ALFRESCO: BEST IN THE FIELD
At the first Outstanding in the Field dinner I went to, there was a 30-pound jackfruit, spiky and menacing like the pods in Invasion of the Body Snatchers, perched center stage under a gazebo. We assembled at long tables and passed platters heaped with homemade organic ricotta cheese, caramel-colored squares of local honeycomb, walnut raisin toasts and vast piles of that lemon-yellow jackfruit flesh. During it all, California-based Jim Denevan explicated precisely what was occurring at his 107th Outstanding in the Field dinner, the first in Florida. With many more under his belt now, he and his performance art troupe/roving band of dinner hosts come back to Florida for a single meal Friday at Beasley Farm, 10137 Preston Road in Brooksville. Diners sit in a makeshift dining room at the center of the farm, with the fields all around, to enjoy local foods produced by local farmers, all crafted into a multi-course, family-style meal by chef Ferrell Alvarez of Tampa's Rooster & The Till. Alvarez is one of the area's most rigorous proponents of farm-to-table cooking, so it's bound to be a thrilling showcase of what Florida farmers are up to in 2016. Price is $190 per person. Start time is 3 p.m. (352) 799-6752. outstandinginthefield.com.
FOODIES: FLOCK SOUTH
There are two good reasons to head to Sarasota this week. On Sunday, the Ringling Museum of Art hosts the annual Forks and Corks Food and Wine Festival Grand Tasting, starting at noon. Wine and beer offerings are paired with signature dishes from area restaurants, and there's a silent auction with hard-to-find wines for sale. Tickets are $125, or $300 VIP includes early entry, champagne reception, private, guided museum tour and $100 wine voucher. 5401 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota. (941) 359-5700. dineoriginal.com/forksandcorks. And Thursday famed cooking instructor Giuliano Hazan continues his mother's tradition (he's Marcella Hazan's son) of fine Italian cuisine with a limited-seating cooking class. Guided by Hazan, guests prepare a four-course meal that explores family recipes, which is then enjoyed with Italian wines at the end of class. The event starts at 10:30 a.m., $150 per person. 4471 Shade Ave., Sarasota. (941) 363-1258. giulianohazan.com.