My buds didn't have the time of day for any variety of sweet wine until I tasted ice wine, which is like having a feather-light and refreshing cloud kiss your tongue. The grapes that go into producing this treat are frozen while still on the vine, concentrating the sugars, which do not freeze, and are pressed from the frozen fruit. Locally made ice wine is the star of this week's epi-curious festivities at New York Wine and Culinary Center (800 S. Main St., Canandaigua). The nICE Festival on Sunday, January 12, 1-5 p.m. will also feature seasonal wine tastings, cheese sampling, a chili competition, a hot-chocolate bar, and specialty desserts. And to prepare you for sporting celebrations, NYWCC chefs will demonstrate favorite tailgate party recipes.
Tickets to the festival are $40 per person, which does not include the all-day cash bar. If you take the nICE Festival Chili Challenge class, held January 12, noon-2 p.m., your nICE Festival admission is included in the workshop price ($75; preregistration required). The teaching chef will split the class into teams that will create chili to be tasted and judged by festival participants. For more information or to register, call 394-7070, or visit nywcc.com.