Now You’re Cooking is hosting a unique selection of classes this winter. Courtesy / Now You’re Cooking

After several weeks traveling in December, I am delighted to be writing “Sande’s Picks” again. Winter is also a wonderful time to learn and sample new cuisines and perfect old favorites.

Merrymeeting Adult Education offers 15 one-night sessions at various local schools on a broad range of techniques and food styles. All require registration (merrymeeting.org or 729-7323), take place in the evening, and cost $40 a session.

Here are some classes coming up this winter: Jan. 23 – Yeast Breads; Feb. 4 – Sourdough Bread; Feb. 6 – Chocolate; Feb. 27 – Soups; March 3 – Scones; March 18 – Vegan Lasagna; March 31 – Northern Italian; April 7 – Pies and Tarts April 15 – Gluten Free Cakes. Call or check the web for a complete list.

Now You’re Cooking, 49 Front St., Bath, hosts a unique selection of classes. They are held 6-8 p.m. and cost $50/person. These classes fill quickly, but the store creates waiting lists. Call 443-1402 to reserve. Here are some offerings that still have openings: April 6 – Ravioli & Tortellini; April 15 – Cooking with Maple; April 21 – Wok Baked Chicken; May 12 – Vietnamese; May 26 – Dim Sum; June 9 – Mexican; June 16 – Asian Fusion.

This year marks the 20th anniversary for Now You’re Cooking and the celebration includes a monthly lecture series on food and health. The free lectures are held from 5:30-6:30 p.m. and tickets are required; call 443-1402. Lectures are as follows: Jan. 16 – All Things Oyster; Feb. 27 – Understanding Your Gut; March 26 – Making Maple; April 23 – Composting.

Black Tie Cooks’ classes are held at the Portland Club, 156 State St., 6-9 p.m. at a cost of $65/person through Eventbrite. Upcoming classes include: Jan. 16 – Meal Prep; Jan. 29 – Tapas; Feb. 13 – Cooking for Couples; Feb. 26 – Wine & Dine; March 11 – Pasta. Reservations and advance payment required.

Food & Beverage Events in the Southern Midcoast

Jan. 10

Vessel and Vine, 4 Pleasant St., Brunswick, 721-3000, “Using Amari in Cocktails” class, 6-8 p.m., $45/person, reservations required.

Jan 14

Vessel and Vine, 4 Pleasant St., Brunswick, 721-3000, “Sicilian Wine Dinner” with Ned Swain of Devonish Wines, 6:30-9:30 p.m., $45/person for food, wine additional for a la carte. Reservations required.

Jan 15

Vessel and Vine, 4 Pleasant St., Brunswick, 721-3000, “Locavore Volumes,” a book club for people who love food, 6-8 p.m., $45/person including aquavit tasting, snacks and gravlax. Reservations required.

Feb. 21-22

Brunswick Hotel and Tavern Annual Ice Bar, “Snow Globe Wonderland,” 5 p.m. Feb 21; 10 p.m. Feb 22. $27/person at Brown Paper Tickets. Featuring beautifully crafted ice bars and sculptures, specialty cocktails served through ice luges, Chef Lamoureux’s incredible complimentary food spread, along with live entertainment and dancing in the ballroom.

Special Notes

Royal River Grill House, 106 Lafayette St., Yarmouth, 846-1226, offers create-your-own food pairings along with selections of toppings and sauces. Reservations recommended.

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