Perched atop wooden stools along the lengthy counter of Whats Cooking D’s kitchen, culinary students participate in hands-on cooking classes, supper-club evenings, and beer- and wine-brewing demonstrations. Homey wood cabinets, polished steel ovens, and checkerboard wall tiles act as the backdrop for adult classes covering topics such as kitchen fundamentals, complex recipes, and which end of the butcher knife is the handle. Kids’ classes incorporate fun activities, such as cake and cupcake decorating, and parent-child cooking classes allow kids to eat free and adults to take a break from dinnertime cleanup. The kitchen also turns into a brewery for wine- and beer-crafting classes, with an experienced brewmaster teaching libation-making techniques and that alcohol makes you feel feelings.
Raw Food Central's store carries all the essential snacks, ingredients, and products to maintain a raw-food lifestyle. Customers can opt between two flavors of smoothies—banana almond or banana blueberry ($10 each)—for a blended healthy snack and a not-from-concentrate brain freeze. Flax crackers ($10) or kale chips ($10) make for a body-pleasing snack with tooth-pleasing crunch, ideal for in-between meals of giant, tree-sized broccoli. Raw Food Central advocates diets of vegan cuisine and vegetable juices to enhance health, with helpful, knowledgeable staffers and delicious demonstrations to help raw foodies stay on the straight, narrow, and uncooked.
At The Little Green Tambourine, an environmentally friendly creative-arts studio that promotes active lifestyles, children’s imaginations roam freely during unstructured open-play hours. Kids can create artwork from play doh and paint, don dress-up clothes, or spout The Catcher in the Rye soliloquies during dramatic play. The mini ball pit and hula hoops promise to burn off excess energy, and youngsters can train for the import-export business at the train table. During open play parents must remain with their children, but for an additional $5 per session parents may leave their children to be supervised by the staff during drop-off open play. Parents supervise little ones younger than age 3, but can drop off children 3–5 years old in the sunlit studio with sustainable bamboo floors. Registration for drop-off play is required, and reservations for open play are recommended.
Savory Thymes is a personal catering service that delivers non-processed, health-conscious meals consisting of an entrée and choice of side. Current menu items include cranberry sauced turkey meatballs ($10.95), zippy baked ziti ($16.95), and roasted root vegetables ($5.95). Head Chef Ruth L'Hommedieu will deliver to residences and offices in the Greater Hartford area and orders must be placed by Friday. Unlike fiery stacks of magazines, dishes are delivered cold and will be safe in the refrigerator for up to four days before you follow the heating instructions to bring the flavors to life. Upon request, meals can be created to accommodate dietary considerations.
Tempting as it is, wearing a pair of Tschudin Chocolates' high heels on the town wouldn't be a very good idea. That's because the footwear is an example of the custom chocolate sculptures the shop regularly makes for birthdays, weddings, and other special events. Yet Tschudin's chocolatiers don't craft every treat on such a grand scale. Using their stone-ground chocolate and local ingredients such as honey and herbs, they hand-make a rotating lineup of bonbons, truffles, ganaches, and caramels. And that handmade ethos extends into their cakes and desserts as well.
Rather than hiding their techniques from the world by only working in a vault, Tschudin's chocolatiers invite guests to witness their process firsthand during classes. These behind-the-scenes peeks reveal how the team shapes its treats. Tschudin's experts even conduct chocolate-making classes for those struck with inspiration, allowing students to temper and create their own treats.
The Viking Center's esteemed chefs demonstrate a lineup of repeatable kitchen craftwork using high-quality Viking kitchen products. Theater lights and a wireless sound system project chefs' skills onto classes of 25–30 onlookers during installments such as "All About Duck" with Chef Bob Ambrose of Bella Bella Gourmet on October 10, and Mark Shadle's "Delicious, Healthy and Vegan" on November 7, both of which induce drooling promptly at 6:30 p.m. Students can scribble down copious notes about how to deep-freeze a steak with one icy glance as they delight in a complimentary beverage and tastings.