A TASTE OF AFRICA: 6:30 p.m. Thur., Six Tables, Peninsula Inn and Spa, 2937 Beach Blvd., Gulfport. Chef Tommy Sapp's Taste of the Nations wine dinner pairs African cuisine with wines from South Africa; menu includes tartar of beef tenderloin, peanut "groundnut" crusted snapper with coconut grit cakes, Ethiopian coffee bean brulee; $85, plus tax and gratuity. Call (727) 346-9800 to RSVP.
SUSHI SHOWDOWN: 7-9 p.m. Thur., Florida Aquarium, 701 Channelside Drive, Tampa. Local sushi chefs compete in "Sushi Showdown"; sample sushi and Asian cuisine, try sake and Japanese beer; plus sushi-rolling classes, live entertainment; $55. Call (813) 367-4016 or (813) 273-4568.
TAMPA BAY CULINARY CLUB: noon Sat., Belly Timbers Grill, 29000 U.S. 19 N, Clearwater. Executive chef Eric Lackey prepares a signature dish for sampling by members and guests of the Tampa Bay Culinary Club; $10. RSVP required, Call Jeanne at (727) 789-2605 to attend.
BARTENDING BASICS: 6-7:30 p.m. Mon. and Aug. 25, Ca' d'Zan Bar, Ritz-Carlton, 1111 Ritz-Carlton Drive, Sarasota. Learn how to tend bar, make the hippest libations and entertain guests like a pro at Bartender School; $55 plus tax per class. Classes fill up quickly; RSVP at (941) 309-2008; must be over 21.
SUNNY SOUTHERN ITALY DINNER: 7 p.m. Tue., Crazy Conch Cafe, 1110 Pinellas Bayway S, No. 206, Tierra Verde. Southern Italian wines, including Di Majo Norante Ramitello 2000, pair with braciole alla pizzaiola (strip steak with tomato, garlic and oregano; clams casino; chocolate ricotta pie; more; $70, plus tax and gratuity. RSVP required: (727) 865-0633.
COTTONWOOD CANYON DINNER: 7 p.m. Aug. 14, J.D. Ford Fine Wines, 1925 S Osprey Ave., Sarasota. Winemaker dinner with Norman Beko, winemaker/owner of Cottonwood Canyon wines in Santa Barbara, menu prepared by Fred's executive chef Malin Parker; $75. Call (941) 362-9463 to reserve.
ALTERNATIVE WINE DINNER: 6:30 p.m. reception, dinner follows; Aug. 14, O Bistro, 6661 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. Prosecco, syrah, cabernet franc, pinot gris, sauvignon blanc and more pair with peppercorn-cured salmon rolls with proscuitto, melon and mascarpone; barbecued pork tenderloin with cheddar polenta napoleon, ancho chili boneless leg of lamb, lemon-ginger pound cake with sugar-grilled figs and toffee creme in this alternative wine-dinner menu from chef Tyson Grant; $50, plus tax and gratuity. Call (727) 381-1212 to reserve.
ANNUAL AUGUST STOMP: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Aug. 16, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Aug. 17, Lakeridge Winery & Vineyards, U.S. 27, 3 miles south of Florida Turnpike Exit 285, near Clermont. "Annual August Stomp" features winery tours, grape stamping, wine tastings, live music; food and beverages available for purchase; $2 admission, kids under 12 free with paid adult admission. Call (352) 394-8627.
Wine and beer tastings/classes
BEST OF NAPA AND BORDEAUX: 6 p.m. today, J.D. Ford Fine Wines, 1925 S Osprey Ave., Sarasota. Sample a selection of wines rated at least 90 or higher by the major wine publications from California's Napa Valley and the Bordeaux region of France; $25. Call (941) 362-9463.
GO BAREFOOT: 5:30-7:30 p.m. Fri., Got Wine and Cigars, 1006 Broadway (Alt. 19), Dunedin. Taste chilled sauvignon blanc and chardonnay from Barefoot Wines, along with Berefoot's merlot reserve, cabernet sauvignon and zinfandel, plus hors d'oeuvres at free tasting. Call (727) 736-4077.
SANGRIA NIGHT: 6:30 p.m. Fri., Uncorked Fine Wines and Accessories, 2706 Fourth St. N, St. Petersburg. Fruity sangrias sampled at weekly tasting; $10, portion of proceeds benefits Florida West Ballet scholarship program; (727) 892-9463.
