Food & Drink

Champagne and classic cassoulet 'kicks off' holiday season at Holly Hill

It's a seasonal French tradition, and now a Kentucky one, too. Holly Hill Inn, 426 North Winter Street in Midway, will hold its seventh annual Classic Cassoulet dinner Nov. 16.

"For me, the cracking of the cassoulet crust and toasting French chef Prosper Montagne ... with a glass of champagne is the kickoff to our holiday season," Chef Ouita Michel said. "We start with cassoulet just before Thanksgiving, and finish with the Epiphany Feast on Twelfth Night in January."

Chef Ouita's version of cassoulet is as traditional as possible, using white beans, confit of duck, fresh-cured local pork, local lamb and garlic sausage.

Cassoulet celebrations begin with oysters on the half shell and a glass of bubbly, which will be offered à la carte. The dinner menu includes capriole goat cheese bites in pastry, local lettuces salad with Champagne vinaigrette, cassoulet or vegetarian cassoulet, and Apple Beggar's Purse by Midway School Bakery.

Owner and sommelier Chris Michel and Wine Guildmaster Steve Mancuso will be offering French wines from the Languedoc Region by the glass and bottle; a special wine flight will be available. Live music will be by Stirfry Musette.

Doors open at 6:30 p.m.; dinner begins at 7 p.m. Cost is $45, plus beverage, tax and gratuity. Reservations required. Call (859) 846-4732.

■ Author Fred Minnick will discuss the essential role women played in the invention of beer and distillation Wednesday. In his award-winning book Whiskey Women: The Untold Story of How Women Saved Bourbon, Scotch, and Irish Whiskey, Minnick dispels the masculine myths that whiskey is a man's drink. He will sign copies of his book and speak at the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment today, from noon to 1 p.m. in the Cameron Williams Lecture Hall in the Plant Science Building.

■ This month's soups at Bakery Blessings and Bookstore @ the Bar, 1999 Harrodsburg Road, are white chili and potato soup along with vegetable beef. The bakery also is taking orders for Thanksgiving pies. Call or email Jan at (859) 554-6044 or

Keeneland plays a starring role on the Food Network show Southern at Heart as Chef Damaris Phillips and friends enjoy a "Picnic Day at the Races." The show, which debuted Sunday, will air again today at 5:30 p.m.

In the episode, filmed at Keeneland during the recent fall meet, the winner of Food Network Star Season 9, "shows off her unique take on traditional Southern picnic fare with her bourbon-brined fried chicken, braised red cabbage and a decadent wine-infused white mac and cheese. It's all packed up and taken to the track, where it's time to eat, party and watch the horse races."

■ The Evan Williams Bourbon Experience in Louisville has been recognized as the 2014 recipient of the Main Street Association's annual Hats Off Award, in celebration of its commitment to Main Street revitalization, tourism, and historic preservation. The award comes during Evan Williams' one-year anniversary celebration this week. The visitor's center is offering tour specials including a free nosing glass for every guest, door prizes, refreshments, special tastings, events, and the release of a commemorative first anniversary 2005 Evan Williams Single Barrel Vintage Bourbon.

■ Another Thanksgiving option: Ramsey's wants you to leave the cooking to them. They are offering a heat 'n' eat special for six or more, at $19.95 per person featuring: sliced turkey breast with gravy, corn bread stuffing, fresh cranberry sauce, dinner rolls and four vegetable sides. Individual vegetable sides available for $17 each, serves six. Call 252-7926 to place an order, no later than Nov. 24.