France? Of course. Italy? Sure. Chile? Fine. Australia and New Zealand? You bet. South Africa? Bring it on.
But when people think about the best countries for creating fine wines, Austria is usually far down the list.
Manhattan's Restaurant looks to alter that perception, at least a little, with its next wine dinner beginning at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday (note the new day and time). In honor of Austrian guest winemaker Cristof Hoepler, this month's event pairs five Austrian courses with four Austrian wines and a coffee.
The specifics are:
An appetizer of sausages, fresh fruit, and peasant breads will be paired with a Hoepler Gruener Veltliner, 2008; a salad with crispy fried sausage and a soft-boiled egg will be paired with a Hoepler Riesling, 2007; a liver-dumpling soup will be accompanied by a Hoepler Pinot Noir; a Viennese-style goulash with rare roast beef will be paired with a Hoepler Zweigelt; and the coffee course will feature a Salzburger nut roll.
As always, the cost is $65 apiece, including tax and tip. For reservations, call 419-243-6675.
A time for wine
And if you can't get enough pairings of food and wine, there's more -- this time with a chance to buy some truly fine wine.
The St. Francis de Sales High School Endowment Fund is holding its annual fund-raising wine auction event, Knight of the Vine. At 5:30 p.m. on March 29, a gourmet dinner at the Real Seafood Company will be followed by wine auctions, both silent and live.
Among the auction highlights are a lot of six cabernet sauvignons from 2006 (including a Shafer Hillside Select Napa Valley and a Cakebread Cellars Dancing Bear Ranch), a week in Paris with Champagne tours, and a lot of Robert Mondavi cabernet sauvignons from six different vintages going back to 1979.
A full auction booklet is available at knightofthevine.com.
Dinner will be an event unto itself, too, with one course of pan-roasted Maine scallop with leeks, shiitake mushrooms and balsamic butter sauce, another of grilled filet medallions with Yukon Gold cheddar mashed potatoes, green beans, and carrots in a red-wine reduction, an assortment of appetizers, salad, and dessert -- and all of it paired with appropriate wines.
Tickets are $100 apiece, which includes everything, and reservations may be made at firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-531-1618, Ext. 308.
Pancakes and sausage are all very nice, but everyone knows that it's the syrup that counts -- especially when the syrup is made by the Northwest Ohio Maple Syrup Producers.
Saturday is the annual Maple Syrup Day at Williams County Fairgrounds in Montpelier, Ohio, a chance to learn how maple syrup is made in a "sugar shack."
A horse-drawn wagon will take the curious and the hungry to the sugar shack, where they can see how sap is gathered, boiled, and evaporated until it becomes syrup.
Other events include a maple-tree tapping and a chainsaw carver -- not to mention breakfast of pancakes, sausage, and real Ohio maple syrup. And of course there will be a full array of maple products to buy, including syrup, fudge, candy, and cotton candy.
Breakfast begins at 7:30 a.m., with the other events starting at 8 a.m., and it all goes on until noon. The cost for breakfast is $5 for adults, $3 for children 7-12, and free to children 6 and younger. For more information, call 419-636-9395.
Are you bummed because your New York friends boast that they live in a city that never sleeps? Do your Chicago buddies go on and on about how they have great deep-dish and stuffed pizza? Do your Dallas pals babble incessantly about how the barbecue there is so good it's almost worth living in Dallas?
Well, now you have this over all of them: Toledo consumes the ninth-most Campbell's Condensed Chicken Noodle Soup, per capita, in the nation. Take that, San Francisco, with your elitist little boutiques!
You may already know that Chicken Noodle Soup is Campbell's top-selling soup (and why would you know this? Because you live in or near the city that consumes the ninth-most amount of it). But you probably don't know that every can contains some 32 feet of noodles. At 250 million cans sold, that works out to more than 1.5 million miles. That's enough noodles to reach to the moon and back three times, if for some reason you wanted to stretch noodles to the moon.
For your edification, here are the Top 10 cities in America (and presumably the world) for Campbell's Chicken Noodle Soup consumption: Cininnati/Dayton; Louisville; Roanoke, Va.; Knoxville, Tenn.; Indianapolis; Columbus; Grand Rapids, Mich.; Charlotte, N.C.; Toledo; and Richmond/Norfolk.
On a personal note, I have lived in three of those Top 10 cities and have at least visited all but two. I don't know what that says about me, and I don't think I want to know.
Items for Morsels may be submitted up to two weeks in advance of an event to email@example.com.