On day four of her Christmas gift guide, best-selling author Ruth Reichl recommends Kentucky sorghum syrup as a gift for serious cooks.
Reichl, the former editor in chief of Gourmet Magazine, restaurant critic for The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times, writes on her blog, Ruthreichl.com: "I had my first taste of this American classic last winter in Kentucky, and found myself so fascinated I came home laden with jars of the stuff. At first I was just looking for an organic ingredient to replace the nasty corn syrup that goes into recipes like hot fudge and pecan pie, but once I began tasting the syrups made by different producers, I was hooked. True sorghum is an artisanal product with a distinct taste of terroir and it changes enormously from one producer to the next.
Reichl touts Lexingtonian Rona Roberts' book, Sweet, Sweet Sorghum, as a good source of both information and recipes. Go to Savoringkentucky.com.
Reichl said she's a fan of the sorghum made by the Holbrook Brothers in West Liberty, and she also recommends Townsend Sorghum Mill of Jeffersonville and sorghum from Bourbon Barrel Foods of Louisville. Go to Townsendsorghum.com and Bourbonbarrelfoods.com. Holbrook Brothers doesn't have a website.
Winery holds open house
Grimes Mill Winery, 6707 Grimes Mill Road, is having a Christmas Open House from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday. A flute trio will entertain from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. in the tasting room. There will be hors d'oeuvres and special prices on wines. Call (859) 543-9691 or go to Grimesmillwinery.com.
State parks for New Year
Kentucky's state resort parks are ideal places to ring in the New Year. Most offer lodging packages where you can relax by a fireplace, hike nature trails, dine on prime rib, enjoy live entertainment, and dance into 2013.
Here are resorts that are celebrating the New Year. Go to Parks.ky.gov.
■ Barren River Lake at Lucas will offer a prime rib buffet in the Driftwood Restaurant and dancing to music provided by DJ Cindy Cossey. Call 1-800-325-0057.
■ Blue Licks Battlefield at Mount Olivet will present a night of comedy with Louisville stand-up comedian Mike Nilsson. Dinner and show are $55 a couple. Call 1-800-443-7008.
■ Buckhorn Lake at Buckhorn will serve special plated dinners from 5 to 8 p.m. in the dining room. Cost is $25 a person. Outdoor activities also are offered. Call 1-800-325-0058.
■ Cumberland Falls at Corbin will have its annual New Year's Eve Bash from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. Dance music will be played by DJ Jeff Petrey of Radio Active Sounds. On New Year's Day, the park will participate in a national event, First Day Hikes, which is aimed at promoting healthy lifestyles at America's state parks. Contact Pam Gibson at Pamela.Gibson@ky.gov.
■ Dale Hollow Lake at Burkesville will offer entertainment by the Klassyc Times Band with tunes from Motown, classic rock, the blues and top 40. A dinner and dance package is available for $84.95 a couple or $25 a person for the dance only. Call 1-800-325-2282.
■ General Butler at Carrollton will offer a candlelight dinner at Two Rivers Restaurant. The buffet dinner is $19.95 a person. Call 1-866-462-8853.
■ The Friends of Greenbo Lake at the resort in Greenup will host a celebration at 8 p.m. Advance tickets are $30, or $50 a couple. Call Deloris Bentley at (606) 922-3545 or Bobby Allen at (606) 923-8800.
■ Jenny Wiley at Prestonsburg, will present The Golden Gals' Holiday Mystery Party entitled "The Curse of Jessica Fletcher" on Dec. 28-29. A buffet dinner and show is $35 a person and group rates are available. Call 1-800-325-0142.
■ Kenlake at Aurora will ring in the New Year with the Sounds of Motown. An overnight package for two, for $149.95, includes a room at the lodge, dance, dinner, and a breakfast buffet. Call 1-800-325-0143.
■ Kentucky Dam Village at Gilbertsville will have a special dinner in the Harbor Lights Restaurant, featuring filet mignon and lobster tail. Cost is $39.99 for two. Call 1-800-325-0146.
■ Lake Barkley in Cadiz will hold a Barkley Bash dance and breakfast buffet. The Nashville band Top Tier will entertain. Call (270) 924-1131 or email email@example.com.
■ Lake Cumberland at Jamestown will host a dance featuring The Phoenix Band and serve a roast beef and crab leg dinner buffet. Cost is $22.95. The dance is $30 a couple. Call (270) 343-3111.
■ Pennyrile Forest at Dawson Springs will serve a buffet dinner and continental breakfast. Call 1-800-325-1711.
■ Pine Mountain at Pineville will have a Mountain Bash classic dance party featuring favorites from the '70s, '80s, '90s, and 2000s. A buffet and New Year's Day brunch is available. Call 1- 800-325-1712.
■ Rough River Dam at Falls of Rough will serve a prime rib dinner buffet, and live entertainment will be provided by Starr Mountain Band. A breakfast buffet also is available. Call (270) 257-2311 or 1-800-325-1713.