Co-op’s chocolate fair returns

Mississippi Market hosts its annual Chocolate Tasting & Gift Fair from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Feb. 11 at all three co-op locations. The focus is on local and artisan chocolates with Valentine’s Day in mind, but there’ll also be live music, crafts and prizes. Vendors include K’UL Chocolate, BT McElrath Chocolatier, Bare Honey, and more. For details visit msmarket.coop.

Maple Grove Market seeking vendors

The Maple Grove Farmers Market continues its winter season with a market from 3-6 p.m. Feb. 9 in the community center, 12951 Weaver Lake Road. Twenty vendors offer honey, farmstead beef, pork, chicken and eggs; seasonal produce; canned goods including pickles, jams, mustards, salsas; breads, and more.

The market also is seeking vendors for its 14th season, Thursdays from June 8 to Oct. 19. Vendors must play a role in growing or producing the items they offer for sale. Those offering fruits, berries, certified organic items, gluten- and allergen-free items, and dairy products are especially invited to apply. Visit maplegrovefarmersmarket.com or call 763-494-5955 for additional information.

Cookie Cart offers sweets

Cookie Cart, the north Minneapolis nonprofit bakery, is partnering with CityKid Java on two gift sets called “Sweetheart Packages” for Valentine’s Day, each offering a dozen or two dozen of the bakery’s cookies and a 10-ounce CityKid Java Double Dutch Cocoa. Both organizations give teens their first work experience and teach them life and leadership skills. Prices range from $20 to $30, with a $15 fee for delivery in the Twin Cities metro area for orders placed by Feb. 11. Visit shop.cookiecart.org or call the bakery at 612-521-0855.

Cookbooks of quirky note

We see a lot of cookbooks in Taste. They run the gamut from inspiring to meh. Yet within a week, two have caught us off-guard.

The first is “Leo Tolstoy: A Vegetarian’s Tale” by S. Pavlenko (Rockbridge Press, $23), subtitled “Tolstoy’s Family Vegetarian Recipes Adapted for the Modern Kitchen.” It’s a curious book; Huffington Post included it in its holiday gift guide for baby boomers. Tolstoy’s wife, Sophia, and her kitchen staff created recipes after the Russian household went vegetarian: wine waffles made with Sauternes, cheese dumplings and an unusual recipe for scrambled eggs. (No War and Peas, thank you very much.) Recipe histories, diary excerpts and historical photos make this a unique read.

“Gather,” by Gill Meller (Quadrille, $35), is far more conventional, Meller being from England’s River Cottage TV series. It’s about seasonal food from the landscape — foods from orchards, the sea, fields and woodlands. Still, it comes as some surprise to encounter a trio of recipes for squirrel, as in “roast squirrel with squash. sage and hazelnuts” or “crispy squirrel with cauliflower and capers.” Meller notes that you can sub pheasant, rabbit “or even chicken.” But he champions squirrel as “one of the most sustainable meats we could ever hope to eat.” Albeit, he adds, “in a curious Beatrix Potter kind of way.”

KIM ODE