A colleague partial to white wine asked me to recommend one that would impress guests - but wouldn't cost more than $20. Easy: St. Clement Chardonnay. This Napa Valley estate, founded in 1878, provides winemaker Aaron Pott with the essentials to craft intense, sophisticated vintages. His 2001 chard ($16.99) has the aroma of butter, yellow apples and honey. The taste of butter is rich - and the lemon becomes more noticeable with each sip. A very good wine on its own, this dry, full-bodied white is fabulous with homemade chicken soup.
If you don't know durian from samphire, the new Field Guide to Produce (Quirk; $14.95) can help. Small enough to fit in purse or shopping cart, the paperback features descriptions of nearly 300 fruits and vegetables, apples to zucchini, with buying, storage and cooking tips. By the way, durian is a spiky melon native to Asia that has an offensive odor but sweet flesh. Samphire, also called sea bean, is a green plant with salty flavor that grows on the coast of Europe and North America.
We tried it
Those who really love ice cream generally despise the "light" versions, which often taste artificial, frosty or pumped with air. But the folks at Edy's may have turned the trick with their new Slow-Churned Grand Light.
Packing half the fat and 30 percent fewer calories, the Edy's Grand Light offers authentic flavor and mouth-feel - without extra ice and air. It's not full-fat premium ice cream, but pretty close. Available in 16 flavors, including Chocolate, French Vanilla and Rocky Road, for about $5.50/56 ounces.
The little town of May's Lick, Ky. (about 10 miles west of Maysville) celebrates stately green spears at its annual Asparagus Festival with a parade, cooking demonstrations, art show and the Asparagus Hall of Fame, beginning at 10 a.m. Saturday. Information: www.mayslickasparagusfestival.com or (606) 763-6827.
Celebrate Earth Day Saturday at Wild Oats Market in Norwood's Rookwood Commons by sampling organic fruit and vegetables, sustainable seafood, natural poultry and other products. Organic gardening activities for kids, too. 531-8015.
Call cooking schools for schedules and fees.
Cooks' Wares, Shops at Harper's Point, Symmes Township. 489-6400; Marketplace at Settler's Walk, Springboro. (937) 748-4540.
Cooking School at Jungle Jim's Market, Fairfield. 674-6059; email@example.com.
Dorothy Lane Market School of Cooking, Dayton. (937) 434-1294; www.dorothylanemarket.com.
Kremer's Market Cooking Classes, Crescent Springs. 341-1067.
Ridge Market Cooking Classes, Pleasant Ridge. 366-4760.
Wild Oats, Rookwood Commons, Norwood.531-8015.
Williams-Sonoma Grand Cuisine, Kenwood Towne Centre, 793-3445.
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