Bourbon Entertaining Made Easy By Experts

Inspired by the amazing win of Strike Rich, the second biggest upset in the Kentucky Derby’s history, I decided to delve into Kentucky food history by reading and cooking from a new book on the subject, it’s title compelling asking Which Fork Do I use with My Bourbon?: Setting the Table for Tastings, Food Pairings, Dinners, and Cocktail Parties from University Press of Kentucky.

Wondering what fork to use when serving bourbon isn’t a question we commonly ask, but authors Peggy Noe Stevens and Susan Reigler are entertainment and bourbon experts who travel frequently conducting seminars and tastings. The impetus for their book stems from being constantly asked how to go about hosting the perfect cocktail or dinner party starting from table setting to pairing the best foods and bourbons.

Their bourbon credentials are impeccable. Stevens is an inductee into the Bourbon Hall of Fame, the first female master bourbon taster, founder of the Bourbon Women Association, and one of the originators of the Kentucky Bourbon Trails. Reigler is the author of several bourbon and travel books including Kentucky Bourbon Country: The Essential Travel Guide and The Kentucky Bourbon Cocktail Book, a former restaurant critic and beverage columnist, and past president of the Bourbon Women Association as well as a certified bourbon steward.

Now Stevens and Reigler are the type of Kentucky women who if they were going to tailgate at the Kentucky Derby wouldn’t bring a cooler filled will take-out from the deli counter of the local grocery store to be served on  paper plates and eaten with plastic dinnerware. This type of Kentucky woman brings great grandmother’s silver serving dishes and great great Aunt Mabel’s fine China. And, of course, the food would be equally well turned out though not necessarily fussy or hard to make.

Despite the elegance of it all, Stevens and Reigler don’t want anyone “to work their fingers to the bone planning and executing.”

Susan Reigler

Peggy Noe Stevens

After all, they say, “the best form of bourbon etiquette is simple to make people feel comfortable.”

The following recipes are from Which Fork Do I Use With My Bourbon.

Dark and Bloody Mary:

  • 1 teaspoon salt, pepper, paprika mix
  • 2 ounces bourbon
  • 2 large lemon wedges
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 can (6 ounces) tomato juice

To prepare the seasoning mix, combine in a mortar (or spice grinder) one part each smoked sea salt, smoked black pepper, and smoked paprika (the authors suggest these should all come from Bourbon Barrel Foods– bourbonbarrelfoods.com). Finely crush with a pestle and shake together in a jar.

To a pint glass or a large mason jar filled with ice, add the bourbon, squeeze and drop in the lemon wedges, and add 1teaspoon of the seasoning mix and the Worcestershire sauce. Shake. Add more ice and the tomato juice. Shake again.

Garnish with a long straw and baby corn, large pitted black olive, and cherry pepper, all on a stick.

Wabbit

Combine all the cocktail ingredients in a shaker. Shake on ice and double-strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with a sage leaf.

Date Syrup

Macerate 1 pint of dates with rich syrup (1 pound of “sugar in the raw” and ½ pound of water, heated and stirred until the sugar dissolves).

Susan’s Tuna Spread:

Author Susan Reigler came across this recipe forty years ago in a small spiral-bound  book of recipes by James Beard that was included with her purchase of a Cuisinart food processor. She always gets raves when she serves it. Spicy and tangy, this is not your bachelor uncle’s bland tuna fish salad.

  • 2 5-ounce cans albacore tuna packed in water, drained
  • cup mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup tightly packed fresh parsley sprigs
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1½ tablespoons coarsely ground black pepper

Combine all the ingredients in a food processor and blend briefly.

Bourbon Pineapple Poundcake:

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup bourbon
  • 1 to 2 fresh pineapples, quartered and sliced
  • in thick strips
  • 1 pound cake

Preheat the oven to 175 degrees. Mix the brown sugar and bourbon until it forms a thin paste. Lay the pineapple strips side by side in a baking dish.

Brush the brown sugar mixture thickly on the pineapple strips. Put the dish in the oven and allow the mixture to melt over the pineapple until warm.

Lay the pineapple strips over slices of pound cake and ladle any extra juice over each slice. Serve immediately.

Woodford Reserve Chocolate Bread Pudding:

  • 12 cups stale French bread, diced in 1-inch cubes
  • 1 quart whole milk
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1¾ cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 6 ounces dark or bittersweet chocolate, chopped in large chunks
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Place the bread cubes in a large bowl and toss with the milk until the

bread is moistened. Soak for at least 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Whisk together the eggs, sugar,

vanilla, and cinnamon and pour over the bread-milk mixture. Fold

together until well mixed.

Fold in the chocolate chunks and mix until evenly distributed. Pour

into a greased, deep 13- by 9-inch pan. Drizzle the melted butter over

the batter and cover with foil.

Bake for 30 minutes covered and then for another 10 to 15 minutes

uncovered, until the pudding is set and firm in the middle and golden

brown on top. Serve warm with Bourbon Butter Sauce.

Bourbon Butter Sauce

Melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat.

Whisk in the sugar and bourbon and bring to a simmer. Crack the eggs

in a large bowl and whisk until blended. Add a little warm bourbon

mixture to the eggs and whisk. Continue to add the bourbon mixture

a little at a time until the eggs have been tempered. Pour all the liquid

back into the pan and return it to medium heat. Bring to a light simmer

and cook for several minutes, until thickened. Keep warm and serve over bread pudding.

Photography by Pam Spaulding.

Straight Bourbon: Distilling the Industry’s Heritage

“Bourbon is a legacy of blue grass, water and Kentucky limestone,” Carol Peachee tells me when I ask what makes Kentucky bourbon so prized.

Limestone? Water? Bluegrass? What’s that have to do with fine bourbon?

Turns out it’s quite simple. According to Peachee, the limestone filters the iron out of the water as it flows through the rock, producing a sweet-tasting mineral water perfect for making the greatest tasting liquor. Limestone, with its heavy calcium deposits, also is credited with the lush blue grass the state’s prize-winning horses gaze upon — making their bones strong.

