February 11, 2014
Richard Deming, Bruce Hughes and Nick Renkoski at last year's Wine & Food Showcase. Photo by Jones Image Design.

Bust a Bel Canto

By Kellye Crocker


Vocalists with Des Moines Metro Opera (DMMO) will (re)mix it up with DJ John Solarz at Club Opera, a new after-party at Big City Burgers and Greens for the Wine & Food Showcase Feb. 21. Presenting opera classics set to a techno-flavored dance-club riff, DMMO promises an experience "you've never heard before."

Before that, though, your taste buds are sure to sing at the showcase, held at the Des Moines Marriott Downtown. With some 40 participating chefs, caterers, vintners, brewers and distributors, the showcase will offer signature bites from venues such as Baru 66 and Splash Seafood Bar & Grill. You also can sip high-quality wines from the Old World and New, including homegrown favorites, plus heady local brews and fine spirits. Also on tap: a silent auction, a raffle and the opportunity to buy individual opera tickets before the general public.

The showcase starts at 5:30 p.m. (a VIP lounge opens at 4:30 p.m.). Club Opera follows at 8:30 p.m., with free admission for showcase-goers and $10 for others. Proceeds benefit DMMO's educational and cultural programs as well as main-stage productions. Tickets are $40 in advance (online or at 515-961-6221) or $50 at the door (VIP: $100).


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All I Want Is Everything 
What to give a sweetheart who has everything? Maybe a creamy, crunchy, chewy, nutty, fudgy slice of heaven from Beaverdale Confection Co. "It's everything we make, covered in chocolate," owner Tom Coleman says.

Using fresh ingredients and Belgian chocolate, Coleman's crew creates almost everything from scratch--about 50 types of treats for Valentine's Day--including gourmet marshmallows and hand-rolled truffles. Leftover "scraps" go into the Everything Bar ($2.95 for one, about a quarter pound; $4.95 for two).

The store at 2641 Beaver Ave. also sells penny candy and other nostalgic sweets. It opened in 2009, two years after Coleman began selling marshmallows online. Now he offers a revolving marshmallow menu, including chocolate, caramel and raspberry, and Google, The Walt Disney Co. and MAC Cosmetics are customers. The marshmallows also star in the best-selling S'mores-To-Go Kit, which includes Belgian chocolate, pizzelle cookies, skewers and gel fuel burners for $24.95.

For Valentine's Day, you can order a heart-shaped box of five chocolate-dipped strawberries (pictured), four truffles and a chocolate rose for $29.95, including Friday Des Moines area delivery. You also can order strawberries for pick up ($19.95/dozen). FYI, the store's website targets national customers and has a limited selection. Call 279-0553 to order or for information.
Principal Charity Classic board members with Mike Stevens, PGA Champions Tour president.
Golfing for Good
Named 2013 Charity of the Year by the PGA Champions Tour, The Principal Charity Classic's "FORE Our Kids" initiative will use its $30,000 prize to provide specially equipped bicycles and iPads to Central Iowa young people with disabilities. The adapted bikes, which can cost up to $3,000 each, offer therapeutic benefits and an opportunity for outdoor fun.

For the first time in the seven years since Principal Financial Group Inc. became the title sponsor, the 2013 tournament passed the million-dollar mark in a single year, distributing $1,032,500 to five "FORE Our Kids" charities: Blank Children's Hospital, Bravo Greater Des Moines, United Way of Central Iowa, Variety-the Children's Charity and the Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines. An additional 106 "Birdies for Charity" organizations also received donations. This year's Principal Charity Classic will be held May 27-June 1 at Wakonda Club in Des Moines.

At the recent award ceremony at Principal Financial Group, Lincoln High School's Infinity Show Choir surprised the audience by interrupting Principal CEO Larry Zimpleman with a "flash mob" performance. They wanted to thank the PGA Champions Tour and those involved with The Principal Charity Classic on behalf of Central Iowa youths served by the donations. See it here.
Sweet Somethings
Hey, Wonder Woman. Show yourself some Valentine's Day love with a visit to Amour for elegant lingerie, pretty pajamas and feel-good loungewear. (If someone also wants to surprise you with something lovely from the East Village boutique, so much the better.) Read about Amour in the current issue of dsm here (scroll down to the "Insider" section).
Radicchio Revolution?
By Wini Moranville
Could radicchio be the new kale? Better yet, could Des Moines become the launching pad of the radicchio revolution?

Like kale, the scarlet-colored leafy veggie has its share of nutrients (specifically, cancer-fighting antioxidants). Radicchio is also underappreciated (as was kale, until edgy Brooklyn chefs got their hands on it).

On March 1, the lesser-known veggie gets its chance to shine in a Radicchio Dinner hosted by Lucca. The fundraising event will benefit the Veneto Committee of Iowa Sister States, an organization that promotes mutual interests with seven regional territories and states around the globe (the Veneto is one such region).

Chef Diego Critelli, who hails from the Veneto, will prepare the dinner, while Lucio Gomierio, also from the region, will present a short seminar on radicchio (sometimes referred to as Italian chicory). Wines from Gomierio's winery, Vignalta, will be showcased.

Who knows? If radicchio becomes as cool as kale, you can say you were at the start of it all.

The Radicchio Dinner will be held at Lucca, 420 E. Locust St. Hors d'oeuvres begin at 6:30 p.m., with dinner starting at 7 p.m. The cost is $100 per person (or $900 for a table of 10). Contact or call 725-3163 for tickets.

Kellye Crocker

Kellye Crocker lives in Clive and writes fiction for teens and nonfiction for adults. A former Des Moines Register senior reporter and current dsm contributing writer, she's also written for Parents, Better Homes and Gardens and Glamour, among other national publications. Connect with her on Twitter: @kelcrocker.
Wini Moranville

Wini Moranville, author of "The Bonne Femme Cookbook: Simple, Splendid Food That French Women Cook Every Day," is a food, wine and travel writer who covers the dining scene for dsm magazine. Follow her at All Things Food DSM - Wini Moranville and catch her food segment on Fridays at 6:40 a.m. on KCWI-23's "Great Day" morning show.

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