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Wine, Cookies, Cheese, Beer and Fish

December 13, 2013

Today is it. The very last day for envelopes to arrive before I randomly shuffle, distribute and send out the City Dining Cards. Even if you tried to FedEx me an envelope, it would still get here too late.

Right now I’ve got thirteen. I won’t tell you who sent me the self-addressed stamped envelopes because some of you have asked to remain anonymous. Perhaps one or two last stragglers will arrive with the mail later today.

I just started opened the growing pile of mail last night, and was so touched by the personal notes and holiday cards that some of you enclosed. Thank you.

Speaking of correspondence, sometimes I get emails from people who want me to plug events. Sometimes I find out about events that I want to plug regardless of being left off the media mailing list. To deal with such affairs, I used to run a feature on Sundays called Sell Out Sunday. But you may have noticed that the FLB has started taking Sundays off. So these days, I have no idea what to call it. For now, I’ll keep the name because I just find it hard to let things go.

Before going any farther, why don’t you whip out that calendar? You’re gonna need it.

What: Holiday Bubblies & Books
Where: Altamont Free Library
When: December 13th, 7:30PM
Cost: $20

The Altamont Wine School’s annual Holiday Champagne and sparkling wine tasting will take place this Friday, December 13th in the Altamont Free Library, beginning at 7:30 p.m. This class was a schedule adjustment, so as not to interfere with the
Victorian Holidays activities on the 14th and 15th in Altamont.

Six festive sparkling wines from around the world, including two vintage Champagnes, are set for this tasting among the bookshelves at the historic Altamont Free Library.
The Library is in the confines of the old train station in Altamont. The restoration was part of community wide campaign which raised $1 million to renovate and reconstruct a space worthy of its historic beginnings in this village at the foot of the Helderbergs.

“We are honored to have our annual Holiday tasting at the LIbrary this year”, Altamont Wine School instructor Greg Giorgio said. “We hope to encourage other groups to use the space for their gatherings, too.”

Reservations are not mandatory but are encouraged. Class fee is $20 and will include finger foods. Attendees are encouraged to join some of the Wine School regulars at The Home Front Cafe for an early dinner (no reservations required) on this occasion,
6 p.m. See The Home Front’s Facebook page for the menu for that night’s meal. The Home Front is at 192 Main Street, next to the railroad tracks, the Altamont Free Library is across the street.

Information, reservations – 861-5627 or

What: Holiday Cookie Decorating Party
Where: Lucas Confectionery
When: December 15, 4-6PM
Cost: $20/$25

Join us in creating some edible art this holiday season, as pastry chef Starla Bradshaw hosts Lucas Confectionery’s first Holiday Cookie Decorating Party on Sunday, December 15, 2013 from 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM

Cookies and decorating supplies will be provided, as well as your choice of a glass of mulled wine or sipping chocolate.

Just like Starla’s delicious treats, tickets will go fast, as space is limited.

Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door. Advance tickets can also be purchased at Lucas Confectionery, or The Grocery. Or online:

What: A Cheese and Beer Tasting
Where: City Beer Hall, 42 Howard Street, Albany
When: Tuesday, December 17th, 5PM
Cost: Either $15 or $20 depending on who you believe

Join the cheese and beer experts of The Cheese Traveler and The City Beer Hall for an unforgettable cheese and beer pairing event. Event starts at 5pm and will feature paired cheese + beer tasting flights. Cheese + Beer gift baskets also available to-go, and come with CBH t-shirt!!

[Note from the Profussor: Everybody wants to pair cheese with wine. That’s nice. But wine snobs tend to prefer red wines, and pairing cheese with red wines is really freaking hard. Beer is a much more friendly pairing, and I’m really jealous for those who get to sample this tasting.]

What: A Crash Course in Holiday Cheese Plates
Where: The Cheese Traveler, 540 Delaware Avenue, Albany
When: Wednesday, December 18th, 6-8PM
Cost: $40, Go to Brown Paper Tickets or visit the shop to purchase tickets.

A beautiful cheese plate can be the highlight of your holiday entertaining. Join Cheesemonger Eric Paul for a 2 hour workshop featuring cheese sampling, beverage pairing and learning the art of crafting the perfect cheese plate.

Starting with styles, textures and milks, Eric will show how to choose cheeses that will both compliment and contrast to create a well-rounded selection. To take it to the next level, we’ll introduce pairing nuts, preserves, meats, fruits, crackers, beverages and more. Once you know what you want on your board we’ll show you how to cut, plate and present your delicious work of art.

All class attendees will receive a 10% discount on their holiday cheese order from the Cheese Traveler! Buy your tickets in the shop or at Brown Paper Tickets.

In other news…

Award-winning Fishmonger Opens in Protein Plaza
Saratoga Springs, NY

fin – your fishmonger, awarded Best Fishmonger in the Hudson Valley 2013 by Hudson Valley Magazine, has opened a second venue at 3057 Rt. 50 in the Town of Wilton. The space, which formerly housed the Bon Ton Fish Market, is the second location for the Guilderland-based fresh, sustainable seafood vendor. The original fin – your fishmonger, opened just a year ago, is located in Guilderland’s Star Plaza on Western Avenue.

fin – your fishmonger began operations just outside of Albany, NY, at the Delmar Farmers’ Market in August, 2011. Within weeks, the business had developed a customer base requesting that the owners, Peter Kenyon and Dora Swan, continue selling their fresh seafood through the winter months. Thanks to the generosity of small business owner, Jon Phillips, the Phillips Hardware parking lot in Delmar became the winter home for the refrigerated fish truck, where the couple sold their seafood each Saturday morning to people that often waited 20 minutes in line for their fresh fish. Soon after, another parking lot location was secured, this time at Con-Rel on Carman Road in Guilderland, after property owner Kevin Relyea, who also owns Carman Wine, invited the couple onto the space.

Kenyon and Swan bring in fresh seafood from Fish Pier in Boston and work with their team of quality assurance staff to maintain the Grade A, premium quality of the product. The fish is not flash-frozen at sea or at the Pier and arrives to the Guilderland shop fresh. Alaskan Copper River salmon is flown to fin via Albany Airport from Cordova, Alaska where it arrives fresh, just 16 hours out of the frigid waters.

fin is the only all-sustainable source for seafood in the Capital Region. Sustainable seafood is either caught or farmed in ways that consider the long-term vitality of harvested species and the well-being of the oceans and avoids overfishing and environmentally destructive fishing methods. Kenyon and Swan use a number of science-based sources to determine which seafood is sustainable and can be sold in their shop. From the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to the World Wildlife Federation (WWF), the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) and others, the couple keeps updated on the changes in sustainability ratings. For example: much-loved monkfish, “poor man’s lobster”, recently came off the avoid listing and sells out quickly at fin.

The couple is also committed to supporting other small businesses that are from the surrounding communities by offering their products in both fin – your fishmonger locations: Saratoga and Star Plaza, 2050 Western Avenue, Guilderland. Shop hours are Tuesday – Friday, 11a – 7p and Saturday 11a – 5p. The shops are open on Sundays through the summer months. The business can be found on Facebook, Twitter,and Pinterest and at

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Jessica R permalink
    December 13, 2013 2:16 pm

    Hi Daniel, on facebook the Confectionary annouced that the event on the 15th is sold out. :-( It’s in a post from Dec 6th.
    I unfortunately, am a procrastinator, and you won’t be getting a SASE from me. :-( I hope others will enjoy them!

  2. Susan L permalink
    December 16, 2013 3:21 pm

    Received my City Dining Cards today — thanks again! I wish CBH had more info available on the particular beer flights. Sounds fun.

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