be created by a dozen Madison restaurants and grocery stores that are participating Buy Fresh Buy Local partners. Everybody attending will get to select three of these creations, each paired with a Wisconsin microbrew. A closer look at the pairing possibilities can be found in a report about the 2009 edition of the benefit. Tickets go on sale on April 12 and can be purchased at the Willy Street Co-op or online. REAP members can purchase early-entry tickets, which will allow them access to the event a half-hour earlier than regular guests; these must be purchased online or in person. Capital Brewery, 7734 Terrace Ave., Middleton, 4-7 p.m., $25. Call 310-7836 for more info.