It’s been a long time since I took geology in college, but I do like the taste of good bourbon and the sight of stately horses grazing in beautiful pastures and the more I can learn about it all, the better. Which is why I love Peachee’s entrancing photographs.

Carol Peachee

I first met Peachee, an award-winning professional photographer, when she was autographing copies of her latest book, Straight Bourbon: Distilling the Industry’s Heritage (Indiana University Press 2017; $28). Creating beauty as well as a sense of yearning, her books, including The Birth of Bourbon: A Photographic Tour of Early Distilleries, take us on a wanderlust journey of lost distilleries and those now re-emerging from the wreckage of Prohibition. At one time, Kentucky had over two hundred commercial distilleries, but only sixty-one reopened after the repeal of Prohibition in 1933. Now, as Kentucky bourbon becomes a driving force throughout the world, once barely remembered and long closed distilleries are being restored and revamped and are opening again for business.

Using a photographic technique known as high-dynamic-range imaging ― a process that produces rich saturation, intensely clarified details, and a full spectrum of light ― Peachee hauntingly showcases the vibrancy still lingering in artifacts such as antique tools, worn cypress fermenting tubs, ornate copper stills some turning slightly green with oxidation and age, gears and levers —things we would never typically think of as lovely and compelling.

Traveling with the Book

Keeping copies of her books in my car when I travel to Kentucky, I love visiting some of the places and sites she’s photographed.

Her passion for bourbon may also have come about, in part, because she lives in Lexington, Kentucky which is rich in the history of bourbon making (and, we should say, sipping).

To get a taste of how bourbon connects to the land, when in Lexington, Peachee suggests a stop at the Barrel House Distilling Co. including the Elkhorn Tavern located in the old James B. Pepper barrel plant. It’s part of Lexington’s happening Distillery District. But fine bourbon doesn’t just stop in Lexington.

“There are so many bourbon distilleries now,” she says, noting that the heritage of good bourbon making is more than the equipment and the water.

“The cultural heritage of distilling also lays in the human culture,” she writes in the Acknowledgements section of her latest book, “the people who learned the crafts of milling, copper welding and design, barrel making and warehouse construction and then passed them on through the generations down to today’s workers and owners.”

And now Peachee has passed them down to us so we can fully appreciate the art of distilling

Town Branch Bourbon Bramble

  • 2oz Bourbon
  • 3/4oz Fresh squeeze lemons
  • 3/4oz Simple syrup
  • 5 Fresh blackberries muddled

Shake with ice, strain and pour over fresh ice in rock glass with blackberry garnish.

Town Branch Bourbon Mint Julep

  • 2 oz Bourbon
  • 8 mint leaves
  • 1/4oz simple syrup
  • Dash of bitters

Muddle ingredients.

Add crushed ice with mint garnish and straw.

The above recipes are courtesy of the Lexington Brewing & Distilling Company.

Traveling Through Time: Cruising the Danube Narrows to Weltenburg Abbey

Weltenburg Abbey was more than four centuries old before the monks first began brewing ale—or at least ale worth noting–in 1050. Now vying for the title of the oldest monastic brewery in the world (Weihenstephan Abbey also claims the honor), they set their claim on maintaining the original brewing process. Like the beer, much is as it was remains at the Abbey, the somewhat plain exterior of the cathedral opens onto an elaborately ornate and gilded interior. Services are still held regularly, and monks still live and work on the premises. And just as abbeys were places for gatherings for a millennium and more, Weltenburg also remains a destination. Located 25 miles west of the charming Bavarian city of Regensburg, a UNESCO World Heritage City and just three miles from Kelheim, it is accessible by car. But I totally like immersing myself in history and my goal today is to replicate—as much as I can—the 1050 experience.

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Long Wall and St. Nepomuk

On the ferry from Kelheim, I watch as the boat’s wake cuts through waters reflecting the dark greens of dense woods and whites of limestone rocks of the Fränkische Alb mountains, some rising 300-feet high. Winds, water and time have carved caves and nooks in the limestone and in one of these crannies on an expansive stretch of stone called the Long Wall someone has tucked a statue of St. Nepomuk, the patron saint of water and bridges who was drowned when he refused to reveal the confessions made to him by the Queen of Bavaria. Her husband must have really wanted to know what she was up to.

The Danube Narrows

Today it will take 40 minutes to travel the Danube Narrows, an ancient waterway to and from Weltenburg Abbey or if you want to be really German about it, Weltenburger Klosterbrauerei, a sprawling complex of Baroque stone buildings surrounded by the lush rural beauty of Southern Bavaria.

There are times when the river is a lively place with small boats passing by and bicyclists and hikers making their way along the riverbank. Then suddenly, navigating a bend, it’s all calm waters and quiet.  I imagine this is how it was when pilgrims and tradesmen (and hopefully tradeswomen as well) came to the abbey to retreat from the world, rest or conduct business. It was a time when travel was mainly by water as roads barely existed and their trip would have taken much longer without our gas powered engines. But the sight they saw when making the final curve is much the same as today—Weltenburg’s blue tower roof and the washed pink walls.

Weltenburger Klosterbrauerei

The abbey sits on a bend of the river and in front is a small sandy beach and shallow waters where people play. It’s hot today—a heat wave is moving across Europe—and I envy them as the water looks cool and refreshing. But history calls and instead I move up the walk leading from the dock to the entrance already awed by the size and beauty of the place.

There are always hard choices and today I need to decide whether to tour first (there are self-guided and guided tours available) or take a seat in the sun at the biergarten, It appears that most people have chosen the latter and rather than wait for a table or sit inside the restaurant, I enter the church.

St. Georg Church

We’re talking seriously rococo inside, an overdrive of theatrical flourishes mixed with more Gothic elements. Paintings date back to the 1300s, a statue of the church’s namesake St. George or St. Georg as its spelled here, sculpted in smooth, sleek marble, rides his horse most likely on his way to slay the dragon. The main room, its ceiling 65-feet high, has alcoves off to the sides, each one just as ornate. It’s hard to take in everything at once, the artistry, pageantry and craftsmanship are so amazing.  Standing near a group tour, I hear phrases like “eight ionic columns, Weltenburg marble and gold fresco” and hurriedly write the words down as it helps sort out this wonderment of riches.

