Caramelpalooza returns

Caramelpalooza, a one-of-a-kind festival, comes to Marine on St. Croix on Oct. 15, produced by St. Croix Chocolate Co. Owner and chocolatier Robyn Dochterman said she considers the event "the last blast of community silliness before the weather gets cold." Dochterman's award-winning chocolates will be for sale, including stunning hand-painted pumpkin-shaped candy bowls made of chocolate. The free festival also will feature caramel apples, caramel corn, caramel sauce and samples of caramel beer made by Maple Island Brewing in Stillwater, along with live music, family activities, an Elvis impersonator (CaramElvis) and lunch foods for sale. A new chocolate bar, with a featured local ingredient to be revealed, will benefit the Marine Area Community School, with Goldy Gopher on hand to pose for pictures. Caramelpalooza is from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Gazebo Park.

Microbes in the spotlight

Microbes are everywhere in our food system, and research has shed much light on how they can be better understood and controlled to ensure healthy, safe food. This year's two-day Healthy Foods Summit focuses on these tiny organisms. It's co-hosted by the University of Minnesota's Healthy Foods, Healthy Lives Institute; the Consortium on Law and Values in Health, Environment and the Life Sciences, and the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. Day 1 on the U campus focuses on cutting-edge research and policy perspectives. Day 2 at the arboretum will focus on practical applications. Both days are designed for community leaders, policymakers and citizens to connect with scholars, authors and experts. To learn more and register, visit

Cookie Cart fundraiser

Cookie Cart, the nonprofit north Minneapolis bakery that employs and teaches teens, hosts its annual Chefs' Dinner Benefit on Oct. 30 with four local chefs collaborating on a multicourse dinner. The chefs, all alumni of the Art Institutes International Minnesota (AiM) Culinary School, are Zach Schugel of Birch's on the Lake in Long Lake; Jenna Farni of Citizen Supper Club in St. Paul; Ben Weiss of Butcher and the Boar in Minneapolis, and Chris Ulrich of Mucci's Italian in St. Paul. Current AiM culinary students will assist. Tickets for the event, at the Town & Country Club in St. Paul, are $150. To buy, visit

Congrats are in order

Food and Consumer Science Professionals, a nonprofit professional organization formerly known as Home Economists in Business, has given top honors to two of its members. Lois Kemp of Plymouth was named professional of the year for her leadership and service. For 25 years, she was home economist/culinary specialist for Lunds & Byerlys grocery stores in Edina and Golden Valley. Anne Boyer of Minneapolis earned the Making a Difference Award for newer members who have made significant contributions to the organization. She's a marketing assistant for Nordic Ware.

Event lauds farmer diversity

The Minnesota Food Association hosts its annual end-of-season potluck and harvest party on Oct. 16 at Big River Farms in Marine on St. Croix, with a caramel apple bar, cider from Baker Orchard, brats, hot dogs and chicken from Mississippi Market, farmer stories and a graduation ceremony. The event, from 4-7 p.m., is free and public, but it's a potluck. Bring a dish to share. The nonprofit MFA operates a land-based training program for immigrant and minority farmers, and advocates for farmer and food justice through community events and programs. To RSVP, visit ­

Three cheers for Taste

The Star Tribune Taste section has won two awards from the Association of Food Journalism. Congrats to restaurant critic Rick Nelson, who won third place for best restaurant criticism, and to freelancer Steve Hoffman of Shoreview, who won third place for best food feature for his Taste story on French cooking.