On any given night at Gordon's Fine Wines & Liquors, guests might hear staff instructors share their favorite French wines or introduce a Speyside scotch. They might also see guest sommeliers, local brewers, or winemakers discuss the production regions and flavors of their most cherished varietals. For more than 75 years, Gordon’s has been a beacon for such talented flavor enthusiasts, recruiting a team of specialized instructors that has earned the alcohol emporium the title of Massachusetts Beverage Business 2012 Retailer of the Year. These professionals have never tired of spinning out lessons—touching on wine education, beer and spirits, cooking, and wine-and-food pairings, which immerses visitors in how to successfully marry cheeses and wines without their parents getting all bent out of shape.
Yet apart from the knowledge spread therein and the discussions bubbling with poignant enthusiasm behind the shelves, Gordon’s also serves as a supplier. Its shelves abound with hundreds of wines—including kosher wines—from every continent except Antarctica, more than 500 types of craft beer, and 300 single-malt scotches.
Master hummusmith Ahmad Yasin doles out zesty lesson plans along with his family-recipe lamb-stuffed grape leaves. With a culinary philosophy that emphasizes the organic relationship of cook and cuisine, Ahmad guides burgeoning food-foodee relationships from their spicy mohammarah honeymoon to the golden anniversary of moist lemony-walnut cake. Catch a glimpse at a culinary world you might master with Ahmad's catering menu, which includes such edible edifications as baked kibbeh, which packs lean ground lamb, pine nuts, garden-fresh herbs and spices, and homemade yogurt in an envelope of golden cracked wheat or a regally red Royal hummus dip (shammandar) whipped from beets, sesame tahini, chickpeas, garlic, and lemon juice and stirred with a jewel-encrusted scepter.
Since 1982, Sea To You Sushi's deft chefs have traveled across the region doling out fresh, meticulously constructed sushi rolls at colleges, businesses, hotels, and country clubs. They cull an extensive supply of ingredients at their store, tapping into the well-stocked stash to guide nascent sushi-smiths through the art of constructing maki and nigiri rolls during Sushi School sessions.
The mobile gourmands also cater private parties, regaling revelers with custom menus and war stories about ferocious clumps of seaweed. Die-hard sushi fans can join Sea To You Sushi's C2U Sushi Club, which grants member discounts and special access to the company's facilities.
Curating adventures that help visitors get the most of what the region has to offer, Activity Maine gets its subscribers in the know on a wide variety of outdoor activities year-round. During the warmer months, read about the best spots for camping, fishing, and eating out. In the winter, the magazine publishes stories on skiing and horseback riding through the snow, in which horses are outfitted with snowshoes and wooly scarves knit by their grandmas. RaceME offers a comprehensive guide to area bike and road racing, complete with event schedules, training tips, gear reviews, and other features.
New Hampshire Bartending School offers aspiring libation-concocters the training to become professional bartenders and veteran mixologists a chance to hone in their craft. With the first deal, you'll get 32 hours of classes at New Hampshire Bartending School's premises, learning the ins and outs of drink-making from instructors with more than 30 years of bartending experience. This course can be completed either during the day Monday–Thursday, in the evenings Monday–Friday, over four Saturdays, or over two full weekends. The second deal compacts the course into an intensive two-day on-premises class, (currently scheduled from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Mondays and Tuesdays), while the third deal gets you a similar experience off-premises, with the focus solely on drink-making and lacking only the unlimited practice time offered on-site at the school. Upcoming off-premises courses will be held in Orono, Portsmouth, and Concord, and they will take place on Friday evenings and Saturdays during the day. With these courses, you'll get inside info on the secret to concocting a soul-reviving martini, extensive training on how to serve alcohol safely, access to the government's underground vodka reserves, plus the confidence to create more than 100 drinks on your own.
Those who craft edible masterpieces find what they need at The Cake World. Part shop, part school, it outfits bakers of all experience levels with the stuff and skills they need to create towering, edible sculptures from Satin Ice fondant and gumpaste using special tips, cutters, veiners, modeling tools, and more. Rows of edible embellishments crowd shelves, shiny cookie cutters dangle from hooks, and stacks of diverse cake molds invite bakers to expand their imaginations. In the spacious cake-making studio, hands-on classes cover specific decoration topics, special guest artists lead themed workshops, and kids learn how to decorate cupcakes and cakes during birthday parties.