At the end of March when the weather is nice, it's a great time to plan a visit to Central Kentucky wineries. And at the same time you can help McConnell Springs with its restoration and preservation programs.
Friends of McConnell Springs will hold its sixth annual Wine Barrel Tasting tour on March 30. Seventeen wineries, all within an hour's drive of Lexington, will be open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. offering samples of wine in its final stages before actual bottling and release of the finished product.
Each tasting will give participants the chance to experience up-and-coming wines and an opportunity to discuss the soon- to-be- released samples. Each winery also will have its tasting rooms open for regular tastings of their released wines.
Tickets are $20 and may be purchased at any winery. Participants will receive a wristband entitling them to one free barrel tasting at each winery visited that day. There will be a limited number of commemorative McConnell Springs wine glasses. Call Annette Mathy at (859) 272-0682 or go to Mcconnellsprings.org.
Participating wineries are:
■ Acres of Land, 2285 Barnes Mill Road, Richmond. (859) 328-3000, Acresoflandwinery.com.
■ Black Barn, 4200 Newtown Pike, Lexington.(859) 552-2525, Blackbarnwinery.com.
■ Chrisman Mill, 2385 Chrisman Mill Road, Nicholasville. (859) 881-5007, Chrismanmill.com.
■ Chuckleberry, 527 Garrison Lane, Bloomfield. (502) 249-1051, Chuckleberryfarm.com.
■ Elk Creek, 150 Ky. 330, Owenton. (502) 484-0005, Elkcreekvineyards.com.
■ Equus Run, 1280 Moore's Mill Road, Midway. (859) 846-9463, Equusrunvineyards.com.
■ First Vineyard, 5800 Sugar Creek Pike, Nicholasville. (859) 885-9359, Firstvineyard.net.
■ Grimes Mill, 6707 Grimes Mill Road, Lexington. (859) 543-9691, Grimesmillwinery.com.
■ Harkness Edwards, 5199 Combs Ferry Road, Winchester. (859) 527-3584, Harknessedwardsvineyards.com.
■ Horseshoe Bend, 1187 Lawson Lane, Willisburg. (859) 375-0296, Horseshoebend-ky.com.
■ Jean Farris, 6825 Old Richmond Road, Lexington. (859) 263-9463, Jeanfarris.com.
■ Lovers Leap, 1180 Lanes Mill Road, Lawrenceburg. (502) 839-1299, Loversleapwine.com.
■ McIntyre's, 531 McIntyre Lane, Bardstown. (502) 507-3264, Mcintyreswinery.com.
■ Prodigy, 3445 Versailles Road, Frankfort. (502) 352-9400, Prodigyvineyards.com.
■ Springhill, 3205 Springfield Road, Bloomfield. (502) 252-9463, Springhillwinery.com.
■ Talon, 7086 Tates Creek Road, Lexington. (859) 971-3214, Talonwine.com.
■ Wildside, 5500 Troy Pike, Versailles. (859) 321-5046, Wildsidewinery.com.
Cook up a cookbook
The Lisa Ekus Group, a culinary agency, just might be the key to fulfilling your dream of writing a cookbook. You may pitch your best culinary non-fiction idea on Twitter from Monday through Wednesday.
On March 14, 16 finalists will be chosen to participate in the playoffs, and entries will be whittled down in subsequent days. Two finalists will join literary agent Sally Ekus in a Twitter chat on March 25 to discuss their ideas and ask questions about agency representation and cookbook publishing. A winner will be chosen to work with Ekus to develop a proposal to pitch to editors at publishing houses. Rules are at Bit.ly/125SgAj.
For fans of 'The Taste'
Williams-Sonoma at Fayette Mall, 3473 Nicholasville Road, offers complimentary technique classes each month. On Sunday, cooks may learn about how to add flavor to cooking with fresh herbs, and on March 24, the class topic is how to poach the perfect egg.
On Saturday, the staff will re-create one of the dishes from The Taste, the ABC show that airs at 9 p.m. Tuesdays. Culinary superstars Anthony Bourdain, Nigella Lawson, Ludo Lefebvre and Brian Malarkey mentor a team of pro and amateur cooks on the show. Call (859) 272-5856.
Manischewitz for Passover
The eight-day Passover observance begins the evening of March 25. It's both a holy time and a celebratory one for Jewish people who adhere to dietary laws during this time. Manischewitz is introducing more products suitable for Passover meals. Several feature the Manischewitz health and wellness icon which communicates the healthier attributes of the products such as being all-natural and an excellent source of fiber; low sodium; no MSG; sulfite-free; and no artificial preservatives or ingredients.
New products include: organic matzos; red velvet macaroons; gluten-free matzo-style squares and crackers; almond butter spread; Guiltless Gourmet coconut water, exotic root chips, flaxseed crunch bars; Magic Max chocolate chip cookie cereal; dark chocolate covered potato chips; macaroon dough and milk chocolate almond butter cups. Go to Manischewitz.com.
National Beef Cook-Off
The 30th National Beef Cook-Off is looking for healthy recipes from home cooks and offering a $25,000 grand prize.
Submit your best beef recipes at Beefcookoff.org through April 15. Entrants are asked to develop original and tasty beef-focused recipes that include broadly appealing ingredients from the fruit and vegetable, grain products and dairy products groups. Categories are:
■ Belt-tightening beef recipes that include a maximum of nine ingredients including beef, and flavorful, low-cost ingredients from the fruits or vegetables, grain products and dairy products food groups.
■ Semi-homemade beef recipes should include a maximum of six ingredients, combining any fresh beef cut and fresh ingredients with prepackaged food products, and be prepared and cooked in 30 minutes or less.
■ Real world, real simple beef and potato recipes that are easy-to-make and include lean beef and fresh potatoes. Recipes should be prepared in no more than 15 minutes and cooked in 30 minutes.
■ Craveable fresh beef and fresh California avocado recipes must include no more than eight ingredients, including the beef and avocado, along with at least one other ingredient from the fruits or vegetables, grain products or dairy products food groups, and be prepared and cooked in 30 minutes or less.
Sharon Thompson: (859) 231-3321. Twitter: @FlavorsofKY. Blog: Flavorsofkentucky.bloginky.com