Bavarian Fare

Back outside, I spot an empty table and grab it. Addicted to German fare (yes, really), I order pigs’ knuckle known as schweinshaxe, schnitzel and even though I’m in Bavarian and not the Black Forest (hey, it’s nearby) the famous cake from that region. Of course, I need a glass of their Kloster Barock Dunkel—an almost black in color ale which is still made on site in a rock cave and then sent by pipeline to the monastery taps. Also available—to drink or take home, there is a gift store of course–are other brews and such medicinal spirits as their Weltenburg monastery bitters and liqueurs. And if you want to go full abbey, there’s their klosterkas and monastery sausage both based on ancient Weltenburg recipes.

Maybe I shouldn’t have eaten that last schnitzel and definitely not the cake. To assuage my conscience, I climb the mountain path as it winds past the Stations of the Cross. It’s steep but the gaps in the woods offer commanding views of the valley, abbey and gorge below. I briefly contemplate spending the night at the St. Georg Guest House to be able to walk the abbey grounds late at night when all the visitors are gone but I don’t have a reservation. Next time for sure.

The Oldest Wheat Beer Brewery in Bavaria

          Returning to Kelheim isn’t exactly like entering the 21st century. In the old town I wander the narrow streets snapping photos of perfectly maintained Medieval-era buildings just a short walk from the docks and on the way to where I parked my car, I let my friends talk me into stopping at Weisses Bauhaus Kelheim.

It’s a beautiful place, all wood, vaulted ceilings and archways leading from room to room. Outside we sit in, yes another beer garden, this one next to a small stream, and order a round of their wheat beer. Really, I had to since they’ve been brewing beer here since 1607, making the Weisses Brauhaus the oldest wheat beer brewery in Bavaria.

 

I’m not typically a beer lover but both the Kloster Barock Dunkel at the abbey and the TAP7 here, made from the original 1872 recipe, are robust and flavorful without bitterness or an overly hoppy taste. I’m driving so instead of more beer, I listen to the live music, enjoy the myriad of colorful blooms cascading from window boxes, baskets and containers and contemplate how I’ve spent the day moving through history and only now have reached the 17th century.

The Guardian: Restoring Hawaii’s ancient food forests

The Guardian: The farmers restoring Hawaii’s ancient food forests that once fed an island | Hawaii. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/jun/17/hawaii-traditional-farming-methods-ancient-food-forests

Our community has been using their skills and creativity to pivot, fill food system gaps, and serve Hawaiʻi’s nutritional needs during this unprecedented time.

Through thoughtful interviews and photographic portraiture, we spotlight the necessity of a collective commitment needed to sustain our emerging system of resiliency, of a self-sufficient Hawaiʻi. From Feeding Hawai’i.

Trip Stack Trend: Charming small Midwest towns make great summer destinations

Bloomington, Indiana. Photo courtesy of Visit Bloomington.

With many eager to use those unused vacation days and ready to travel again, travelers are turning towards trip stacking: booking several trips and experiences over a set of vacation days. And one of the best ways to do this? With a classic American road trip, of course.

Photo courtesy of Visit Indiana.

With major cities such as Indianapolis and Chicago topping the lists of places to visit in the Midwest, there are several other stop-worthy, under-the-radar cities and destinations that pack a full punch of culture, arts, outdoor experiences, and culinary offerings. Among them, Bloomington, Indiana (3.5 hours from Chicago & 1 hour from Indianapolis) and and Grand Geneva Resort & Spa in Lake Geneva, WI (1.5 hours from Chicago & 45 minutes from Milwaukee).

Photo courtesy Grand Geneva Resort & Spa

While the city of Bloomington and a stop at Grand Geneva Resort & Spa in Lake Geneva, WI are perfect side trips on any Midwest trip, they also warrant their own getaway. But for those trip stacking and making stops, here are a few of the many reasons to add these destinations to your Midwest road trip itinerary:

WHY BLOOMINGTON?

That Lake Life. 

Photo courtesy of Visit Bloomington.

For those looking for a lake vacation, Bloomington is home to the 10,750-acre Monroe Lake, Indiana’s largest land-bound body of water. Monroe Lake offers visitors everything from boating, beaching, biking, fishing, hiking, campgrounds, and more. It’s one of the Midwest’s best kept secrets for lake getaways.

Bloomington is a foodie-destination worth getting in the car for. This small Midwest city has a global dining scene and is home to over 350+ restaurants. Check out Bloomington’s most iconic restaurants here.

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And during the summer, one of the best ways to experience Bloomington’s eclectic atmosphere is dining al fresco on the patio of a local restaurant. With over 100 eateries offering outdoor dining during the warmer months, there are an abundance of choices.

Photo courtesy of Visit Bloomington.

Some of the Midwest’s best art & cultural attractions can be found in Bloomington. From renowned museums, A-list comedy clubs, to historic artwork and artifacts, Bloomington is rich in culture. Check out some of the top attractions here.

For fireworks: Bloomington is one of the best Midwest spots for fireworks and Fourth of July festivities. The city offers several free, public firework displays.

Photo courtesy of Visit Bloomington

Bloomington has a nightlife scene. The bars and restaurants stay open later in Bloomington than most Midwest cities! Check out underground vibes such as The Root Cellar Lounge, one of Bloomington’s best hidden gems, located in the basement of FARMbloomington. 

FARMbloomington

Under the radar wine destination

In addition to being a cool foodie town it’s great for winos as well. It’s home to the award-winning Oliver Winery, Indiana’s largest and oldest winery, which is also celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. 

Bloomington is also home to five breweries, all of which are located in the downtown area. Grab a beer at Function Brewing, The Tap, Switchyard Brewing, Upland Brewpub, or Bloomington Brewing Company (BBC) — for your own beer tasting experience, The Tap, Function, and BBC are all located within a five-block stretch of one-another.

