The Sierra Nut House is kicking off a series of monthly food and drink tastings.
But they’re not showcasing nuts.
Instead, the owner of the store and bistro at 7901 N. Blackstone Ave. in the Villaggio shopping center wants to introduce people to all the other food the business carries that they might not know about.
“Everybody knows we have nuts and fruits and candies,” says owner Jo Ann Sorrenti. “But nobody knows all the other stuff we do: We have coffee, cheese and wine.”
The first Saturday of the month the Nut House will focus on a type of food or drink it carries. The free events run from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
▪ Saturday, April 2: Coffee. The Nut House will have dark, American, flavored and decaffeinated roasts available for tastings. It will roast its own beans and explain the process of roasting; a tutorial about it will be held on the patio.
▪ Saturday, May 7: The big cheese day. Samples of multiple kinds of cheeses will be available and paired with wine and beer. The event will include a session on how to put together a cheese board and a demonstration of how to make blue cheese mousse.
▪ Saturday, June 4: The Italian Experience. This one is close to the Sorrenti’s heart because she’s Italian. The store will sample the Italian products it sells, including side-by-side comparisons of olive oil and balsamic vinegars. Samples of pasta and tapenades will also be available.
▪ Saturday, July 2: Fancy Fruit Day. This doubles as the kickoff to the Peach Parties held throughout the summer on Saturdays. Apricots, figs, nectarines and strawberries will be the focus of the Fancy Fruit Day. They will be for sale, available to sample and the bistro will be selling peach pork paninis – made by stuffing peaches into a pork tenderloin – peach pie, peach milk shakes and peach bellinis.
▪ Saturday, Aug. 6: Salads and grains. This event will demonstrate how to prepare grains such as bulgur, quinoa and barley from the Sierra Harvest line the store carries.
They’ll turn them into salads – such as tabbouleh, usually made from bulgur – and hand out samples of the finished project.
“People don’t realize you can make a fabulous salad out of grains,” Sorrenti says.
▪ Saturday, Sept. 3: Soups. Chef Audi Oropoza will have some of her most popular soups available for sampling. Recipes will be provided.
▪ Saturday, Oct. 1: Pumpkin Party. This day’s will teach visitors how to do all kinds of things with pumpkins: How to cook with them, fill hollowed-out pumpkins with party food and turn them into table displays. Pumpkin soup samples will be available.
▪ Saturday, Nov. 5: Holiday Hosting Hints. This event will demonstrate how to build party trays. Wine and roasted turkey will also be available for a session on pairing wine with turkey.