The Minnesota Zoo hosts its seventh annual Fish Bites event at 6:30 p.m. on May 8, with top Twin Cities chefs preparing food to raise awareness about buying sustainable seafood. How is sustainable defined? Seafood that is either caught wild or farm-raised that cannot only sustain current populations, but thrive over the long term while not damaging the environment, according to organizers. Lakeville Liquors will pair wines with food prepared by chefs from Butcher & the Boar, Lancer Catering, Luci Ancora, Lucia's Restaurant and Wine Bar, Masu Sushi & Robata, Saffron, Sea Change, Smack Shack and Oceanaire Seafood Room. And turnabout being fair play, there also will be shark and stingray feeding during the evening. Tickets are $50 in advance ($55 at the door, if available), purchased at mnzoo.org. Participants must be 21 or older.
Sehr gut gourmet
A German-based specialty gourmet store, Vom Fass, opens April 26 on Level 2 East in the Mall of America, the first Vom Fass to offer the full range of cask-aged vinegars, culinary oils, spices, wines, spirits and liqueurs. (A limited outlet opened last year in Kowalski's Woodbury Market.) Vom Fass (rhymes with sauce) means "from the cask" or "on tap" in German. It sources products from European family-run farms, vineyards, orchards and distilleries, and encourages sampling before purchase — often from the cask. Products include olive, nut, seed and infused oils; vinegars such as aceto balsamico and proprietary fruit balsamics; herbs and spices; small-batch wines; cask-aged spirits including cognac, Armagnac, grappa and Calvados brandies, and liqueurs such as absinthe, violette and limoncello. This is the 18th Vom Fass store in the United States. Another is to open later this spring at the Shoppes at Arbor Lakes in Maple Grove.
Cheese and even more
The Minnesota Cheese Festival returns to the State Fairgrounds on May 18, with live music all day, more demonstrations and … wait for it … tote bags. Cheesemakers new to the fest: Roelli Cheese Haus, Burnett Dairy, Marcoot Jersey Creamery and Yellow River Dairy. Music includes a performance by Davina and the Vagabonds. There will be more and larger demonstration areas for the first-come, first-served, demos about cheesemaking, wine and beer pairings, cooking and more. Advance tickets are $35 (plus processing fees) through Eventbrite at http://mncheesefest.eventbrite.com. Limited tickets will be available at the door for $40, cash only.
One for One project
Toms Roasting Co. of Los Angeles is known for its various charitable efforts — notably, shoes — to improve the lives of poorer people in the five countries from which it sources its coffee beans. In the latest addition to its One for One initiative, Toms will provide one week of clean water to a person in need for every pound of coffee purchased by customers.
Citing World Health Organization studies, the company says that 20 liters of clean water is the daily requirement per person for adequate drinking and personal hygiene. The company partners with Water for People, which supports local business development and government investments to create sustainable water sources. Toms coffees are available at Whole Foods markets nationwide and online at www.toms.com.