Culinary Events

Classes and events that bolster your cuisine expertise and offer tasty experiences.

CONVERSATIONAL CUISINE �� Learn to speak conversational Italian or Spanish, while enjoying a three-course meal. $185 for the five-week course, includes meals and all materials. 6-7 p.m. Feb. 9-10. Locations in Tampa and Dunedin, call for details. Limited enrollment, registration required (727-866-6892 or

PROMOTE VEGETARIAN FOOD Food-service program Veg. Advantage will be hosting a free tasting of vegetarian products for food-service professionals. Open to the public. This free event will be Wed., Feb. 9. 3-4p.m. Reservations Recommended. Hyatt Regency Tampa, Buccaneer Room A, 211 N. Tampa St. (

CLASSIC CRACKER CUISINE: Explore classic Florida cracker cuisine based on Marjorie Rawlings' Cross Creek Cookery. You'll make Florida Backwoods biscuits, bacon-crusted catfish with cheesy grits, and Cross Creek orange cake. $45. Wed., Feb. 9. 6:30-9 p.m. La Maison Gourmet, 471 Main St., Dunedin (727-736-3070).

VEGETARIAN VALENTINES: Learn to prepare a sensuous vegetarian Valentine dinner in a class led by Debby DeGraaff. Free. Feb. 9. 7-8 p.m. & Feb. 10, 10-11 a.m. Nature's Harvest Market, 1021 N MacDill Ave., Tampa (813-873-7428).

CLASSES AT APRON'S Several indulgent classes are offered this month. Father/Daughter Valentine Class: $35 per pair. Wed., Feb. 9, 6 p.m. & Sun., Feb. 13, 1 p.m. Great Chefs Series: $40. Fri., Feb. 11, 6:30. Vintner's Tour Gourmet Tasting: $40. Sat., Feb. 12, 6:30 p.m. Romantic Rendezvous: $80 per couple. Sun., Feb. 13, 6 p.m. & Mon., Feb. 14, 7 p.m. Presidential Pastries: $40. Thurs., Feb. 10. 6:30 p.m. Reservations recommended. Publix at Shoppes of Citrus Park, 7835 Gunn Hwy., Tampa (813-926-4465 or EAT UP THE FUN Come out and help judge several cooking competitions at the 100th annual Florida State Fair. Categories include food preservation, Crisco(r) Pie, and Baking. Judging takes place Fri., Feb. 11. 11 a.m. Admission: $10 age 12 and older, $5 ages 6-11, free for age 5 and younger. 4800 U.S. 301 N., Tampa (1-800-345-FAIR or

CHOCOLATE FANTASY STROLL: Stroll through the alley shops by candlelight and enjoy treats in each shop during first Chocolate Fantasy Stroll. Free. Fri., Feb. 11. 6-8:30 p.m. Located at the shops along Antique Alley, 580-596 Indian Rocks Road, Belleair Bluffs (727-584-4799).

RED BARON PIZZA FAMILY FIESTA & KNIGHT PARADE Enjoy free pizza, street performers, rides and games before celebrating the annual 'Piratechnic' Extravaganza - an imaginary sea battle depicted by the largest fireworks display of the year. Free. Sat., Feb. 12. 2 p.m. Kennedy Boulevard and Florida Avenue, Downtown Tampa (813-248-3316).

DIA DE LOS ENAMORADOS Wine, dine, and woo your love in a romantic environment. The four-course dinner will feature quail in rose petal sauce & Chile relleno en nogada (vegetarian). The acclaimed Mexican film, Like Water for Chocolate, will be shown. $69.99 per couple. Mon., Feb. 14. 6-8 p.m. & 8:30-10:30 p.m. Reservations Recommended. Viva la Frida, 5901 N. Florida Ave., Tampa (813-231-9199 or

CALLING ALL CITRUS-LOVING CHEFS! The Sunkist Citrus Challenge invites amateur chefs across the country to infuse a favorite dish or create a new recipe featuring citrus. The three categories are: Quick & Easy, Entrée, and Citrus Cèlebré (a medley of multiple kinds). Recipes can be submitted until Feb. 15. Sunkist Citrus Challenge, 6500 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90048 or (323-866-6000).

COOKING DEMONSTRATION Tampa Bay Culinary Club will be hosting a demonstration by Chef Griffith Lohrman. Create mescaline salad with toasted cashews and roasted red peppers, pan-seared flounder romanesque with prosciutto and garlic butter, and mango crème brule. $5 per person. Accepting reservations until Feb. 19. Splash & Ocean Grill, 3973 Van Dyke Road, Lutz (813-269-8611).

FLAN FEST 2005 Think you have the best flan recipe? Then enter it to be judged in Ybor City's annual Fiesta Day, a unique celebration of Latin heritage and culture. Recipes are now being accepted. Festivities begin Feb. 26 and include complimentary Cuban bread, Spanish bean soup and café con leche. Judging will take place Feb. 28 (813-241-2442).

CHOCOLATE CRAZIES Join premier pastry chef Michael Baugh, make fabulous dessert creations you take home, and nibble on hors d'oeuvres while you learn. $40 per person. Baking 101: 5-8 p.m. each Tues. Chocolate Sculpture 101: 5-8 p.m. each Wed. 3805 S. West Shore Blvd., Tampa (813-837-6888 or

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