– and chocolate

Think of 2013 as the year of pushing the envelope — and the Wisconsin Cheese Board is here to help. It’s offering a cheese and chocolate pairing guide to help people who love these two foods, but might never have thought of putting salty and sweet in the same bite. Among their suggestions:  aged Cheddar and chocolate-dipped caramel apples, aged Parmesan with chocolate-covered almonds (even better with a dark oatmeal stout) and a Wisconsin Cheddar-blue blend with cayenne-spiked dark chocolate. Intrigued? Look for more ideas at www.eatwisconsincheese.com.


High tea on the ‘sheddule’

The St. Paul Hotel’s afternoon teas consistently sell out, so it’s wise to plan (way) ahead if you want to experience five courses of gentility in its elegant lobby. The schedule for this year’s 2 p.m. teas now is available at www.saintpaulhotel.com (click on Happenings) or call 651-228-3860 for reservations. Cost is $35 per person. Also check out the themed teas for $37.


For your bookshelf

Publishers Weekly has released its list of the top-selling cookbooks of 2012. The big winner was Ina Garten and her next volume in the “Barefoot Contessa” lineup. She was significantly ahead of the other authors, even if you add up the sales of the two “Pioneer Woman” books by Ree Drummond. Note that all but the author of “Smitten Kitchen” either have their own TV show or are regulars on other shows, and that the numbers fall off quickly after Garten.

1.“Barefoot Contessa Foolproof” by Ina Garten (Clarkson Potter), 428,105

2. “The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Food From My Frontier” by Ree Drummond (William Morrow), 267,909

3. “In the Kitchen With David” by David Venable (Ballantine), 264,953

4. “Eat More of What You Love” by Marlene Koch (Running Press), 132,796

5. “Great Food Fast” by Bob Warden (Quail Ridge Press), 122,665

6. “The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook” by Deb Perelman (Knopf), 114,547

7. “The Chew” by the hosts and staff of ABC’s “The Chew” (Hyperion), 109,020

8. “The Pioneer Woman Cooks:  Recipes From an Accidental Country Girl” by Ree Drummond (William Morrow), 103,751

9. “Weeknights With Giada” by Giada De Laurentiis (Clarkson Potter), 95,040

10. “Hungry Girl to the Max!” by Lisa Lillien (St. Martin’s Griffin), 86,656