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December 2013 Food & Wine Events Calendar

Evening at the Nürnberg Christkindlesmarkt; photograph by Steffen Oliver Riese

Hot Holiday Happenings in December

Seasonal Tip:
It's black truffle month, and time to celebrate the holidays with CHAMPAGNE.

November 29 - December 24
Nürnberg, GERMANY — Christkindlesmarkt
Lebkuchen, a soft molasses cookie, and other treats at the Nürnberg Christmas Market; photograph by Steffen Oliver Riese
Nürnberg's Christkindlesmarkt, or “Christmas Market,” is one of Germany’s oldest Christmas celebrations. The opening ceremony is a theatrical event, with trumpets, a local choir and the Nürnberg Christkind reciting a famous prologue. Prepare for enticing seasonal scents, from mulled wine and rum punch to roasted almonds, bratwurst and gingerbread. The market will have approximately 180 stalls, with toys, crafts and Christmas decorations ranging from ornaments to Zwetschgenmännle, or “little prune people” – dolls made from fruit, costumed and placed in windows to protect houses. Stay warm with a tasty treat or toasty beverage, such as: pretzels; sausages; glühwein, a hot spiced wine and winter tradition; fresh waffles; powdered sugar-covered fruit cake; and sweets. Guests can also take a cozy and nostalgic stagecoach tour. The Opening Ceremony begins at 5:30 p.m. on November 29th, and the Market is open from 10 a.m. until 9 p.m. until December 24th, when it closes at 2 p.m. For more information, visit

December 1-30
Christmas lights as seen on a California-style Sleigh Rides cruise in Ventura
Ventura, CA —California Sleigh Rides 
Sail the waters of the Ventura Keys and Ventura harbor on a "holiday sleigh ride" — California style. Every night in December, the ship Dreamer departs for a "sleigh ride" past shoreline homes lit up with twinkling holiday lights and their picturesque reflections in the nighttime waters. Cruises take place nightly from 6 p.m.-7:30 p.m. and from 8 p.m.-9:30 p.m. Each cruise offers a full bar, soft drinks and seasonal beverage concoctions such as "reindeer milk" and hot chocolate. Cruises cost — cash only — $20 for adults and $10 for children 2-12 years old. Private charters are available as well, with prices ranging from $395 to $895. For more information, call  805-642-7753 or visit

December 6-8
Pomona, CA — Harvest Festival Original Art & Craft Show
Whimsical hand painted character gourds from the Harvest Festival Original Art and Craft Show
Fairplex Park hosts this annual touring festival with art-and-craft talent from all over the country and great eats from local restaurants, all presented with live musical accompaniment in a lively indoor environment. Check out the latest in hand-turned wood, photography, ceramics, jewelry and more. There are also zones for kids to play and make crafts, so the whole family can make a day of it! Pomona Fairplex Building 4, 1101 W. McKinley Ave. Ticket prices vary: $9 for all three days for adults, $7 for seniors 62 and older, $4 for youths 13-17, free for children under 12. Group rates available. For more information, call 415-447-3205 or visit

December 7-10
Soufriere, St. Lucia — Spices of the Caribbean Food Festival

Spices of the Caribbean Food Festival

Caribbean spices take center stage in St. Lucia during a three-day culinary event at the Jade Mountain resort. Guided by chef Allen Susser, the weekend will highlight the tropical cuisine of the island region with an emphasis on fiery flavors. A cocktail party with spiced exotic libations and finger foods kicks off the event on Friday evening, while Saturday morning brings cooking demonstrations and local market excursions, including a walking and tasting tour of the Emerald Gardens. There will also be a five-course specialty dinner featuring seasonal spices paired with local wines. For more information visit or call 800-223-1108.

December 8
Holiday Spectacular in Carmel Valley, California
Carmel Valley, CA — Holiday Spectacular
For the holiday season, Chateau Julien Wine Estate presents its annual "Holiday Spectacular,"featuring holiday cheer and musical entertainment from an a cappella choir in the near-ideal acoustics of the aging oak barrels and insulated Chai walls in the Wine Estate's Chateau. A gift reception and holiday wine tasting will follow. The event is held from 2:30 p.m.-5:30 p.m. and tickets are $40 for club members, $50 in advance and $60 two weeks prior to the event. Chateau Julien Wine Estate is located at 8940 Carmel Valley Rd. Go to to make your reservations online.

December 13-25
Yosemite National Park, CA — The Bracebridge Dinner
The Bracebridge Dinner
This famed holiday event, celebrated since 1927, transforms the hotel into a seventeenth-century English manor for a seven-course feast, more than 100 professional singers and court characters perform four-hour pageant inspired by Washington Irving’s Sketch Book. The story tells of a Christmas feast with Lord Merrick of Bracebridge and his household, showcasing English yuletide traditions of yore. Dinner seating begins at 6 p.m. and the performance starts at 6:30 p.m. Two- and three-night Bracebridge Packages start at $1222 and $1395, respectively; for additional nights, extra dinners, or dinner-only tickets call 801-559-4884. For more information and online reservations, visit

December 28-January 3
Hobart, Tasmania, AUSTRALIA — The Taste Festival
Celebrations at the Tasmania Taste Festival, Australia
Come let your taste buds soar at the week-long taste festival in Tasmania's capital. Huge crowds  flock to Hobart's culinary and cultural event, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year. Shop and sample from stalls of local Tasmanian produce and cuisine, while live performers and artists entertain with music, acrobatics and more. The 2012-2013 festival was dubbed the most successful Taste of Tasmania, with record attendance, and organizers are working to make this year another fabulous celebration of food, community and culture. For more information, visit

Annual Calendar

(Updated: 08/28/13 RD)

There's always more to learn about wine. Take part in a class, a wine and cheese pairing or a fancy prix-fixe meal at these events across the country.

Eat, drink and celebrate at these festivals, special dinners, happy hours, cooking classes and more from Los Angeles to New York to London.