This coming week, in events that get to your heart through your stomach.
Tuesday, March 16
Cheesemakers and buttermakers from around the world are gathering in Madison this week for the 2010 edition of the World Championship Cheese Contest, a prodigious biennial celebration of dairy excellence organized and hosted by the Monona Terrace, 1 John Nolen Dr., 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday and 9-11:30 a.m. on Thursday, free. Call 828-4550 for more info.
Old Sugar Factory Honey Liqueur, a clear and dry 80-proof spirit made with premium dark brown beet sugar and Wisconsin honey and aged in small oak barrels. Bottles of the liqueur and t-shirts can be purchased at the open house. Facebook for more info.
The deer management unit informational meeting this evening about its work in Dane, Lafayette, and Green counties. The event opens with a short 15-minute video hosted by UW wildlife ecology professor Scott Craven, which will be followed with a roundtable discussion about deer harvest patterns, management projects, and hunter feedback. The session will also cover deer population estimates, the development of the 2010 hunting season, and the status of CWD in the region. This is one in a series of public meetings across the state this month focused on maintaining a healthy, sustainable deer herd. Both hunters and non-hunters are encouraged to attend the meeting. Fitchburg Community Center, 5510 Lacy Rd., Fitchburg, 5:30 p.m. Call 275-3250 for more info.
Whole Foods invites both vendors and customers to its first Local Producers Forum this evening to learn about how it integrates locally-sourced products into its inventory. The grocery store's Midwest Local Product Forager, department heads, and several vendors will be on hand to discuss and answer questions about its approach to local foraging. Whole Foods Market, 3313 University Ave., 6-8 p.m., free. Call 233-9566 to register.
Wednesday, March 17
The Food for Haiti earthquake relief drive wraps up today in anticipation of sending a shipping container full of essential items to the Caribbean nation via Brocach Irish Pub and The Coopers Tavern in downtown Madison, Erin's Snug Irish Pub on the east side, and Claddagh Irish Pub in Middleton. Sláinte!
Thursday, March 18
The Worthington Park Neighborhood Association is holding its next workshop on urban farming in support of a Darbo Community Garden at the Salvation Army Community Center. This particular session will focus on the lack of a grocery store in the area following the closing of a Kohl's on the site of the now-defunct Union Corners development, the broader issues of poverty and hunger around the east side of Madison, and the opportunities urban agriculture provides to low income families. Hawthrone Library, 2707 E. Washington Ave., 6 p.m., free. Call 332-1493 for more info.
A pair of cheesemakers from is once again hosting a traditional fondue dinner with cheesemakers from Fromagination, 12 S. Carroll St., 6 p.m., $35. Call 255-2430 for reservations.
Friday, March 19
The fundraiser banquet this evening in support of its mission of labor rights and empowerment. The meal will feature "street food" provided by Underground Catering, and will be accompanied by a keynote address by journalist and union organizer Jorge Mujica, live music by Sonido Suave, and a local art silent auction. Goodman Community Center, 149 Waubesa St., 7 p.m., $25 and $10 kids. Tickets can be Dane County Farmers' Market before the big spring opening of the outdoor season on Capitol Square. Madison Senior Center, 330 W. Mifflin St., 8 a.m.-noon, $7.50 adults and $3.75 kids. Call 455-1999 for more info about the market.
Free slices of cake will be served at a kick-off party for Carl's Cake Club. The baker and cater, based out of the Market Street Diner and Bakery, 110 Market St., Sun Prairie, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Call 825-3377 for more info.
March Madness Chili Fest this evening. This all you can eat meal will include three kinds of chili complete with a variety of toppings, as well as chili dogs and brownies. Sherman Avenue United Methodist Church, 3705 N. Sherman Ave., 5 p.m., $7 adults and $4 for kids 10 and under. Call 244-0868 for more info.
The spring 2010 season of the Orange Tree Imports Cooking School is approaching, and its more than two dozen classes offer everything from kitchen basics to culinary tours of regional cuisines to sessions with chefs at prominent Madison restaurants. Prospective students are advised to submit a registration form by 5:30 p.m. today in order to get into their preferred classes. Orange Tree Imports, 1721 Monroe St. Call 255-8211 for more info.
Sunday, March 21
A strong show of support is the goal of a medical benefit for Laurie Gomoll-Koch, a Middleton salon owner who has been recovering from a life-threatening bout of meningitis since getting diagnosed with the illness late last year. The event includes a spaghetti dinner, live music by Petty Things and PlayGround of Sound, casino games, raffles, and a live auction. Hawthorn's Dining, 1150 Park St., Oregon, 1-9 p.m., $10. Call 291-2256 for more info.
invites supporters to Building Hope for the Children, a fundraiser for its work in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Along with a vegetarian dinner provided by Lulu's Deli and Restaurant, the event will feature a silent auction and presentation featuring the writings of Rachel Corrie and poetry by Mahmoud Darwish. All proceeds will go to help provide a new playground for children in Beit Sahour, West Bank and a water purification system in Rafah, Gaza through Maia Project organized by the Middle East Children's Alliance. First United Methodist Church, 203 Wisconsin Ave., 4:30-9 p.m., $15 for adults and $10 for kids 12 and under. Call 235-7870 for more info.
fundraiser dinner this evening in support of its staff trip to New York City for a special Farm to Table dinner on April 6. Owner and wine director Tammy Lax and Chef Derek Row have been invited for a second time by the Harvest, 21 N. Pinckney St., 5 p.m., $25. Call 255-6075 for reservations.
Monday, March 22
"Local mommy" Tara Verma is holding another session of her First Tastes: The Adventures of Baby Food Making class at Whole Foods Market, 3313 University Ave., 6-7:30 p.m., $15. Call 233-9566 for more info.
Chef Sabi will explore the possibilities of Luscious Lamb in his next cooking class exploring the cuisine of the Mediterranean. Patty Reedy and Andy Wersal of Rainbow Fleece Farm will be joining the lesson to discuss the grass-fed lamb and wool products that they produce. The menu for the class will feature lamb and sun-dried apricot tagine, lamb brat (sausage) paella, and lamb grape leaves. Willy Street Co-op, 1221 Williamson St., 6-8 p.m., $15 for owners and $25 for all others. Call 251-6776 for more info.