WAZOO!: 8-10:30 p.m. Sat., Lowry Park Zoo, 1101 W Sligh Ave., Tampa. Eighth annual zoo fundraiser with more than 100 brews, beers, ales and wines from around the world, new wine tasting area and tastes from local restaurants, live music; $25 advance, $30 day of event. Call (813) 935-8552, ext. 235.
ITALIAN FLIGHT: anytime between 6-8 p.m. Tue., A Taste for Wine, 241 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. Barolos, barbera and dolcetto wines highlight Italian wine flight; $16. Call (727) 895-1623.
SAVVY BLANCS: 5:30-8 p.m. Tue., Mystic Fish, 3253 Tampa Road, Palm Harbor. Murphy Goode fume blanc, plus white wines from Onaka Springs in New Zealand and Chateau Potelle in Napa Valley, are presented at complimentary wine tasting; (727) 771-1800.
SUMMER BEERS: 6 p.m. Aug. 16, A Taste for Wine, 241 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. Refreshing summer brews in a lighter style highlight beer tasting; wheats, pilsners, pale ales and fruit enhanced brews; $12. Call (727) 895-1623.
WORLDLY WINES: 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Aug. 16, Mazzaro's Italian Market, 2909 22nd Ave. N, St. Petersburg. Take a taste tour of wines from around the world, including Australia, Italy and California; free. Call (727) 321-2400.
ARTICHOKE ALLURE: 7 p.m. today, 10 a.m. Thur., Nature's Harvest Market, 1021 N MacDill Ave., Tampa. Learn to cook artichokes like a pro from chef Debby DeGraaff. Free; (813) 873-7428.
CHEFS AT APRON'S: Apron's Cooking School, Publix Supermarket at Shoppes of Citrus Park, 7835 Gunn Highway, Tampa, has guest chef appearances by Domenica Catelli of Catelli's, the Rex restaurant in Geyserville, Calif., 6:30 p.m. Fri., $40; Edmund Du of T.C. Choy's Asian Bistro, Tampa, 6:30 p.m. Aug. 14, $40; Jeannie Pierola of Bern's Steak House, 6:30 p.m. Aug. 15, $50; call (813) 926-4465.
FINE ART OF FLAMBEING: noon Fri., Bon Appetit Restaurant, 150 Marina Plaza, Dunedin. Chef Stephen demonstrates the art of flambeing bananas Foster tableside, then enjoy a three-course lunch; $11.50, inclusive. RSVP required; call (727) 733-2151.
SUMMER GRILLING, SPEEDY MEALS: La Maison Gourmet, 471 Main St., Dunedin offers hands-on summer grilling class, menu includes shrimp brochettes in sesame marinade, curry and cumin-scented couscous, grilled summer veggies, gingered blueberry nectarine compote, 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Sat., $35; or for those who don't have time to cook, "30-Minute Meals" class has quick dishes like whitefish with ginger en papillote, fragrant Indian chicken with yogurt sauce, coffee and cream ice-box cake, 6:30-9 p.m. Aug. 14, $39.50. Call (727) 736-3070 to RSVP.
APRON'S CLASSES: Apron's Cooking School, Publix Supermarket at Shoppes of Citrus Park, 7835 Gunn Highway, Tampa, presents: Asian Dinner at Eight, 5:30 p.m. Sat., $40; Ice Cream Inspirations, 2 p.m. Sun., $35; Super Summer Salads, 6:30 p.m. Mon., $35; Cooking For the Week, 10 a.m. Aug. 16, $60. Call (813) 926-4465 to RSVP classes.
CAPA COOKING: 6:30-9 p.m. Mon., Capa Italian Deli, 10839 Ulmerton Road, Largo. Bring an apron and a desire to have fun to hands-on cooking class; $25, includes full meal, recipes. Limited class size; call Rosemarie at (727) 518-6222 to reserve.
FABULOUS FRUIT: 7 p.m. Aug. 13, and 10 a.m. Aug. 14, Nature's Harvest Market, 1021 N MacDill Ave., Tampa. Fresh summer fruit is the star of this week's free vegetarian class with chef Debby DeGraaff; (813) 873-7428.
OF PEARS, PORK AND PUDDING CAKE: 6-9:30 p.m. Aug. 13, Tampa Bay Cooking Academy, 700 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. Chef John Terczak's class includes menu of grilled pear salad, roast loin of pork and more; $38.50 includes recipes, five-course meal. Call 727 898-2665 or visit www.thetampabaycookingacademy.com
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