Food & Drink

Sharon Thompson: Wine festival includes tours, tastings, dinner with celebrity vintners

A wine country bus tour, wine tastings and a wine school are part of the annual Kentucky Wine & Vine Fest on Friday and Saturday in Nicholasville.

The bus tour will go to Talon Winery in Fayette County and Acres of Land in Madison County for a look at the wine-making process. The all-day tour leaves Nicholasville at 9:30 a.m. Friday. Tickets are $65.

The Wine & Dine Gala on Friday will feature celebrity vintners Jeff Faber of California's Opolo Vineyards and Chris Nelson from Chrisman Mill Winery in Jessamine County. The party begins at 6:30 p.m. Twelve wine tastings will be held under the big tent downtown on York Street.

South Van Catering will prepare the food for the cocktail supper. The menu includes sliced Alltech tenderloin of beef; blackened chicken quesadillas; spinach, chipotle and artichoke bake; potato and onion tartlet; smoked pork barbecue on mini corn cakes; mini cheesecake lollipops; mini apple lattice tarts, and bourbon walnut tarts.

Tickets are $45 a person or $80 a couple, and are available at Euro Wine Bar, 102 South Main Street, Nicholasville. Call (859) 885-3139.

On Saturday, the Wine & Vine Fest will feature Kentucky wineries, Kentucky Proud food, arts and crafts, a grape stomp, a wine school ($25) and the Run For the Merlot. Wine tents will be open from noon to 7 p.m., and admission is $20. Craft vendor booths open at 10 a.m. Tickets are available at Call (859) 881-3820.

Follow the food on foot

The Bleu Plate Tours are back, and a location has been added. These guided culinary tours provide a sampling of Lexington's independent restaurants in downtown neighborhoods, along with a dash of history and culture.

New this season is the Jefferson Street walking food tour, which takes place at 2 p.m. Sundays through October.

The downtown tour covers the Main Street area and historic districts such as Cheapside and Gratz Park and is at 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Saturdays.

Tours are $43, and advance registration is required. Each tour group is limited to 16 people and meets near East Main Street and Martin Luther King Boulevard. Go to or contact tour operator Laura Mize at

Mize also offers Bleu Plate Confidential, a dinner at an unconventional location such as a warehouse, office building or other place where you would not expect to enjoy a fine dining experience, she said.

The meal, themed to match the location, is prepared by a local chef. Guests have no idea where the dinner will be until a few days beforehand, when they receive an address and passwords to gain entry to the event, she said. Tickets are $85, with optional wine pairings for $15. The next Bleu Plate Confidential is Saturday.

Cooking with an Egg

Ashley Minton, owner of Nova Gourmets, will teach a series of cooking classes at Housewarmings, 2312 Palumbo Drive. She will show how to grill and bake on the Big Green Egg, a ceramic grill. Classes start at 6:15 p.m. Call (859) 231-0005. Here's the lineup:

■ May 19: How to use planks for grilling vegetables, $40.

■ June 2: Baking and slow cooking, $45.

■ June 16: How to use a baking stone and make desserts, $50.

■ June 30: Using a brine, $40.

Meet the author

Maggie Green will autograph copies of her new The Kentucky Fresh Cookbook at 7 p.m. Thursday at Joseph-Beth Booksellers at The Mall at Lexington Green.

Annual asparagus homage

Each spring the small town of May's Lick celebrates asparagus. Known as the "asparagus bed" of Mason County, the community will hold its annual Asparagus Festival and Art Show from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. May 21.

The Taste of May's Lick features asparagus recipes from local cooks for dishes such as grilled asparagus, deep fried asparagus, asparagus fritters, pickled asparagus, asparagus soup, and asparagus ice cream. Local farmers will sell fresh asparagus and asparagus crowns (roots) to grow your own.

All of the art in the show at the historic Presbyterian Church is asparagus themed.

May's Lick is 10 miles south of Maysville at U.S. 68 and Ky. 324. Go to or call Jennifer Gleason at (606) 763-6827.