Daily dairy delights
Maine’s Community College’s Culinary Arts programs have produced some seriously talented chefs over the years. Students from all seven community colleges in Maine were invited to the Blaine House last week to participate in the 3-A-Day of Dairy People’s Choice Award and Scholarship, hosted by Gov. John Baldacci and first lady Karen Baldacci. The student chefs each made a dessert, with the only stipulation for the competition being that each had to use milk, cheese or yogurt in the recipe, to highlight the health benefits of dairy products. Eastern Maine Community College student Kristie Carr made a Chocolate Orange Cheesecake, while winner Josh Long of Washington County Community College concocted a Low-fat Blueberry Custard Brulee, earning him a $500 scholarship.
Also heralding spring is the opening of Gifford’s Ice Cream spots across the state. Two weekends ago, the beloved ice cream stand started serving Rocky Road, Oatmeal Cookie, Whoopie Pie and plain ol’ Vanilla to devoted patrons. To coincide with the season starting up, Gifford’s announced two news items. A new half-gallon (64-ounce) container, available in retail stores, costs the same as the original 58-ounce container, but gives you six more delicious ounces. And, to celebrate the new, larger size, Gifford’s has created a new mascot for the company — “Tubby,” a bigger-than-life Gifford’s ice cream container. Tubby visits stands, stores and other locations all over the state, from last weekend’s New Kids on the Block concert in Portland to ski resorts and baseball games. Tubby will hand out magnets, tote bags, coloring books and other prizes to those lucky enough to encounter him. To track Tubby, visit www.giffordsicecream.com.
Dining in season
It may not yet be time to plant peas, or even to see crocuses peeking up above the soil, but according to some area restaurateurs, spring is definitely here. At Pairings in Winterport, a spring wine dinner is set for 6:30 p.m. Saturday, April 11, with a menu created by Chef Bob Waldron that includes Lamb Roulade Stuffed with Apple, Golden Raisins, Gorgonzola and Sage with 100 Clove Garlic Sauce, and a Coriander Fig Ice Cream in a White Chocolate Dish with Lavender Syrup. Price is $64 per person, and includes a selection of delicious Winterport Wines. Also taking place at Pairings is a Spring Tea at noon Wednesday, April 15. For $17.95, a scrumptious array of adorable little sandwiches and dainty desserts will be served, paired with tea, coffee or a glass of wine. Finally, celebrate Easter in a most gastronomically pleasing way at Natalie’s at the Camden Harbor Inn. The midcoast restaurant’s proprietors have planned an Easter Brunch for 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, April 12. Natalie’s also will serve a five-course tasting dinner that evening, with Chef Lawrence Klang concocting an array of dishes featuring items associated with spring in Maine. The brunch is $25; the dinner is $65. For more info, visit www.pairingsinmaine.com, or visit www.camdenharborinn.com.