WHY GRAND GENEVA?

Get Outside

Situated on 1,300 acres in the woodlands of Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, Grand Geneva is an award-winning AAA Four-Diamond resort located 90 minutes from Chicago and 50 minutes from Milwaukee. The hotel has been welcoming guests for more than 25 years, offering some of the finest facilities, accommodations, and dining experiences in the Midwest. The iconic resort has always offered dynamic recreation for guests looking for an escape (or the perfect pit stop), including outdoor adventures such as hiking, biking, horseback riding, and scooter excursions — in addition to the resort’s two championship 18-hole golf courses, tennis courts, and indoor and outdoor pools. Guests also enjoy the resort’s acclaimed restaurants, award-winning Well Spa + Salon, and expansive fitness center.

For fireworks.

 Every Sunday through Labor Day weekend, resort guests enjoy a dazzling Sunday fireworks display. But for those looking to celebrate July 4, Grand Geneva also offers one of the grandest fireworks shows. Guests who stay in a Lake View room can enjoy the fireworks show from their private balcony or patio, while all resort guests can view the show from the resort’s hillside.

Get golfing

This Lake Geneva golf destination is especially known for its two championship golf courses. At over 7,000 yards featuring massive sand traps and prominent water features, the magnificent Brute course is one of the most challenging layouts in the Midwest is considered one of Wisconsin’s best golf courses. 

The Highlands is a Scottish-inspired, links-style course, complete with a beautiful landscape of scenic hills, wide open fairways, trickling creeks and lush foliage. This Lake Geneva golf course was originally designed by Pete Dye and Jack Nicklaus and transformed in 1996 by Bob Cupp. Need to brush up on skills? The resort launched new weekly clinics this year.

Privacy with the perks of a hotel.

For guests seeking a more private getaway, The Villas at Grand Geneva offer luxury vacation rentals with spacious living areas, separate bedrooms, and kitchens. Guests have access to additional resort amenities, including a pool and an outdoor fire pit area reserved for the exclusive use of Villa guests.

A culinary hotspot

Grand Geneva Resort & Spa is home to several award-winning restaurants and cafes. Guests enjoy several different dining experiences including Wisconsin steak dinners, seafood boils, over the top brunches, and more. 

And there’s a waterpark

Nestled within the sprawling resort campus, is Grand Geneva’s sister-property, Timber Ridge Lodge & Waterpark – an all-suite family resort featuring one of the Midwest’s top waterparks. 

While in Lake Geneva

Grand Geneva’s concierge can help arrange some of the city’s best experiences such as Lake Geneva Cruise Line, Lake Geneva Balloon CompanyLake Geneva Ziplines & Adventures and more. The resort also offers discounts for guests on select local attractions.

Visit Lake Geneva

Grub Street: 2022 James Beard Award Winners: The Full List

Grub Street: 2022 James Beard Award Winners: The Full List. https://www.grubstreet.com/2022/06/2022-james-beard-chef-and-restaurant-award-winners-full-list.html

In 2022, the Cultural City of Dresden Hosts Special Exhibitions in Saxony’s State of the Arts

Celebrate arts and culture in Dresden in 2022.

Special exhibitions include Gerhard Richter at 90 with selections by the artist and Bernardo Bellotto, at 300, with his extraordinary cityscapes. Dresden also celebrates the father of its classical music lineage: Heinrich Schütz.  

Baroque Spendor

Restored now to its original baroque splendor, Dresden’s gleaming buildings, including the Royal Palace, the cathedral, the opera, the Brühlsche Terrasse among others, along the banks of the Elbe are a sight to behold. And, inside these buildings are arguably some of the world’s finest treasures. There are many exhibitions in 2022 and Dresden artists, Gerhard Richter and Bernardo Bellotto, lead the way. 

Starting off the year with a contemporary flare, is the Gerhard Richter exhibition celebrating the 90th birthday of this special Dresden citizen. Not only was Richter born in Dresden but he also has a special professional connection to the city as his archive is housed at the Dresden State Art Collections. The exhibition, “GERHARD RICHTER. Portraits. Glass. Abstractions” will run from February 5 to May 1 in three rooms of the upper floor of the Albertinum, also a part of the Dresden State Art Collections. Richter picked the pieces for the exhibition from his private collection as well as from the archive while additional of his works are lent by other international institutions.

Bernardo Bellotto’s 300th Birthday

Next up is the exhibition on Bernardo Bellotto, the nephew of the Canaletto, and often referred to as Canaletto the Younger or also just Canaletto. His 300th birthday is an enormous cause célèbre in the Elbe city as he painted extraordinary landscapes that depicted Dresden as it was in its golden age in the mid1700s.

From May 21 to August 28, the Dresden State Art Collections will be showing the exhibition “Enchantingly Real: Bernardo Bellotto at the Court of Saxony” where there will be paintings from the Dresden State Art Collections as well as from other institutions. Bellotto became famous as the court painter for the elector of Saxony, Frederick Augustus II. His famous works are breath- taking depictions of the city and its environs, most measuring over eight feet in width. Dresden and the nearby Pirna will be celebrating the anniversary especially during the Dresden City Festival from August 19 to 21. 

Dresden: Musical City

Dresden is also a musical city and one of the most important musicians in setting this foundation is Heinrich Schütz, the royal organist and music director of the Royal Palace in the mid1600s. His work will be celebrated and played at the ‘Barock.Musik.Fest’ from May 2 to May 8 in the Royal Palace as well as from October 7 to 17 during the eponymous festival dedicated to the musician. Schütz is known for writing vocal solos, duets and choir works with and without instruments. He was strongly influenced by Italian composers of the time and yet created a strong German choral tradition that is still lively in the city today.

German Hygiene Museum Dresden

 A daring exhibition will take place at the German Hygiene Museum Dresden from April 2, 2022 to January 2, 2023: ‘Artful Intelligence. Machine Learning Human Dreams’ highlights the extent that artificial intelligence can be used in our lives even in such intimate topics about how to realize whether a person is lying, even to him or herself, and what criteria AI is using to make decisions.

