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The Eight Tastiest Events on Denver's Culinary Calendar, November 28-December 2

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Nights like these call for a hot mug of comfort. You can find one at Frisco's iconic Wassail Days festival, which starts this Friday, or stick close to home and check out gifts for sale and booze for drinking at the Denver Flea in its new location. The culinary calendar also includes Italian dinners, holiday cocktails and chocolate, chocolate, chocolate. Keep reading for details on the eight tastiest events around Denver this week, including a great benefit for No Kid Hungry Colorado.

Wednesday, November 30

Tonight's edition of Firenze a Tavola's Community Table feast is inspired by the hilltop city of Matera in southern Italy, where a unique cuisine has evolved. This four-course dinner starts with a rustic fava-bean appetizer and ends with a sweet ricotta pie. Seating is at 6:30 p.m. and the cost is $33; make reservations at Firenze a Tavola's OpenTable site.

The Palm celebrates the art of holiday mixology with a hands-on demonstration tonight. Longtime Palm bartender Chad Skrbina will educate you on the origins of standard cocktails like the Old Fashioned and the Martini, then introduce his holiday twists on the classics. Special food pairings will be provided, and guests will receive a book of recipes and a basic bar kit to take home. Class is in session beginning at 5:30 p.m., and the price is $75 per person; call the Palm at 303-825-7256.

Thursday, December 1

No Kid Hungry Colorado has teamed up with more than twenty restaurants and bars to raise money to combat childhood hunger. Participating establishments will donate 10 to 15 percent of sales on December 1 to programs that teach budgeting, shopping and cooking skills, and help families on limited budgets gain access to healthy food. A complete list of participating businesses, which includes breweries, restaurants and even online sales from Tender Belly Bacon, can be found on the Cooking Matters/No Kid Hungry website. Additional donations can also be made through the Colorado Gives website. If No Kid Hungry raises $10,000 by December 6, the Seattle Fish Company will match with another $10,000; use the donation code CO GIVES DAY to ensure your contribution is counted toward the total.

From 6 to 8 p.m., Mezcal will offer a complimentary tequila tasting of Azunia, with a rep of the company sharing the history of tequila. For more information, call 303-322-5219.

Amanda Faison, the longtime food editor of 5280 who just left that post this month, will discuss the creation of 5280: The Cookbook at a book signing that includes sample treats and free aprons to the first fifty people to get a book signed. The free event runs from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Tattered Cover in LoDo; find out more at tatteredcover.com.

Read on for more culinary events on Friday.
Friday, December 2

The iconic Gart Brothers Sports Castle comes to life again when the Denver Flea's Holiday Market extravaganza begins tonight. At 5 p.m., the Flea will open with a bang at the Holiday Kickoff Party, where smart shoppers can get early access to local vendors, crafters and kitchens for the first chance at the perfect gift. The $30 ticket price includes unlimited beverages like New Belgium Brewing and holiday cocktails, live music and over 200 vendor booths to choose from. Get your tickets and learn the rest of the schedule at the Denver Flea's site.

Wassail Days is the signature festival of Frisco, and the ladling begins in earnest tonight. At least twelve types of the old-fashioned cider will be served around town, and you can get your 12 Sips of Wassail card punched by visiting every station; a full card earns you a commemorative mug. And that's not all: Visitors can enter the ugly-sweater contest, taste the best of the competition at the Soup Cup Classic competition on Sunday, and do much more. For a list of wassail-serving local shops and events, visit the Town of Frisco's official site.

In Colorado Springs, a holiday tradition returns bigger and better than ever. The Holiday Chocolate Festival kicks off today in its new digs at the Mortgage Solutions Financial Expo Center. Thousands of chocolate fanatics will flock to samples of chocolatey treats, chocolate cocktails, chocolate gifts and more. Nationally renowned chocolatiers will be in attendance, roving entertainment will be provided by the Original Dickens Carolers, and there will be kids' activities like a massive model train and human hamster balls, plus an appearance by Santa. The festival runs today from 4 to 9 p.m. and Saturday, December 3, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $5, and tickets for samples are $10 for a dozen. See the lineup of tasty treats and vendors at the Chocolate Festival site.

For more Food & Drink events, go to our online calendar. If you know of an event that should be included in that calendar, send information to cafe@westword.com.

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