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Maple Syrup Tap A Tree Program @ Ambler Farm

It's that time of year again. Sign up for Ambler Farms immensely popular, Maple Syrup Tap-a-Tree program. Sign up quickly...these classes fill up fast. 

Maple Syrup Tap-a-Tree program 
Training sessions (choose only ONE): Sat., Feb. 8th at either 10-11am or 1-2pm.
Learn the science and history of maple syruping by being a hands-on part of the process.   We will send regular updates on the running of the sap so you can come to the Farm to collect sap from your tree. We will boil down the sap in our sugar shack and send each family home with their very own bottle of Ambler Farm maple syrup.

The season runs from early February to mid-March (a typical season is five weeks long). If you are traveling during February or March, we will collect sap for you.  Contact Kevin Meehan

Enrollment Limited to 110 families. This program sold out quickly in previous years, so please do not wait to sign up.  The number of trees at the Farm is limited, so we are unable to accommodate late requests or wait lists. 
$65 per non-member family/$60 per member family.

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GIVEAWAY!! Win 2 Tix to Sun Winefest Grand Tasting @ Mohegan Sun

CTbites is GIVING AWAY 2 TICKETS to SUN WINEFEST'S Grand Tasting on Sunday, January 26th. To be eligable to win, tell us why you want to go to Sun Winefest below & like us on Facebook!

Join Mohegan Sun for the 11th annual Sun WineFest Saturday, January 25th and Sunday, January 26th @ Mohegan Sun's Convention Center.

Sun WineFest 2014 will feature celebrity chefs including: Robert Irvine, Todd English, Jasper White, Govind Armstrong, Michele Ragussis and more. 

With an amazing selction of beer, wine, specialty spirits and delectable dishes, this weekend extravaganza has something for everyone. Wine and beer enthusiasts can select from over 1,000 brands or enjoy tastings of specialty spirits. Guests will have the opportunity to ask questions, hear commentary from the winemakers and experts and enjoy delicacies from some of the region's finest restaurants with tasting portions of signature dishes. 

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Valbella: Old School Italian Elegance in Greenwich

I never go to Italian restaurants in Connecticut because I was lucky and spoiled enough to have eaten in Italy - a lot - and I always feel disappointed in the American version of Italian cuisine. So when a friend begged me to review VALBELLA in Greenwich, I was reluctant to say the least. The pastry chef, she claimed, was world renowned and his food art simply had to be reviewed. I did some research and decided to acquiesce. For more than 20 years, the stately, Victorian Valbella has been the archetype for excellent but old school Italian cuisine in the Greenwich/Riverside area, and has successful sister locations in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District and Midtown. And I can understand why. It is in no way funky or hip or cool but is extremely elegant and the food, though I am hesitant to admit it, was outstanding. 

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Loaf of the Week at Scratch Baking


Beginning on January 31, 2014 for 8 weeks, Scratch Baking in Milford will be kicking-off their second annual "Loaf of the Week" club. Participants, known as "the loafers," receive a surprise bread and spread each week, paired with a recipe. Think of it as a winter CSA for your bread box.

"It really is alot of fun and honestly it is perfect for winter time when you just want to curl up and fire up that crockpot," said Lesli Flick, Scratch owner and baker. 

Last year, Scratch's Loaf of the Week baked fresh loaves of brioche paired with a cinnamon raisin butter, ciabatta with pesto, and rosemary focaccia with a lemon curd. The cost to become a Loafer is $65 for 8 weeks of breads and spreads.

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The Weekly Nibble: Upcoming Food News & Events

Mohegan Sun’s Restaurant Week goes from January 12-17!  Savor all the specials at Mohegan Sun's most renowned dining venues, including a three course dinner at Ballo Italian for $29.95. 

On Saturday January 4 check out Half Full Brewery in Stamford for the “Hoptimist Experience,” a formal tour and tasting.  They are open from 1-5pm with a Tour at 3:00pm.  During the tour you will learn about the brewing process and how they got started.  $5 gets you a Half Full Brewery sampling glass, six samples of beers on tap, and a guided tour. More Info Here. 

Celebrate the return of Downton Abbey at the Silo Gallery at Hunt Hill in New Milford on Sunday January 5.  A demonstration cooking class will feature an "Upstairs/Downstairs" menu based on the TV series and using recipes from “The Unofficial Downton Abbey Cookbook.” The day will include a champagne cocktail, smoked salmon sandwiches, oxtail soup, lobster thermador, steak and kidney pie, and crepe Suzette. 11am-2pm.  $90pp.  Guests must sign up in advance. 

Every Sunday Mama’s Boy in Norwalk hosts brunch with live music from 1-4pm.  January 5 you can see Griffin Anthony perform.

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Vegetarian Prix Fixe Wednesdays @ The Schoolhouse

This just in from Chef Tim LaBant @ The Schoolhouse at Cannondale:

The Schoolhouse Restaurant is bringing back "Vegetarian Prixe Fixed Wednesdays" for the month of January. It's a great opportunity to get over the holiday food hangover and focus on improving your overall feeling of well being. We did this last year and have had many requests to again offer meatless entrees. So starting this Wednesday, January 8 and each Wednesday during January, you'll enjoy 4 courses for $40. Cutting back on meat, even a little bit, can reap big health and environmental benefits. We hope you'll join us by making a reservation. Reserve a table and get more information here. 

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Get A Healthy Start to 2014: CT Resources for Juicing, Healthy Eats & More

You just did it all this holiday season. And by that, I mean...cookies became a food group. Mixing, stirring and shopping had you working your “muscles” (how to polish something, right?). Real exercise resided in the back seat, crammed in between boxes and bags and wrapping paper. Your sanity was also wedged in there, too, now that you think about it. Thank goodness that a new year is upon us because you weren’t quite sure you could take another week, chaotic and fun as it may have been. And yes, there was much good in the holiday season...but it’s all....tiring. So now, after the decadence and gluttony, let’s reset. Recharge. And for the love of Pete, put down that cookie.

Here we offer, as your first gift of the New Year, some great resources, including juice cleanses, yoga joints and healthy eats, to get your body and mind back on track and ready for action in 2014! 

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Reader's Choice Awards from Connecticut Magazine

Connecticut Magazine reached out and you responded—now here are the results of their annual restaurant survey, featuring readers’ favorites in 35 dining categories. Bon appétit!

best in overall excellence

Bernard’s/Sarah’s Wine Bar, Ridgefield

The Spread, Norwalk

The Cellar Door, Ridgefield

best new restaurant

The Spread, Norwalk

Walrus + Carpenter, Bridgeport

Heirloom Food Co.,Danielson



Read The Complete Reader's Choice Awards List on Connecticut Magazine

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Happy New Year from CTbites

This stunning Beef Wellington was created by CTbites contributor, Sarah Green. If you have photos from your New Years celebrations (of a foodie nature), send them to:

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Top CTbites Stories from 2013

From restaurant openings (and closings) to memorable food-centric events and a slew of our own top ten lists, we trolled our analytics to bring you the most widely read stories from 2013.  

Best Brunch in Fairfield County

If there is one thing for sure, CTbites readers love them some brunch. Equally parts meal and ritual, our brunch post stole your hearts with a series of 14 recommendations, mouthwatering photos, and an additional twenty-six reader recommendations in the comments. 

The Best Warm Lobster Rolls on the Connecticut Coast

"Connecticut's signature food may not be New Haven Pizza or Steamed Hamburger.  And it’s certainly not Nutmeg (indeed, not a single nutmeg seed has ever been planted, much less harvested, in the Nutmeg state.

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