Pillnitz Castle

“Plant Fever” is a multifaceted exhibition that will be displayed in Pillnitz Castle, the erstwhile summer palace of Augustus the Strong. Pillnitz is only 20 minutes from Dresden by a very pleasant river boat ride that will take you past beautiful villas and palaces from the 1700s. Designers, scientists, technology experts and plant enthusiasts will be interested in this project that will showcase 50 international projects from April 29 to November 6.

Meissen Porcelain

Blick auf die Albrechtsburg / Dom zu Meißen. Foto Tommy Halfter (DML-BY) // View of Albrechtsburg Castle / Meissen Cathedral! Photo: Tommy Halfter (DML-BY)

Close by will be the Meissen Porcelain Manufactory and showroom with some of the most beautiful porcelain pieces in the world. A special exhibition, called “Johann,” after Johann Boettger, the alchemist who was after gold but ended up with porcelain, or white gold, will be located in the Albrechtsburg (fortress close to the manufactory) for people interested in international and contemporary porcelain. It will run from April 16 to July 2022.

Celebrate the Outdoors

If you are planning a trip to Dresden for spring and summer especially, Dresden has many outdoor cultural events, including film nights on the banks of the Elbe, daily classes at the Japanese Palace, walking and bicycle tours throughout the city and the region. One special way to enjoy and experience the Elbe region is to ride along the Elbe Wine Road from Pirna to Dirnbar-Seusslitz. August 27 and 28 and September 23 and 25 are the local wine festivals in Radebeul and Meissen respectively. Although it is technically Germany’s smallest and most northern wine region, the wines are popular while the landscape and wineries are beautiful places to visit and enjoy a meal. 

Dramatic History Comes Alive

Foto: Michael R. Hennig (DML-BY)

In the past year, two excellent permanent exhibitions, the “Zwinger Xperience,” and the “Festung Xperience,” were created to make Dresden’s dramatic history come alive. These 3-D presentations show battles, art, and the people of Dresden’s past. You stand inside Dresden’s fortress underground and in the Zwinger Museum while images and films are projected against the walls and tell deeds of conquests, battles and romance.

State Arts Collection Dresden

Die Prager Straße Dresden. Foto: Tommy Halfter (DML-BY)

There are a number of other exhibitions at the State Art Collections Dresden as well as in the region that are worth visiting throughout the year. Dresden is a cultural jewel on the Elbe so make sure when you come to arrange for walking tours to see the architectures and the landscapes as well as to secure tickets for the museums and the collections. You will be overjoyed at the cultural wealth at every corner at all times of the day.

Foto: Michael R. Hennig

For further information, please contact Victoria Larson, USA Press Representative, State Tourist Board of Saxony at Victoria@vklarsoncommunications.com

Chicago Hits Peak Festival Season with Exciting New Summer Programming 

With summer fast approaching, peak festival season in Chicago will soon be upon us.  See below for a list of some of the most exciting programs returning in 2022 (many of them free) along with a few new surprises!

June 2022

Grant Park Orchestra and Chrous. Photo credit Norman Timonera.

  • Chicago Gospel Music Experience (June 4, 2022): This outdoor festival at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park, celebrating the Chicago-born genre, brings together traditional choirs, contemporary urban gospel artists, and more. FREE
  • Chicago Blues Festival (June 9-12, 2022): With a diverse lineup in Millennium Park celebrating the blues’ past, present and future, the Chicago Blues Festival, the largest free blues festival in the world, shares the great Chicago-born music tradition while shining a spotlight on the genre’s contributions to soul, R&B, gospel, rock, hip hop and more. FREE

Andersonville Midsommarfest (June 10-12, 2022): For more than 50 years, this summer festival has celebrated Andersonville’s Swedish heritage, LGBTQ+ pride, and vibrant local business community. For three nights and two days, this vibrant and diverse community will bring together over 75,000 people to celebrate a proud Swedish summer tradition with eclectic music, great vendors, food and free kids’ activities. Suggested donation of $10, as well as proceeds from beer sales, benefit the Andersonville Chamber of Commerce, along with several local non-profit organizations.

Grant Park Music Festival (June 15 – August 20, 2022): For more than 80 years, the Grant Park Music Festival has been Chicago’s summer musical sensation, demonstrating that classical music, performed by a world-class orchestra and chorus, can have a transformative impact on the city. This year will offer a thrilling lineup of music at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion with a mix of contemporary compositions and classical favorites such as Beethoven’s Eroica Symphony, Tchaikovsky’s Sleeping Beauty and Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No. 2. Plus there’s plenty of family fun with the Independence Day SaluteLights on Broadway, and Cirque Goes to Hollywood featuring live aerialists soaring above the stage. FREE

The Summer Smash Festival (June 17-19, 2022): SPKRBX presents The Lyrical Lemonade Summer Smash Festival, the premier Hip-Hop music festival in the Midwest. For three days, on three stages, some of the biggest names in Hip-Hop will perform, including Post Malone and Wiz Khalifa. Tickets range from a 3-Day $275 General Admission Pass, to a $449 VIP Pass.

Chicago Pride Fest(June 17-19, 2022): Celebrate Pride in Northalsted, the country’s oldest official gay neighborhood at this lively fest, featuring live music, dance queens, local food, and more. The following weekend the Chicago Pride Parade (June 26, 2022), one of the largest Pride celebrations in the world, marches through the neighborhood. Suggested donation of $15 for Chicago Pride Fest.

Millennium Park Summer Music Series (June 20 – August 18, 2022, Mondays & Thursdays): With the backing of the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE), this outdoor program features a wide variety of music from established and emerging artists at the iconic Jay Pritzker Pavilion. FREE

Pride in the Park (June 25-26,2022): An annual outdoor music festival held downtown in Chicago’s Grant Park at the end of June features LGBTQ+ performers, artists, vendors and more. 2-Day General Admission Passes to Pride in the Park start at $100.

