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Published: Sunday, 10/2/2005

Sapphire Ball echoes opera's 'Figaro' with Italian theme

As the Toledo Opera opens the 2005 season with The Marriage of Figaro, planners of the 45th anniversary Sapphire Ball let the opera inspire them for the ball's theme.

The Sapphire Ball, with an Italian wedding theme, will be held at 7 p.m. Saturdayat the Pinnacle. "We are trying to create the ambiance of a wedding feast," says Paulette Roberts, who designed the menu with Janet Schroeder for the black-tie event.

Dinner will be a traditional Italian meal served in traditional fashion, with some items passed family-style and others served individually, according to Karen Fraker of Fifth Third Bank. Fifth Third is sponsor of this year's event. Co-chairmen are Ms. Roberts, Maureen Brown, and Danny Johnson of Fifth Third Bank.

The menu prepared by Chef David Du Fresne and his staff begins with Capreeze, stacked tomato, basil, and mozzarella cheese. The staff will also prepare the pasta course, spinach cheese ravioli with wild mushroom sauce.

A choice of entrees are osso buco or stuffed cornish hen, both served with green beans and red and yellow peppers. The vegetarian option is a savory vegetable strudel wrapped in a phyllo purse.

For dessert, an authentic Italian cake will be prepared by Pinnacle's sous chef/pastry chef. Jean-Luc Berger. Ricotta Cake promises to be light and refreshing. It is accented by double dipped chocolate pirouette cookies and followed by favors of chocolate truffles to satisfy anyone's sweet tooth. The cake is made with trifle sponge cake, creamy ricotta, and assorted fruits. It is melt-in-your-mouth delicious.

The elegant evening of food, wine, and dancing to contemporary music of KGB is $175 per person. (Orchestra music will be featured during dinner.) Deadline for tickets is Tuesday; call the Toledo Opera at 419-255-7464.

The Toledo Area Poznan Alliance will hold its 15th annual Dozynki Harvest Celebration at 2 p.m. Oct. 9 at the Sunrise Park and Banquet Center at 1460 Woodville in Millbury.

The traditional Polish menu begins with cream of cauliflower soup. Then a favorite entree of cornish hen with orange glaze will be served with nalesniki (crepes) with a veal-pork-beef and mushroom filling, a very authentic dish, according to Pat Konwinski, committee member. Parsley potatoes and beets made with pieces of apple will round out the entree. For dessert, Polish Coffeecake will be served with coffee and tea.

The Dozynki Harvest Celebration also includes a procession and blessing, entertainment by the Echoes of Poland Folk and Dance Ensemble, a memorial tribute to the late Pope John Paul II, and an exhibition of authentic regional Polish costumes.

Tickets for the event are $25, with table reservations available for groups of eight or more. For tickets, call Rosalie Hinde at 419- 841-2909.

Tailgaters can enter their favorite tailgate recipe in the National Honey Board's Honey of a BBQ Tailgating Contest. Recipes can be anything from ribs and wings to salads and sauces. The only requirement is that the recipe uses 1/3 cup of 100 percent pure honey. Grand prize is $1,000. Deadline for entries is Dec. 1. Send your entry online at www.honey.com. Official contest rules are online.

From Ohio State University's Chow Line comes the recommendation that the National Center for Home Food Preservation is a good resource for information about home canning. The center's Web site, http://www.homefoodpreservation.com offers detailed information about home canning and other methods of food preservation. It also offers some general information for beginners under the "How Do I Can?" area.

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