By PEGGY ANDERS, Times Staff Writer
Special events and food tastings
ITALIAN REGIONAL PAIRINGS: 6:30 p.m. reception, 7 p.m. dinner, today, Aldo's Italian, 3671 S West Shore Blvd., Tampa. Wine dinner pairs regional cuisine of Italy with rubello, barolo, and other wines from Frederick Wildman; $50, plus tax and gratuity. Call (813) 831-0694 to reserve.
PROFUSION AND PHELPS: 7 p.m. today, Profusion, 2223 N West Shore Blvd. (Bay Street at International Plaza), Tampa. Wine dinner pairs wines from California's Joseph Phelps winery with five-course menu that includes green tea smoked salmon, filet mignon Wellington-style; $65. (813) 353-8400 to RSVP.
JUST DESSERTS: 7-9 p.m. Fri., Florida Botanical Gardens entrance at 12211 Walsingham Road, Largo. Treats from Panera Bread, Pie Factory, Celebration Cakes and more, plus silent auction; $10, to benefit 4-H Foundation. Call (727) 582-2528.
TEA WITH BARBIE: 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Sat., Lobby Lounge of Ritz-Carlton, 1111 Ritz-Carlton Drive, Sarasota. Take your Barbie to tea for finger sandwiches and cookies, hot chocolate; $39 adults, $32 kids, includes goodie bag. Call (941) 309-2008 to reserve.
VEGETARIAN PICNIC: 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Sat., pavilion No. 6, Lake Seminole Park, 10015 Park Blvd., Seminole. Join Tampa Bay Vegetarians at catered picnic with Cuban cuisine and tai chi class; $10, $5 kids 12 and under. Call (727) 392-0268
CHEESE TASTING IN PARADISO: 4-6 p.m. Sun., Caffe Paradiso, 4205 MacDill Ave. S, Tampa. The "Ultimate wine and cheese tasting," prelude to annual Bacchus wine event, with fare from regions of Italy, talk on regions' cheeses by Carol Malzone; $35. Call Stephanie to reserve, (727) 712-2760
LAURENT-PERRIER LUXURY: 7 p.m. March 27, Roy's 4342 W Boy Scout Blvd., Tampa. Crab and cippolini ravioli, grilled lobster and mandarin orange inside-out roll, Asian duck breast roulade and sweet potato pave, meringue baskets with lemon curd are paired by chef Rand Packer with champagnes from Laurent-Perrier; $75. Call (813) 873-7697 to RSVP.
SEA GRAPES: 7-10 p.m. March 29, Florida Aquarium, 701 Channelside Drive, Tampa. Fine food and wines to sample at fundraiser to benefit the aquarium's education and veterinary programs; $50, $55 after March 26. Call (813) 273-4568 for tickets.
RENAISSANCE FARE: Renaissance Festival, Saturdays and Sundays through April 13, also April 4 and 11, at 400 Central Park Drive, Largo. Join the queen at high tea, with scones and finger sandwiches (RSVP at special events table), $9.95; sip wines at free tasting April 4-6, quaff beers at free ale tasting, 1 and 3 p.m. March 29-30. Festival admission, $14.95. Call (727) 586-5423, toll-free 1-800-779-4910; or www.renaissancefest.com.
Wine and beer tastings/classes
QUE SHIRAZ, SHIRAZ: 5:30-6:30 today, Oystercatchers Restaurant at Hyatt Westshore, 6200 Courtney Campbell Parkway, Tampa. All-shiraz tasting includes those from Barossa Valley, Rosemount Estate and Rosemount "Hill of Gold" shiraz, $10; tasting fee waived with each dinner purchased. Call (813) 207-6815.
GO GREEN: 6:30 p.m. today, Mattison's, An American Bistro, 111 Second Ave. N, St. Petersburg. Taste wines produced from organic vineyards, paired with hors d'oeuvres, $5. RSVP required, (727) 895-2200.
VIVA ESPANA!: 5:30-7:30 p.m. Fri., Got Wine and Cigars, 1006 Broadway (Alt. 19), Dunedin. Taste wines from Spain's Rioja and Ribera del Duero regions, from rich red to dry white wines, along with tapas at free tasting. Call (727) 736-4077.
AND THE WINNER IS . . .: 7 p.m. Fri., Vintage Wine Cellars, 3629 Henderson Blvd., Tampa. You choose the winners at wine tasting in categories such as Best White Grape in a Leading Role, $20, RSVP: (813) 879-2931.
RED AND WHITE, UNCORKED: 6:30 p.m. Fri., Uncorked Fine Wines and Accessories, 2706 Fourth St. N, St. Petersburg. Taste zinfandels and chardonnays, $10, includes souvenir glass; portion of proceeds benefit Cystic Fibrosis Foundation; (727) 892-9463.
