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Published: Sunday, 8/20/2000

Delicious season approaches

As Labor Day approaches, a new season of culinary festivities is dawning around the country.

The Fall Mushroom Mania event at Springbrook Hills Resort in northern Michigan will feature guides who will lead the hunt and assist in identification, handling, and preparation of safe fall mushrooms.

Weekend outings are Sept. 8-10; Sept. 29-Oct. 1, and Oct. 13-15. Each features two nights of lodging and all meals, including the Saturday evening dinner with mushroom dishes and wine sampling, at $169 per person.

Information: Fall Mushroom Mania, P.O. Box 219, Walloon Lake, MI, 49796, or call Joe Breidenstein at 231-535-2227.

Chocolate lovers may indulge in a week of tasting, preparing, and savoring the world's best chocolate on iExplore's Chocoholics Tour of France and Belgium. Eight travelers in a French villa learn to prepare rich desserts that have made that country a leader in the chocolate world.

Daily optional classes offer hands-on experiences and demonstrations on truffles and cream-filled chocolates, chocolate-dipped fruits, and rum raisin fudge. In addition to serene days in the French countryside, a high-speed train whisks travelers to Brussels, where participants may tour Belgium's finest chocolate makers.

The tour is available Sept. 2, and on Sept. 29, 2001, and is priced at $3,295 per person, including accommodations, meals, classes, chocolate tasting, ground transportation in France, and day trip to Brussels.

Information: Call iExplore at 800-439-7567 or, check on the Internet: www.iexplore.com.

San Antonio will sizzle with gourmet food this fall during the San Antonio New World Wine and Food Festival, Oct. 26-29. Citywide, chefs will pull favorite recipes and experiment with new ones, cooks will prepare tantalizing tapas, elegant entrees, and divine desserts. Recipes from Central and South America and Mexico will weave a tapestry of Latin American flavors.

Wine authority Augustin Huneeus will feature international wines, including Chilean and Argentinean, Italian, Spanish, and American regional wines.

Festival events will include a Meet-the-Winemaker reception and black-tie dinner, Texas in Tuxes, at La Mansion Del Rio Hotel, featuring celebrity chefs Mark Miller of the Coyote Cafe in Santa Fe; Stephen Pyles of Star Canyon in Dallas, and Grady Spears of Reata Restaurant in Alpine and Fort Worth.

Information: Call the San Antonio New World Wine and Food Festival at 210-518-1155.

Kathie Smith is the Blade's food editor.

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