New Foodie Ideas For The New Year

Chance Bear will participate in the Jan. 23 Chef Challenge Syracuse at the Lincklaen House, Cazenovia. Michael Davis photo

That resolution you made a couple weeks ago to savor some new experiences in the year ahead? Don’t break it. Stick with it! Here are some local food- and adult beverage-related ideas.

Wine Camp at Liquor City. This Thursday-evening series of informal, educational wine seminars begins this week at the tasting room of Liquor City, 6793 E. Genesee St., Fayetteville. The Jan. 18 session at 6:30 p.m. will feature wines from the Bordeaux region of France, plus a speaker. The Jan. 25 event will introduce participants to some new items at Liquor City and the Feb. 1 seminar will explore wines to have on hand in case you get snowed in (or invaded by zombies).

The cost is free, unless you decide to buy some wine. Call (315) 449-1818 or visit to stay up-to-date on the schedule of events.

Cupping classes at Recess Coffee headquarters. If you love coffee and want to know more about aromas and flavor profiles, one of the best ways to do so is through a tasting and evaluation process called a cupping. It’s sort of like a wine tasting, only with coffee instead.

The first class takes place Thursday, Jan. 25, 6 to 7:30 p.m., at the Recess Coffee roasting facility, 114 Boss Road, DeWitt, near Carrier Circle. Meet Recess head roaster Graham Reynolds, sample a slew of Recess coffee varieties, snack on finger foods and homemade baked goods and go home with a pound of your favorite coffee. Cool beans!

The cost is $40 (cash only), and reservations are required. Email [email protected] with any dietary restrictions or preferences. For information, visit

Chef Challenge Syracuse, various locations. Chef Challenge Syracuse is an ongoing traveling dinner event created by Joshua Rhoades and his team at Pragmatic and Fresh Business Solutions. Their goal: Spotlight talented chefs and put Syracuse and Central New York on the map as a foodie destination.

Rhoades and company bring a “mystery box’’ of pasture-raised meat and organic produce from Grindstone Farm, Pulaski, to local restaurants. Chefs have limited time to create a four-course meal, which is enjoyed by 15 to 25 adventurous guests. To get an idea of what Chef Challenge Syracuse is about, check out the video at

The next event takes place Tuesday, Jan. 23, 4:30 to 8 p.m., at the Lincklaen House, 79 Albany St., Cazenovia. Guests can watch Chef Chance Bear and his team prep and cook from 4:30 to 5:45 p.m. The first course will be served at approximately at 5:45 p.m.

The cost is $55 per person; a limited number of tickets are available. For information, email [email protected], call or text (315) 641-9393 or visit

Farm to Fork 101, various locations. This dinner series was founded by Mark Pawliw with the goal of connecting local farmers and diners and encouraging people to eat and cook locally. The first 2018 event will be held Monday, Jan. 22, 6 to 9 p.m., at the Sherwood Inn, 26 W. Genesee St., Skaneateles.

Sherwood executive chef Dan Hudson will collaborate on a hearty four-course “Cabin Fever” menu with chefs DeAnna Germano and Mark Ross Germano of Cocaire at the Wayside Pub, Elbridge. The fifth course, dessert, will be prepared by master baker Yemen Tounsi, of The Stoop Kitchen and the Stoop Bakery Cafe in Syracuse.

The cost is $55 per person. For tickets, go to For information, visit or

Brew your own beer at IBU Teaching Brewery. If you have ever thought about brewing beer at home, it’s the best of both worlds. Participants make beer with assistance from a professional brewer, so there is no equipment to purchase and no mess to clean up.

Register online and book two sessions, one to brew your choice of beer (from one of IBU’s recipes) and another two weeks later to bottle the beer and take it home. You leave with approximately four cases of beer. Salud!

Classes start Feb. 7. The cost runs $300 and up. IBU is at 3703 Brewerton Road, North Syracuse. For information and to register, go to

Learn to cook Italian food at Vince’s Gourmet Imports. Indulge your love of Italian food and pick up new kitchen skills and recipes to try at home at one of numerous ongoing cooking classes offered at Vince’s, 440 S. Main St., North Syracuse. Upcoming classes include homemade arancini (stuffed rice balls) on Jan. 21; caponata appetizer and braciole main course, Jan. 23; ravioli from scratch, Jan. 24; and lasagna Bolognese, Jan. 31. Some classes, like the braciole session, include a meal.

The cost varies depending on the class. For a class schedule, visit To schedule a private class, call (315) 452-1000.

Explore the Sip on Syracuse Beverage Trail. If you like wine and/or beer, you’ve probably toured the wine and beer trails in the nearby Finger Lakes region. Last month, a new adult beverage trail debuted right in our own back yard: the Sip on Syracuse beverage trail, a project of the Syracuse Convention and Visitors Bureau.

As of now, there are 27 stops on the trail, including 13 breweries, five wineries, two distilleries, seven pubs and a cidery. Pick up an SOS “passport” at any location on the trail and add a sticker at each stop you make. Collect eight stickers and earn some swag (a koozie). Complete the entire passport to be entered in a drawing to win a free beverage tour at six stops on the trail with a group of your friends.

For information, go to

Margaret McCormick is a freelance writer and editor in Syracuse. She blogs about food at Follow her on Twitter, connect on Facebook or email her at [email protected].


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