Sail Grand Prix

Chicago has been chosen to host the United States Sail Grand Prix (SailGP) at Navy Pier (June 18-19, 2022). If you are not familiar, SailGP is one of the fastest emerging properties in world sports featuring exciting, up-close action as teams race identical F50 catamarans – a highly-technical, hydro foiling race boat that boasts highway speeds – in an annual global championship held in some of the most iconic cities around the world. Ten national teams will compete, comprising the best athletes in the sport representing the United States, Great Britain, France, Denmark, Spain, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand, plus two new franchises from Canada and Switzerland. In June, the F50s will race on Lake Michigan directly in front of the Chicago skyline, marking the first time the championship has ever competed on fresh water! Tickets for single-day waterfront viewing access begin at around $40.

Ravenswood On Tap (June 18-19, 2022): Sip your way through Ravenswood, one of Chicago’s top craft beer neighborhoods and home to many small craft producers. Malt Row is one of the most prolific craft brewing communities in the country – and it’s right in Ravenswood! Enjoy brews from Malt Row, KOVAL Distillery cocktails, plus ax throwing, live music and some of Chicago’s favorite restaurants and food trucks.  Suggested donations and proceeds from this event benefit the Greater Ravenswood Chamber of Commerce, Ravenswood Community Council, and several other community organizations.

July 2022

  • Chicago SummerDance (July 6–September 17, 2022, select dates): The beloved  series returns this summer at parks throughout the city this summer. Dancers of all ages and skill levels are invited to take part in introductory dance lessons by professional instructors followed by live music and dancing. FREE
  • Taste of Chicago (July 8-10, 2022): A bite-sized version of the classic lakefront extravaganza will take place over three days in July — showcasing an estimated 30–40 eateries and food trucks each day, and three mainstage evening concerts.  Prior to the main event, a series of Taste of Chicago pop-ups will return this year with food and music events in three Chicago neighborhoods in June. FREE admission; tickets for food and beverages are sold in strips of 14 for $10.
  • Southport Art & Music Fest (July 9-10, 2022): Chicago’s iconic Southport Corridor blooms to life when Southport Art Fest takes over Waveland and Southport in July. Festival fans will visit the beautiful tree-lined streets of the picturesque neighborhood. Just steps away from the friendly margins of Wrigley Field, the two-day festival will showcase some of the city’s best and most diverse artists. FREE admission; all donations and proceeds benefit the Southport Neighbors Association.
  • Millennium Park Summer Film Series (July 12–August 30, 2022, Tuesdays): Guests may take a seat at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion or lounge on the Great Lawn as crowd-pleasing movies are presented on the state-of- the-art, 40-foot LED screen. FREE
  • Pitchfork Music Festival (July 15-17, 2022): Since 2006, the Pitchfork Music Festival has consistently proven to be one of the most welcoming, comfortable, reasonably priced, and rewarding weekends of music around. Hosting 60,000 attendees of all ages from all 50 states and dozens of countries, Pitchfork Music Festival showcases the best up-and-coming music from around the world, as well as special performances from touring stalwarts and legends alike. Featuring diverse vendors, as well as specialty record, poster, and craft fairs, the festival works to support local businesses while promoting the Chicago arts and food communities as a whole. Single day General Admission tickets start at $99 while the 3-Day, General Admission pass is $200.

  • Wicker Park Fest (July 22-24, 2022): As one of Chicago’s most anticipated summer festivals, and dubbed “Chicago’s Best Street Festival of the Summer ” by the Chicago Tribune, Wicker Park Fest is one of Chicago’s top-drawing festivals, attracting visitors from across Chicagoland and the country with its fantastic music line-up. Building on the area’s unique character, the weekend celebrates the neighborhood with eclectic music, great local food, arts and crafts, and retail vendors. Suggested donation of $10 and all proceeds benefit the local Wicker Park Bucktown Chamber of Commerce.
  • Pizza City Fest (July 23-24, 2022): Steve Dolinsky – a 13-time James Beard Award-winning food reporter, currently “The Food Guy” at NBC 5 –  is creating a pizza festival unlike anything that’s ever been done, over two days in the West Loop. Pizza City Fest: Chicago brings together 39 of the region’s best pizza makers (and one out-of-town guest) for two days of pizza making and appreciation, all in one location – Plumbers Union Hall in the West Loop. Thanks to 10 PizzaMaster ovens on-site, guests will be able to see each pizza maker create, bake and serve up their remarkable pies in the massive parking lot at the Hall. There will also be live music, pizza-themed art, merchandise and a few special treats. Attendees will also be able to take in a series of highly curated seminars and panel discussions with some of the country’s greatest pizza makers in attendance. General Admission 1-Day tickets start at $59 and 2-Day tickets at $89.

Sundays on State (July 24–September 4, 2022, select Sundays): After its enormously successful debut in 2021, Sundays on State, presented by the Chicago Loop Alliance, will return for Summer 2022, with portions of Chicago’s most iconic street, State Street, closing to vehicular traffic again for select Sundays this summer. Join neighbors from every Chicago community and beyond for this free, interactive block party, while safely enjoying art, culture, active recreation, food, drinks, shopping, and local attractions in the heart of everyone’s neighborhood. FREE

August 2022

  • Windy City Smokeout (August 4-7, 2022): It’s like a weekend-long tailgate at this popular country music festival, known for drawing in the industry’s top names. The 2022 festival lineup includes some of the biggest names in the industry, including Tim McGraw, Miranda Lambert, Sam Hunt, Willie Nelson, and more. Along with today’s hottest country acts, the lineup also includes some of the world’s best pitmasters. Barbecue pros from all over the country will be serving up ribs, brisket, smoked meats and more, highlighting styles from Kentucky, Nashville, Missouri, and Chicago. Local barbecue vendors include Bub City, Lillie’s Q, and Pearl’s Southern Comfort. Ticket prices range from $45 for a 1-Day Sunday General Admission ticket to $185 for a 4-Day pass.

