Friday Foodstuffs 12.2.11: Christmas in Cape May

Why do people love Cape May so much? I could rattle off a bunch of things, but let me just say this: it’s during the holiday season that you really begin to appreciate this little town. It’s a shore town, but in December it becomes a truly Victorian wonderland.

There’s also quite a bit of good eating and drinking to be enjoyed.

Let’s start off with the Kick Off the Holiday Season dinner at The Mad Batter on December 9. It’s a five-course meal with a special wine pairing with each course. The cost is $75 a person.

Cape May Winery is a busy place during the holidays. They hold regular Cellar Tour and Tastings in December for $20 a person. The winery is also part of the Cape May Wine Weekend in December, and sparkling wine is the theme.

Other area wineries are active during the holiday season. Hawk Haven and Natali will be your stops on the Cape May Wine Trail taking place on December 30.

For you food enthusiasts out there, the holidays in Cape May also bring another edition of their very popular Chefs’ Dine Around event. The dine around is $125 a person, and seating is very limited – so don’t wait!

For the kiddies, how about breakfast with The Big Guy? The Inn of Cape May has that for you on December 3 and 10 for $10 a kid and $15 for the adults that have to tag along.

Santa will also be having breakfast with the little ones at Congress Hall on Saturdays and Sundays through December 18. After that, he really has to get back to the North Pole and get everything ready for the big night.

Congress Hall will also be serving up the hot stuff during December, as in hot chocolate. There will be a special hot chocolate bar on Saturdays and Sundays starting at 9AM.

And if you are looking for dinner on Christmas Day, The Blue Pig at Congress Hall will have a three-course meal from 1PM to 7PM.

While you digest all of that, here is what’s going on this weekend:

For tonight, you have the Holiday Dinner and Gingerbread Showcase at Seaview Resort in Galloway and the Harvest of Spirits Wine Tasting at Trinity Episcopal Church on Wood Street in Vineland. The wine tasting is from 7PM to 10PM and costs $30 per person.

Saturday is the start of Reily’s Candy in Medford’s holiday tours. Tours run from 11AM to 3PM. Also on Saturday you can see a demo from Stacy Adimando, author of The Cookiepedia: Mixing, Baking and Reinventing the Classics at the Toms River Branch of the Ocean County Library starting at 2PM. Call to reserve a spot.

Saturday night is Renault Winery’s annual Sounds of the Season dinner and music event. The festivities begin at 6:30PM, and the cost is $69.95 per person. Or, you could sample some holiday wine pairings at Vintage at The Water Club at Borgata in Atlantic City.

On Sunday, enjoy the annual Holiday Tea that will be served at Peachfield in  Westampton from 2PM to 4PM. To keep it English, there will be a Country Fish Pie Dinner at The British Chip Shop in Haddonfield from 5PM to 8PM.

Angels of God Clothing Closet in Pitman will be having a gingerbread house decorating fundraiser on Sunday, with sessions at 11AM and 1PM. Also on Sunday: if you’re feeling like getting your hands a bit dirty, or in this case sandy, volunteers are needed to plant beach plums in Ocean City.

And peeking ahead to Monday, it’s The Epicurean Society of Southern New Jersey Dining Event at Redding’s in Atlantic City, and the annual Great Cookie Exchange at Cape May Elementary School.

Here’s your cooking class schedule for the weekend:

Tonight: Date Night: In Sicily at Viking Cooking School at Harrah’s Resort in Atlantic City and Fun with Fondue! at Kitchen Kapers in Moorestown.

Tomorrow: Gingerbread House Decorating: a Mommy and Me Class and Holiday Feast! at Kitchen Kapers, Holiday Tea at The Culinary Arts Center at Burlington County College in Mount Holly, Steakhouse Workshop at Viking Cooking School, and Date Night at In The Kitchen Cooking School in Haddonfield. Saturday is also the start of a three-part class of Thomas Keller’s Home Cooking at Sur La Table in Marlton.

Sunday: Gingerbread House Workshop at Viking Cooking School at two different times (11AM and 2PM), Kids in the Kitchen – Winter Themed Cupcake Decorating and Baking with Santa! at Kitchen Kapers, and Italian Dinner Party at Viking Cooking School.

Blogging Out Hunger

West Deptford is currently holding its annual food and toy drive. And West Deptford Patch is having a special food drive tonight.

East Lynne Theater is also collecting food, helping out Cape May Food Closet. A donation will get you $3 off their December 9 performance.

The Community FoodBank of New Jersey got a $900,000 cash injection from the state. This was the biggest chunk of the $1.3 million that went to regional food banks.

The AC Marathon was able to donate $2,200 to the Jewish Family Services food bank.

Nice effort by the Cub Scouts in Glassboro, who collected over 1,000 cans and other items in their food drive.

Not to leave the Girl Scouts out: one scout in Barnegat decided to start a food bank…for pets.

And wow…just wow: Venice Italian Eatery in Pitman served 1,000 free Thanksgiving meals. Awesome!

And in the news this week…

Interesting read in the Asbury Park Press about the new young farmers in New Jersey.

The first Quaker Steak & Lube in Jersey is going to open in Brick. Make of this whatever you wish.

West Cape May decides to postpone selling a liquor license to a restaurant.

Get your sammich-making skills on, because Landis MarketPlace is having a little competition.

They didn’t have this stuff hen I was in high school: an Iron Chef-like competition at Southern Regional.

Too soon to think about Thanksgiving for next year? Well, if you want a free-range turkey raised here in South Jersey, you might need to place your order soon.

And congrats to Cape May Brewing, who had their official opening of their new tasting room this week. Beer-Stained Letter was there to cover the event.

Have a great weekend!

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