Maine Whoopie Pie Festival takes New England honor

The Maine Whoopie Pie Festival has been selected as the winner of the 2013 About.com New England Travel Readers’ Choice Award for Best New England Festival or Event.

The award honors products, features and services from a dozen categories as selected by About.com readers. The Maine Whoopie Pie Festival won 60 percent of the vote in its category.

The 2013 festival will take place on June 22 in Dover-Foxcroft and, in addition to thousands of whoopie pies, feature live music, games, rides and vendors. For more information, go to MaineWhoopiePieFestival.com.

Hampden woman advances to finals of Pillsbury Bake-Off

Sarah Malikowski, an engineer from Hampden, has made it into the finals of the 46th Pillsbury Bake-Off.

Malikowski and the other 99 finalists will compete Nov. 10-12 at the Aria Resort & Casino in Las Vegas. She’ll be making her Southwest Chicken Biscuit Sandwiches in the “Doable Dinners” category.

The $1 million contest was redesigned this year to limit recipes to seven or fewer ingredients, and the dish must take 30 minutes or less to prepare, not including baking or cooling time. The changes are designed to encourage simpler original recipes.

Last year, Malikowski was one of eight finalists in the Beringer Great Steak Challenge, competing for a first-place prize of $25,000. She flew to the Beringer Vineyards in Napa Valley, where she was treated to a weekend of first-class accommodations, decadent dinners and VIP tours of the valley.

The contest was hosted by the Deen brothers and will air June 6 on the Cooking Channel. You’ll have to tune in to find out how Malikowski fared.

GORHAM

Sebago to brew yearly batch to benefit Trek Across Maine

Sebago Brewing Co. will be brewing a batch of Trekker Pale Ale on April 20 for its annual “Brewing for a Cause” event.

The event raises funds for the Trek Across Maine, a three-day, 180-mile bike ride organized on behalf of the American Lung Association of Maine. For the past four years, Sebago has had an employee cycling team entered in the trek.

Brewing for a Cause will take place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tickets are $100 and available at sebagobrewing.com.

Everyone at the event will be able to participate in the brewing process, sample beers, swap recipes and take a case of bombers. Lunch will be provided.

For more information, call 856-2537 or email ion@sebagobrewing.com.

OGUNQUIT

Five-O Shore Road chef to replicate Tuscan wine dinners

This winter, the culinary and management teams at Five-0 Shore Road made a month-long trip to Italy, where executive chef James Walter spent time with Michelin-starred chef Richard Titi of Il Falconiere, a Relais and Chateau property in Tuscany owned by Riccardo and Silvia Baracchi.

During their visit, they were treated to a tour of the wine tasting rooms at Il Falconiere, followed by a dinner with the Baracchi family at their sister restaurant at Locanda del Molino, just outside of Cortona. (The resort and its vineyard were featured in the movie “Under the Tuscan Sun.”)

The travelers were also lucky enough to have a private dinner in the villa at the Felsina Winery in the Chianti region of Tuscany. Each wine at the dinner was selected by the owner and winemaker.

Walter will be replicating several courses from both dinners at a wine dinner at Five-0 Shore Road on Thursday. The evening begins at 6:30 and costs $69, including gratuity.

For the complete menu, go to pressherald.com/blogs/mainealacarte/201706611.html.

For more information or to make reservations for the dinner, go to five-oshoreroad.com or call 646-5001.

PORTLAND

Gingko Blue celebrates Jazz Month with drink specials

April is National Jazz Appreciation Month, and Gingko Blue is celebrating. Each Wednesday and Thursday this month, mixologists Guy Streitburger and Patrick McDonald will be offering a special cocktail creation for $8. For beer lovers, the jazz-themed Brother Thelonius Belgian Style Abbey Ale by North Coast Brewing will be specially priced at $4 on the same nights.

Gingko Blue is located at 455 Fore St., and does not charge a cover.