  • Northalsted Market Days (August 6-7, 2022): The 40th Northalsted Market Days is a weekend long live music street festival celebrating community in Chicago’s landmark Northalsted/Lakeview district. The 1/2 mile long festival features all-day lineups of live music on 6 stages, 250+ unique vendors, arts, crafts, food and drink, DJ’s and dancing, sponsor booths, and more! Estimated attendance of 120,000 people from near and far, representing all colors of the rainbow! Suggested donation of $15, as well as proceeds from festival support local nonprofits, and fund community projects like the Chicago Pride Crosswalks.
  • Chicago Air and Water Show (August 20-21, 2022): The largest free show of its kind in the country, this waterfront show features stunning aerial displays above Lake Michigan. The show can be viewed along the lakefront from Fullerton to Oak Street, with North Avenue Beach as the focal point. FREE

For more information and a full  list of Chicago’s festivals and events, please visit: https://www.choosechicago.com/articles/festivals-special-events/chicago-festival-event-guide/ 

About Choose Chicago

Choose Chicago is the official sales and marketing organization responsible for promoting Chicago as a global visitor and meetings destination, leveraging the city’s unmatched assets to ensure the economic vitality of the city and its member business community. For more information, visit ChooseChicago.com. Follow @ChooseChicago on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. #CaptureChicagoExcitement

The Unofficial Bridgerton Cookbook

         Didn’t receive an invitation to dinner at Lady Granville’s nor to Lady Danbury’s party? They must be lost in the mail. And no, you didn’t enjoy the bonbons at the Grand Buffet. That’s because no one asked you to attend. How infuriating not to be able to taste all those luscious foods while mixing with dukes and lords at fancy parties like on Bridgerton, the award winning costume series on Netflix series.

         Unfortunately I have some bad news for you. Odds are almost 100% you’ll never get an invitation to any of the grand homes in Grosvenor Square like those you see on Bridgerton. Without an invitation, there goes you chance of snagging a duke or a duchess, but as for the food, well you can still dine like the characters on the show.

         That’s because Lex Taylor has written The Unofficial Bridgerton Cookbook: From The Viscount’s Mushroom Miniatures and The Royal Wedding Oysters to Debutante Punch and The Duke’s Favorite … 100 Dazzling Recipes Inspired by Bridgerton (Adams Media; $21.99). It’s a very pretty book with lots of photos and drawings, all to make you want to put on your best tiara and low cut ballroom gown (or if you’re a man, your cutaway tuxedo and top hat) and dine on Taylor’s recipes for Spice Trade Biscuits and Lady Varley’s Special Chicken. Unfortunately though you’ll have to cook the dishes yourself as well and clean up afterwards. How unfair not to have a butler.

         The cookbook’s release is perfectly timed as the show’s second season is starting and trailers for the series already show this year’s brooding handsome hero and the lovely young ladies whose mothers have told them to make sure they snag a lord or higher. That’s because Bridgerton is set in 1813 during England’s Regency period when marrying up was the equivalent of a woman earning a college degree today.

         Taylor created and adapted recipes that could have graced the tables of the Bridgertons and other families in the series. And that’s surprising given Taylor is the type of guy who’s spent a lot of time fishing and hunting with the Inuit of Baffin Island, foraging for food in the Hudson Valley, immersing himself in cultures that rely on ancestral knowledge for survival, and hanging out in the Sahara and the Atacama deserts and the jungles of Central America and West Africa. His previous book, Grill Fire: 100+ Recipes & Techniques for Mastering the Flame shows, among other things, how to turn your backyard grill into a Brazilian churrascaria and the way to make your own chicken wing racks. He is, he says, “a wilderness- survival-outdoor-chef and barbecue guy.”

         “I never expected that the editors would choose my proposal,” Taylor told me on the phone as I assume, he was on his way to fish with the Inuit, not to a high tea.

         “I was a hundred percent certain that there were a large number of Bridgerton fans who had already published several books with Simon and Schuster and one of them would write the book,” he continues.

         But obviously it worked out differently. Was that a mistake on Simon & Schuster’s part?

         Not at all. Choosing Taylor actually makes a lot of sense. How he lives, is in ways, reflective of life during the Regency. He’s been asked to join the Explorer’s Club because of his extensive travels with their focus on the indigenous people and he loves delving into exploration and research. Indeed, inspired by trips to New Orleans, he won Esquire magazine competition’s “The Next Great Burger” for his meat patty creation using such ingredients as caramelized pears, a saffron aioli, and deep fried beignet bun. He also appeared on “Chopped” and the Food Network and was a judge on “Beat Bobby Flay.”

         2022 may sounds like a different world than London during the Regency which was from 1811 to 1820. But Taylor sees the similarities.

         “The Regency was a time when many of the ships that traveled for English companies were bringing back exotic ingredients and people were completely fascinated by the foods and spices they brought back with them,” he says, noting that he likes to cook wild and crazy stuff as well and stages large dinners in the Hudson Valley region after successful foraging trips. “It’s so me. The food of that time is like what I do—curing and pickling, collaborating with people who fish and hunt and cook with fire and who try new things.”

         Taylor didn’t want his cookbook to be a half-hearted spin-off. That was one of several goals he had when writing—to riff off the foods eaten on the show, ensure the ingredients were readily available and the recipes easy to make. He also wanted to approach the project with a sense of humor. Take his inclusion of lavender as an ingredient.

         “Not only is lavender a beautiful plant that was used for table decorations, but it was also used during the Regency as a perfume and a medicine because it was thought to help with romance and love,” he writes about the lavender drink he created. “Both men and women used considerable amounts of perfume, as bathing was not a major part of their hygienic practice.”

Rumor-Stirring Blueberry Lavender Fizz

SERVES 1

  • 1 teaspoon dried lavender flowers
  • 1 tablespoon blueberry jam
  • 1⁄2 ounce lemon juice
  • 1⁄2 ounce lime juice
  • 1⁄2 ounce heavy cream
  • 1 large egg white, pasteurized
  • 8–12 ounces cooled sparkling water
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest

Muddle lavender in a cocktail shaker.

