Right in time for the holidays, L'Academie de Cuisine in Bethesda is offering two series of wine tastings to run on three consecutive Wednesdays, 7-9:30 p.m.; the first series starts this week, the second on Dec. 4.
Robert McDaniel, president of the Washington chapter of Confrerie de Chaine des Rotisseurs, will conduct the course, which will focus on the wines of Bordeaux, Burgundy, and the Loire and Rho ne Valleys in the first series, and those of Alsace, Eastern Europe and Champagne in the second. Gift wines, price comparisons and wines to serve with holiday dinners also will be featured. Upon completion of the course, certificates will be awarded.
The cost is $150 per series or $30 per class. Reservations may be made by calling the school at 986-9490.
-- Tom Sietsema 'Tis the Season For Bazaars, Too
Some of the city's most authentic ethnic food is served but once a year, at the various holiday bazaars and outdoor neighborhood festivals that offer everything from empanadas to bratwurst and mee krob.
One of the longest-lived celebrations is that hosted by the Greater Washington Armenian Community, which celebrates its 37th annual food festival and bazaar Wednesday through Saturday at St. Mary's Armenian Apostolic Church, located on 42nd and Fessenden streets NW.
Fifty cooks are donating their cooking skills to the event and dining opportunities abound: authentic Armenian lunches are scheduled each day of the event (11 a.m.-2 p.m. weekdays, noon-3 p.m. Saturday) and shish kebab dinners are planned Friday and Saturday, 6-9 p.m. Throughout the run there will be various crafts, books and records for sale.
For those of us with a hankering for stuffed grape leaves (yalanchi), or one of the many available pastries for sale, there will be a welcome concession ("carry-out platters for the fast-food lunchers," notes a press release) to all the authenticity.
Here is a recipe for one of the festival's most popular treats: ARMENIAN COFFEE ROLLS (Makes about 3 dozen rolls)
1 cup lukewarm milk
1 cup melted butter
3 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground mahleb (a Persian spice available in Middle Eastern markets. If unavailable, make your own from a mixture of the following, ground together: 2-inch piece of cinnamon, 3 cloves and a bay leaf)
2 ( 1/4-ounce) packages dry active yeast, dissolved in 1/4 cup lukewarm water and 1 teaspoon sugar
7 cups flour
1 egg, beaten with 1 teaspoon water for glaze
1/2 cup sesame seeds for sprinkling
In a large bowl, mix milk, melted butter, eggs, sugar, salt and mahleb. Add dissolved yeast. Stir with spoon to blend. Add flour a little at a time until mixture is very thick. Knead 5 to 8 minutes until dough is smooth and soft, then cover and allow to stand in a warm place until doubled in bulk, approximately 2 hours.
Roll small pieces of dough into 1/4-by-4-inch strips, then braid them and place on a greased baking sheet.
Brush dough braids with beaten egg glaze and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Set aside for 1 hour in a warm place. Bake in a 375-degree oven until light brown, about 15 to 20 minutes. Culinary Fellowship To Be Awarded
Les Dames d'Escoffier, Washington's professional women's culinary organization, is currently seeking applicants for its first-ever Anne Crutcher Professional Fellowship.
The award, named after the club's first president and a charter member, is to be granted in the form of a scholarship to an individual seriously interested in pursuing professional culinary training, either here or abroad.
Interested applicants are asked to submit their requests for consideration by Nov. 15. Applications may be obtained by writing to Les Dames d'Escoffier, 5021 Wilson Lane, Bethesda, Md. 20814. .A Roundup of Local Caterers
Kitchen Baazar's Bunny Polmer and local chef Ann Yonkers spent a lot of their time partying last year. More precisely, they spent a lot of their weekends and evenings on the road (and in the kitchens) of more than 50 area caterers. The result of their experiences is catalogued in the recently released "Capital Entertaining" (101 Productions, $6.95), a select guide to a variety of local caterers, plus 50 sites for holding a party, large or small.
The listings include personal observations from the authors, as well as the price ranges and specialties of the businesses featured. So now we have more than the Yellow Pages to consult -- and tips on how to select an appropriate cook for almost any occasion, be it a feast on a train, dinner on a barge or a week's worth of meals, delivered to your doorstep.