Ice cream and beer bookend this summery Week in Food

Don't waste free ice cream
Don't waste free ice cream

While we wouldn't necessarily put ice cream and beer together (that beer/ice cream float idea is better in theory than practice) we don't mind that our Week in Food begins with free ice cream and ends at the State Fair Grounds sucking down 85-plus premium brews.

6/12 This sounds like the best idea ever: Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. enter the 10,000 Scoop Challenge. You can enjoy free Moose Tracks ice cream on Nicollet Mall between Seventh and Eighth streets, and for each scoop consumed $1 will be donated to the Twin Cities Salvation Army. Get that? Eat ice cream *for free* for charity. Win-win.

6/14 Back by delicious demand is the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum's class Complementing the Grape III with chef Michael Grabner, a wine buyer for Century Wine & Spirits. The chef will cook and discuss bridge ingredients, complementing flavors and other considerations for pairing wines, while students enjoy his summer menu with wine tastings. The menu includes: spring asparagus with kewpie vinaigrette and minced egg; poached figs with pate; riesling trout with mushroom sauce; and a yummy dessert. The class, which runs 6:30-8:30 p.m., costs $50 for members and $60 for nonmembers and includes demo and meal along with wine.

On the flip side, head to Mississippi Market if you're interested in learning how to make your own handmade marshmallows. Teachers Mary Jo Rasmussen and Kelly Smeltzer claim you will never go back to bagged marshmallows again. Learn to make a basic version and then branch out to create a few different flavored varieties -- perfect for gourmet s'mores this summer. Bring an airtight container to transport your treats home. This hands-on class runs from 6 to 8 p.m. and costs $17 for members, $20 for nonmembers.

6/15 Beer and boats! This is your first chance to check out a Brews Cruise (there's three opportunities, with the other dates being July 20 and August 24), which features Lift Bridge's beers, Wisconsin cheeses, and a snack buffet while you cruise the St. Croix river on a St. Croix Boat & Packet Co. boat. You even get to keep your souvenir beer glass, all for just $30. Tickets can be bought here for the 7-9:30 p.m. cruise, and space is limited.

6/16 The fourth-annual St. Paul Summer Beer Fest kicks off Saturday at 2 p.m. at the Minnesota State Fair Grounds in the International Bazaar. For a $40 ticket you'll find this outdoor festival offers sampling from more than 85 breweries (in a commemorative tasting glass), live music, food, educational seminars, a silent auction benefiting the YMCA of St. Paul, and a fun, beer-friendly atmosphere until 6 p.m. You can find tickets here on their website.

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