Add remaining ingredients except sparkling water and lemon zest. Shake vigorously until texture changes to a foam, about 10 seconds.

Fill cocktail shaker with ice. Shake 15 seconds or until cocktail is well chilled.

Strain into a Collins glass. Top with sparkling water and garnish with lemon zest.

Lady Featherington’s Society Sponge Cake

For the macerated berries:

  • 1 pound fresh berries, sliced, (dry after rinsing)
  • 1/4 cup Moscato or other sweet wine
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar or amber honey

For the sponge cake:

  • 8 cold large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup canola or other neutral oil
  • 1/3 cup pulp-free orange juice
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 cup fresh berries
  • 1 teaspoon confectioners’ sugar

Place all the ingredients for the macerated berries in a large bowl and stir gently, cover and refrigerate 24 hours or until the berries are softened. Next line to make sponge cake Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line an 8 inch springform pan with parchment paper.

Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whisk eggs and large bowl until stiff peaks form, about 10 minutes. Turn mixer speed to low and slowly add oil and juice.

On lowest speed, mix in flour and baking powder until just combined. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer immediately to a wire cooling rack, releasing from pan to cool upside down for about one hour.

Flip over so the rounded part is on top and cut into two equal rounds. Spoon macerated berries evenly over one cake round and top with the second cake round. Top with fresh berries and dust with confectioners’ sugar.

         The above recipes are from The Unofficial Bridgerton Cookbook by Lex Taylor. Copyright © 2021 by Alexei Taylor. Photographs by Harper Point Photography. Used by permission of the publisher. All rights reserved.

Igloos With a View: Enjoy a Finnish Lapland Journey with Stays in Glass-topped Igloo Cabins That Showcase the Aurora Borealis,

A new six-day tour opens up the skies for the ultimate views of the Aurora. The Stars of Scandinavia tour from Off the Map Travel takes visitors to Kilpisjärvi, Finland and Rovaniemi, Finland, known for their magnificent views of the Aurora. The six-day tour includes uniquely luxe overnight stays in igloo-style, glass-roofed cabins surrounded by the Finnish tundra.

Talk about user friendly. Guests can enjoy a comfy and warm experience luxuriating in queen-sized beds in rooms custom designed views of the night sky above. Special low-level red lighting aids viewers’ eyes in adjusting to the night sky.

The Stars of Scandinavia tour begins in Tromso, Norway and then first travels to Kilpisjärvi, Finland where the new two-story Wow House “igloo” cabins face North for optimal viewing of the Northern Lights. Just 30 miles from the Arctic Ocean, tiny Kilpisjärvi (population just over 100), has virtually no light pollution making it an ultimate aurora and star gazing destination.

Traveling south, second stop is in Rovaniemi, Finland, the capital of Lapland, located right on the Arctic Circle. As an aside Rovaniemi is the official home of Santa Claus though we can’t promise you’ll meet him. The ecologically designed Lappish Kammi Suites combine both pristine viewing of the Aurora as well as sustainable accommodations. The igloo design encompasses full glass domes over the mezzanine level bedrooms for crystal clear night sky gazing.

But it isn’t only stars and dark nights. There’s plenty to do during the day such as quintessential Lapland adventures that shouldn’t be missed. Think dogsledding, fat bike tours over the frozen tundra, and snowmobiling journeys to the Norway-Finland-Sweden border to meet reindeer and indigenous people in an exploration of Sami culture.

The current starting price, based on double occupancy, for the six-day/five-night “Stars of Scandinavia” tour is $2454 USD per person includes some meals, all transfers, four-star accommodations in Tromso with four nights in luxury glass-roofed “igloos,” and all activities. Airfare is additional. The tour is available from December 2021 through March 2022.

Developed by travel experts at Off the Map Travel as a way for those wanting an exciting, sustainable, and socially distanced holiday, this trip has it all.

“With two top locations for viewing the Northern Lights, plus a range of outdoor activities, we can offer a trip that’s both fulfilling and safe,” notes Jonny Cooper, founder of Off the Map Travel. “The snowy magic of Lapland makes for a special winter experience.

Here is the full itinerary:

Day 1: Arrive in Tromso in northern Norway, often referred to as the “Paris of the North.” Guests are transferred to a harborside hotel with stunning views of the fjords evening. Next up is a nighttime adventure into the snow-covered wilderness on a husky dogsled looking for the Aurora in the sky above.

Day 2: After breakfast, transfer across the border to Finland. Tonight, after a 3-course dinner, you will sleep in a design-forward igloo cabin with the chance to see the Northern Lights from the comfort of your bed. With little light pollution, the region of Kilpisjärvi provides optimal viewing dark sky opportunities.

Day 3: Enjoy an exhilarating snowmobile experience to where the borders of Finland, Norway and Sweden meet. In the afternoon, fly across the snow and ice while on a fat bike tour. 

Day 4: Continue your Arctic adventure with a transfer south to Rovaniemi for a stay in an igloo-style suite for two nights. Enjoy dinner and sit back to watch the skies.

Day 5: Meet Lapland’s most iconic animal–the reindeer and enjoy a short reindeer sleigh ride. Learn about Sami way of life and enjoy a short reindeer sleigh ride. Hopefully, the Northern Lights will be out, creating the perfect ending for your journey. Enjoy the lights while staying warm and comfortable in your suite as you gaze upward through the sky-view, windowed dome.

Day 6: Check out after breakfast and transfer to airport. 

About Off the Map Travel

The team at Off the Map Travel creates experiences and destinations for guests to explore hidden wonders of our planet. Specializing in Soft Adventure, Off the Map Travel also curates tailor-made holiday itineraries that showcase authentic experiences not offered by many larger travel companies. For more information on Off the Map Travel itineraries visit www.offthemap.travel; call +44 (0) 800 566 8901; email info@offthemap.travel  or join in the conversation on FacebookTwitterInstagramYouTube or

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