Based on the sheer volume of hefty multicourse dinners and food festivals that are hitting our inbox, it's clearly time to start laying on that seasonal layer of fat for insulation.
9/21 A Summit-themed five-course dinner? Hells yes. Wildfire hosts Summit Brewery founder and brewmaster Mark Stutrud to speak about the company's craft beers while you nosh on courses that include bison sliders, Honeycrisp apple salad, and corn-crusted walleye, all paired with a Summit beer of course. We're most intrigued by the malted ice cream sandwich made with a stout brownie and paired with Summit's Oatmeal Stout. Wowza! Dinner is $45, and reservations can be made by calling 952.914.9100.[jump]
9/22 Osteria I Nonni hosts a special wine dinner dedicated to the extremely rare fine wines of the Italian Alps. The Nino Negri estate produces these wines, and I Nonni welcomes winemaker Casimiro Maule to discuss his Alpine wines during the meal. Dinner is $79 and begins at 6:30 p.m. For reservations call 651.905.1080, ext. 7.
9/23 Test your stomach-stretching abilities tonight at Festa Italiana. Popular restaurants like Pazzaluna, Mancini's, D'Amico, Cossetta and more are hosting a two-day extravaganza on Harriet Island that kicks off tonight. Admission is free, and there's thankfully no food tickets--you pay as you gorge. Dishes include all the favorites, like calamari, sausage and peppers, meatball sandwiches, cannolis, and spumoni ice cream. In addition to live music the festa boasts bocce ball, gondola rides, and even organ grinders. Festivities run 3-9 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturday. For more information visit the official website.
9/24 Yep, it's a haul, but you can check out the fall colors on your way: the Lake Pepin Food, Wine & Cider Festival hosted by Maiden Rock Winery & Cidery promises a full afternoon of food and drink to celebrate the season. Wet your lips (their words) with delicious wine pairings and taste the newest releases from the winery. Wisconsin-made hard ciders will also be on hand, as well as folk-rock-pop duo Patchouli. You can also learn tips on how to make your own cider (and cook with it) while you're there. Cost is $30, and the event runs 1-6 p.m. For more information visit the winery's website.
9/25 Eating for a cause! Slow Food Minnesota and the Minnesota Food Association team up for a benefit for immigrant farmers at Big River Farms in Marine on St. Croix, and you're the winner. The event includes a harvest dinner, farm tours, silent auction, and the chance to talk with immigrant farmers. The event begins at 2 p.m. with appetizers and drinks, and dinner is served at 3:30 p.m. Tickets run $85 for members of Slow Food or MFA and $100 for nonmembers, while children are $45. Reservations can be made online here.