Plant sale to feature herbs, seedlings and expert advice

The 20th annual Cumberland County Master Gardener’s Plant Sale will be held from 8 a.m. to noon May 18 at the Barron Center, 1145 Brighton Ave.

The sale features herbs, vegetable seedlings, an extensive variety of perennials, house plants and a large assortment of annuals. Gardeners can pick up some shellfish compost by the bag or container. Many garden-related products and services, as well as a sale of gently used garden tools, will also be featured.

Participating this year will be a representative from Garbage to Gardens, a local composting operation. Master Gardener volunteers will be on hand to share growing tips and advice.

The proceeds from this event support the group’s Seed Grant program for community projects.

Haven’s Candies wins best new product at food show

Haven’s Candies announced that its Maine sea salt butter toffee won first place in the Best New Product category at the 2013 New England Made Giftware and Specialty Food Show. Organizers of the annual Portland-based event said the Haven’s toffee was chosen for its “highest quality of product, representing the best of New England craftsmanship.”

Haven’s Candies has been handcrafting candy since 1915. They have retail locations in Portland, Westbrook and Scarborough, and can also be found on the web at HavensCandies.com.

Rosemont, Old Port Wine to feature Argentinian varietals

There will be two wine tastings featuring Argentinian wines in Portland this month.

Rosemont Market, 580 Brighton Ave., will feature Malbecs from Tinto Negro at its free tasting, which will be held from 4 to 6:30 p.m. Thursday. For more information, call 831-2553.

Old Port Wine and Cigar Merchants, 223 Commercial St., will hold a free tasting from 4 to 7 p.m. April 17 featuring Argentinian wines from Bodega Catena.

For more information, call 772-9463.

‘Raw Food Trucker’ to pay a visit to Roost House of Juice

“Dave the Raw Food Trucker” will be at the Roost House of Juice, 11 Free St., from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday.

Dave Conrardy will share his experiences of overcoming cancer, obesity, diabetes, heart disease and kidney disease through a vegan/raw food lifestyle. The sponsors of the event, Roost House of Juice and Girl Gone Raw, will be serving a limited juice, smoothie and food menu during the evening.

Tickets are $15 at the door. Reservations are not required, but the event is expected to sell out, so call 899-4275 to reserve a spot.

After buzzed-about run under radar, word out on Hush, Hush

You may have seen photos and write-ups on local food blogs featuring a speakeasy-style club called “Hush, Hush” that meets on the sly around town, serving up creative cocktails and great dishes from local chefs.

Now Hush, Hush is going public.

Hush, Hush events are organized by Andrew and Briana Volk, who soon will be opening a craft cocktail bar called the Portland Hunt and Alpine Club. The next one (called “not so Hush, Hush”) will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. April 18 at Eventide Oyster Co., 86 Middle St., and feature a range of special off-menu dishes from chefs Andrew Taylor and Mike Wiley. Volk will be serving up cocktails to go with the Eventide fare.

Tickets are available for $50 at brownpapertickets.com/event/366995.

Caiola’s, Devenish Wines to host Eastern European dinner

Caiola’s, 58 Pine St., is teaming up with Devenish Wines for an Eastern European wine dinner featuring wines from Blue Danube.

The five-course dinner will be held from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday and feature wines from Hungary, Croatia, Austria and Slovenia. Guests will be able to sample the rare Patricius 2000 5 Puttonyos Tokaji.

The dinner costs $60 per person, plus tax and gratuity. For more information or reservations, which are required, call 772-1110.

FALMOUTH

April 25 Extension workshop to focus on cooking for crowds

The University of Maine Cooperative Extension will host a Cooking for Crowds workshop with Extension educator Kathy Savoie from 1 to 5 p.m. April 25. The workshop will be held at the University of Maine Regional Learning Center, 75 Clearwater Drive, Suite 104. The cost is $15 per person; scholarships are available.

To register or to request a disability accommodation, call 781-6099. Participants can also register online at umaine.edu/food-health/food-safety/cooking-for-crowds.