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Monday, Oct. 15, 2012

Beer and Chocolate and More

2012 Kohler Food & Wine Experience

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When it comes to the 2012 Kohler Food & Wine Experience, here’s your chance to have dessert first—literally. The four-day event, Oct. 18-21 in Kohler, Wisconsin, is a foodie’s delight, morning, noon and night.  And for those serious chocolate lovers, the ever-popular dessert will start off the first full day of events on Friday, beginning with four events devoted to chocolate in all its forms and pairings, according to Peter Clemens, head chocolatier for Kohler Original Recipe Chocolates and the Craverie Chocolatier Café.

It’s a busy day for the Kohler chocolatiers and head chef Matt Bauer as they are involved in pairings of chocolate with beer, single origin coffee, port (a strong, sweet red wine) and imported ales.

New this year are seasonal chocolates called “Festings,” which feature three different flavors perfect for the upcoming holidays:  Pecan Pie, Egg Nog and Gingerbread.  And the Experience also includes beverages of all kinds, including beer pairings with chocolate.  “A lot of chocolates blend well with beers,” Clemens points out, “especially beers and Scotch Ales.”

Enter another well known Wisconsin based vendor, Central Waters Brewery based in Amherst, just outside of Stevens Point. Co-owner Anello Mollica will pair his specialty line of craft beers with Craverie Chocolates. If beer and chocolate sound a good excuse to indulge both, it is specifically because it works. And also new this year Clemens including a new confectionery concoction, Carmelia, which “has a nice smoky flavor” after caramelizing milk solids before being added to the mix, Clemens emphasizes.  Given the growing popularity of the F&WE, events have already begun to sell out, although there’s more and more to choose from.

For those that still prefer dinner before dessert, a featured Milwaukee favorite, chef and cookbook author Alamelu Vairavan.  Alamelu, as she’s best known to her fans, has her “Healthful Indian Flavors with Alamelu” show on Milwaukee Public Television as well as numerous cookbooks based on her Southern Indian recipes (Healthy South Indian Cooking among them). “Indian cooking lends itself to healthy eating,” says the culinary educator, who came to the U.S. from her native Madras (Chennai), India. “The American palate is changing, especially given all the health issues today with obesity and diabetes. So, cooking is becoming an important activity in America.”

Part of her popularity is the ease and fun she brings to the kitchen, be it in live demonstrations or her TV show. In her cooking demonstration, Tantalizing Indian Flavors, participants will learn to prepare chettinad lamb kulambu, a stewed lamb in an aromatic ginger-garlic sauce; and cauliflower rice with cashews, a cauliflower with power that is lightly seasoned and cooked in aromatic basmati rice and garnished with cashews. And yes, after all those delicious aromas, participants get to taste the final version of the dishes.

Consumers have come to value the benefits of cooked food when it starts affecting their health, Alamelu says. And her goal is to show how simple, quick and easy it is to make delicious healthy food without ever leaving home for (dare we say it), “fast food.” Americans are coming back into the kitchen, she concludes.  “My mantra is: healthy can be delicious.”

For more information about the 2012 Kohler Food & Wine Experience, call: 1-800-344-2838, or visit: www.kohlerathome/events
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