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Three local tastings will let the good wines flow

Three waves of winemakers are bringing their vintages to Tampa Bay in the next two months.

First, the Napa Valley Vintners Tour in Sarasota on Tuesday. Thirty-five wineries (labels: Beringer, Robert Mondavi, Raymond, Silverado) will pour wines from 7-9:30 p.m. at the Phillipi Mansion, 5500 S Tamiami Trail. Tickets are $50; call 366-1980.

Second, a benefit for Abilities of Florida in Clearwater. Vintners from 32 wineries in Sonoma County, Calif., will pour wines (labels: De Loach, Dry Creek, Iron Horse) at 6 p.m. March 25 at the Black Swan restaurant, at 13707 58th St. N, Clearwater. Tickets are $20 in advance; call 538-7370.

Third, April 23-26 in Sarasota, a benefit for the New College Foundation, the Human Services Center of Sarasota and USF at Sarasota Scholarship Foundation. More than 75 wineries from the United States and around the world will participate. Tickets for various events during the four days range from $10 to $250. Call 355-1053.

Prizes that take the cake

The Pillsbury Bake-Off awards presentation, with Today Show weather reporter Willard Scott as host, will be broadcast as a daytime special Tuesday, Feb. 25 from 11 to 11:30 a.m. on CBS. The 100 finalists will prepare their specialties Monday, Feb. 24, at the Contemporary Hotel at Walt Disney World in Orlando, competing for more than $126,000 in cash plus prizes in the 35th annual competition sponsored by Pillsbury Inc. This year's grand prize winner will receive $50,000 in cash plus a $10,000 kitchen makeover from Sears, the contest's co-sponsor. There will also be five $10,000 winners and 18 $2,000 prizes.

"FLORIDA NO-FAULT": A treat from the Strand in Miami Beach.

If fat leaves you cold

Ordinarily, pamphlets hit the waste basket with a quick thud, but the photographs in this one made us stop and admire. It's from the people at NutraSweet, who make Simple Pleasures, the "frozen dairy dessert made with Simplesse all natural fat substitute." Boring, until you start reading the recipe names _ Peach Splendido, Palm Beach Pineapple Pleasure, Chocolate Banana Roulade. Two of the chefs supplying recipes are from Florida, David Pantone of The Breakers in Palm Beach and Gary Lampner of The Strand in Miami. To get the recipes for yourself, write for a free copy of "Simple Pleasures, Fine Desserts," Consumer Affairs, P.O. Box 830, Deerfield, Ill. 60015 (800) 323-5316 between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

You're never too old ...

Do you have a passion for peanut butter? Then join the likes of Julia Roberts, Bill Cosby, Jack Nicholson, Cher and Gerald Ford. Become a member of the Adult Peanut Butter Lovers Fan Club (membership 60,000). Send your name (or a friend's) and $3 to Adult Peanut Butter Lovers Fan Club, Dept. PBP, P.O. Box 7528, Tifton, Ga. 31793. You'll get a membership card, a recipe brochure, a peanut butter lover novelty and a year's subscription to "Spread the News," the quarterly newsletter full of tips, trivia, puzzles, recipes and more.

Eating is serious business

Buy a cookbook and help the homeless. That's the sales pitch from the folks at Better Homes & Gardens. The special recipe collection comes from the personal favorites of food editors from BH&G, Ladies' Home Journal, Metropolitan Home, Country Home, Traditional Home, Midwest Living and BH&G books. The book costs $14.95; all money will go to the Better Homes Foundation to help homeless families across the country. Subjects are appetizers and snacks, soups, breads, salads and side dishes, entrees, desserts and cookies. To get a copy, call (800) 962-4676 or send a check or money order payable to The Better Homes Foundation for $14.95 plus $3 for postage and handling to Food Editors' Treasured Recipes, P.O. Box 9236, Des Moines, Iowa 50306.

_ Compiled from staff, wire reports

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