SPRING FLING: 7:30-9:30 p.m. Fri., Eighth Avenue Fish House & Grille, 109 Eighth Ave., St. Pete Beach. Tampa Bay Wine Brats hosts tasting of 18 wines, plus treats such as bruschetta of filet mignon, seared tuna, raw bar, Korean green wraps, escargot Pass-a-Grille; $20 in advance. Visit http://tampa.winebrats.org or call the Brats hotline at (813) 740-2728.
A TASTE FOR WINE: A Taste for Wine, 241 Central Ave., St. Petersburg offers "Women in Wine," a tasting from wineries run by women, 6-8 p.m. Sat., $18; or Tobin James tasting, 6-8 p.m. Tue., $12. Call (727) 895-1623 to RSVP.
GRAPEVINE WINE FESTIVAL: 6-9 p.m. Sat., Club at Aston Gardens at Tampa Bay, 12951 W Linebaugh Ave., Tampa. Grapevine's wine festival offers nearly 100 wines to try, foods to sample, entertainment; $25, benefits Children's Home. Call (813) 818-9463.
SAUVIGNON TO SYRAH: 1-4 p.m. Sat., Got Wine and Cigars at Oldsmar Market, Racetrack and Tampa roads, Oldsmar. Got Wine's second location features cabernet sauvignon from Chile, syrah from California at free tasting; (727) 421-7252.
BIG TASTES: 5:30-8 p.m. Tue., Mystic Fish, 3253 Tampa Road, Palm Harbor. Free wine tasting with Bonny Doon's Big House Red, Rosemount's Hill of Gold from Australia and Pepperwood pinot noir; (727) 771-1800.
RIESLING TO MERLOT: 5:30-6:30 p.m. March 26, Armani's (at Hyatt Regency Westshore), 6200 Courtney Campbell Parkway, Tampa. Taste Snoqualmi riesling, Villa Mt. Eden Grand Reserve pinot noir and more, $10; stay for dinner and tasting fee is waived. Call (813) 207-6800.
BETTER BROWN RICE: 7 p.m. today, 10 a.m. Thur., Nature's Harvest Market, 1021 N MacDill Ave., Tampa. Debby DeGraaff cooks with brown rice in free vegetarian class; (813) 873-7428.
HEART SMART COOKERY: 4-6:30 p.m. Thur., La Maison Gourmet, 471 Main St., Dunedin. Learn in hands-on class how dishes such as seared tuna over mandarin orange pico do gallo, filet of beef with brandy sauce and chocolate brownies can be part of a heart-healthy diet; $10, includes full meal and recipes. Call (727) 736-3070 to RSVP.
LIL' CHEFS DO LUNCH: 2-3:30 p.m. Sat., La Maison Gourmet, 471 Main St., Dunedin. Kids ages 4-7 learn to create homemade bread sticks, ravioli with marinara sauce, chocolate chip cookies; $25. Call (727) 736-3070 to RSVP.
OYSTERCATCHERS CLASS: noon Sat., Oystercatchers Restaurant at Hyatt Westshore, 6200 Courtney Campbell Parkway, Tampa. Learn to make Oystercatchers menu favorites; chef Thomas McKinney leads class from preparation to presentation of three-course meal; $50. Call (813) 207-6815.
COOKING AT APRON'S: Apron's Cooking School, Publix Supermarket at Shoppes of Citrus Park, 7835 Gunn Highway, Tampa, welcomes seafood expert Jay Harlow, with easy recipes that include pan-roasted halibut with dried mushroom crust and scallops, salmon and asparagus on potato crepes; 6:30 p.m. Sat., $40; or spring party hors d'oeuvres class makes grilled veggie potstickers, chutney glazed lamb chops, more, 6:30 p.m. Tue., $35. Call (813) 926-4465 to RSVP.
QUICHES AND TARTS: 1-3:30 p.m. Tue., Ladyfingers Fine Pastries and More, 3347 Tampa Road, Palm Harbor. Pastry chef Daniel Delort and chef Gui lead hands-on workshop on making quiches and fruit tarts; $35, includes taking pastry creations home. RSVP: (727) 789-8986.
LEAN LENTILS: 7 p.m. March 26, 10 a.m. March 27, Nature's Harvest Market, 1021 N MacDill Ave., Tampa. Free vegetarian class shows how to use lentils in healthful dishes. (813) 873-7428.
SWEET FAVORS: Honey Bee Shop, 11144 N 30th St., Tampa. Make bridal and baby shower favors that hold chocolates, nuts and conversation hearts; 7-9 p.m. March 26, 1-3 p.m. March 29; each class $16.05. Registration required, call (813) 971-7599.
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