Many sweet returns
Join TFS for its first virtual tasting event
Happy New Year! Here’s hoping your holidays were rewarding, restful, and not too painfully cold: I’ve now crossed “running the streets of Miami in mittens and a stocking cap” off the list of things I never wanted to do in the first place.
While in Miami for a few days, I also had the chance to eat stunning crab rice at Itamae, the city’s defining Japanese-Peruvian restaurant, help my husband pick out Miami Hurricanes tribute sneakers, and tour the Deering Estate.
I’d somehow missed that historic home on previous visits, but apparently, I’m not the only one with a blind spot around the Mediterranean-style villa that farm equipment magnate Charles Deering hurried into existence in 1922.
By far, the coolest part of the Deering Estate is the wine cellar. Since Prohibition was underway, Deering stashed 4,500 bottles of wine and liquor behind a bank vault door, concealed by a false wall to throw off the feds. With a hurricane approaching in 1945, his family locked the three-ton door—then lost its combination.
Over succeeding decades, Deering descendants forgot there was a hidden room in the basement. The state of Florida, which eventually took over the property, discovered it in 1985. (Sadly, a Hurricane Andrew storm surge in 1992 submerged the space, decimating Deering’s collection. His relatives had been right to worry.)
Deering Estate is located just down Biscayne Bay from the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, where the above cacao tree grows. And when I saw it, readers, I thought of you.
As you may recall, cocktail writer Robert Simonson and I last fall partnered up for an informal Zoom sampling of ready-to-drink old fashioneds. When I posted a transcript of our chat, I asked paying subscribers if they’d ever want to join an online tasting hosted by The Food Section. “Yes” won in a landslide.
Paid subscribers call the shots around here (premixed or otherwise), so I’m very excited to announce our first virtual event is a go.
Here’s what you need to know:
A ticket to the event includes four chocolate bars, which will be shipped to your door as a set. The package—featuring bars from Piety and Desire in New Orleans, Family & Future in Carrboro, North Carolina, Xocolatl in Atlanta, and Brasstown in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, plus the latest edition of The Food Section’s print quarterly—is valued at $45. Look for more information about participating chocolate makers in next Friday’s newsletter.
All four chocolate makers will join us to lead tastings of their products and answer questions.
Tickets are priced at $40. Sharing a box of chocolates and computer screen is allowed. (Heck, considering this event was scheduled so you could figure out which Southern small-batch chocolate to buy for your sweetie this Valentine’s Day, it’s even encouraged.)
A Zoom link will be provided upon purchase and emailed to participants on the day of the event.
And stop me if you’ve heard this one, but you have to act fast. Tickets are limited in deference to the scale of these craftspeople’s production, and the registration deadline is January 15.
See you soon!