A history of candy, a celebration of pinot noir, a conference on sustainable meat, and more.
Jenny Lewis, proprietor of Sweet Chicago Tours, presents Chicago’s Dandy Candy History, a talk on the the city’s candy-making past sponsored by the Culinary Historians of Chicago. Lewis's topics include the first chocolate enrobing machine, unveiled at the 1893 Columbian Exposition, the American debut of licorice here in Chicago. There'll be samples. RSVP to
About 150 exhibitors set up shop at the Great American Cooking Expo, where admission gets you access to their food and drink samples, recipes, coupons, and more. Chef demos include two talks on brewing coffee by Mike Ebert of Milwaukee-based Alterra Coffee (Sat 11:30 AM, Sun 4:30 PM) and holiday cooking tips from Whole Foods chef Jason Handleman (Sat 1:30 PM). Beer and wine samples are available with the purchase of a $2 wristband. Through Sunday. 11 AM-5:30 PM, Arlington Park Racetrack, 2200 W. Euclid, Arlington Heights, $15, $10 advance per day, free for kids under 13.
More than 60 domestic wine producers offer samples of 300-some varieties of pinot noir at the Grand Festival during the weeklong celebration Pinot Days. Winemakers will be on hand to discuss the craft, and local purveyors pass out food to pair with the wine. Affiliated events throughout the week include wine dinners at Uncommon Ground and Province; see the pinotdays.com for more details. 1-5 PM, Navy Pier, Exhibit Hall B, 600 E. Grand Avenue, 415-382-8663, $50.
Local libation experts Meg Bell (Koval Distillery), Paul McGee (The Whistler), and Adam Seger (Hum Botanical Spirit) mix cocktails and share recipes at a holiday-oriented fall spirits tasting. 6:30-8:30 PM, Provenance Food and Wine, 2528 N. California, 773-384-0699.
The inaugural State of the Plate conference aims to create a wide-ranging public conversation—from producer to consumer—on creating a sustainable regional food supply. This year’s conference focuses specifically on meat: a roundtable discussion includes Niman Ranch president Paul Willis and Kendall College culinary school president Chris Koetke (10:30 AM); a meet-the-producers event showcases reps from Dietzler Farms and Organic Prairie (12:30 PM); and a 3 PM reception and tasting provides attendees with samples of what they’ve been discussing. The day begins and ends with presentations by Robert Kenner, who wrote and directed the documentary Food, Inc., which screens at 4:30 PM. Events before 3 PM are at Harold Washington Library Center (400 S. State), then move across the street to Robert Morris University (401 S. State). 8 AM-6:30 PM, 312-787-1096.
Moonshine chef Matt Wilde pairs four courses with brewmaster Bob Kitrell’s beers at a brewer’s dinner that includes dishes like grilled salmon with wild mushroom risotto, baby spinach, and Brie (paired with a pale ale) and pan-roasted pheasant with chorizo bread pudding, raisins, and leeks (with Moonshine’s harvest ale). Tickets are $35 ($30 in advance); a $45 ($40 in advance) "brewers package" includes a 64-ounce growler to take home. 6:30 PM, Moonshine Brewing Company, 1824 W. Division, 773-862-8686, $30-$45.