Food trips: cheeses to Riviera Maya breezes

Let’s build your appetite to indulge in something new. It’s not hard work.

Milwaukee-based Funjet Vacations and Taste of Home Cooking School are combining resources to offer a tropical culinary getaway to Riviera Maya, near Cancun, Mexico.

The Jan. 4-8, 2012, trip costs roughly $3,050 for an all-inclusive “gourmet experience” for two people who share accommodations at El Dorado Spa Resorts. Cooking demos, on-the-beach dining and personal tours of facilities, including greenhouses, are on the itinerary.

For more: www.funjet.com/tasteofhome, 888-558-6654. That’s also the place to go to, through Dec. 1, for a chance to win a free trip for two.

Much closer to home, Taste of Home Cooking School hosts events at Jefferson County Fair Park, 503 N. Jackson St., Jefferson, Nov. 8; Italian Conference Center, 631 E. Chicago St., Milwaukee, Nov. 8; La Crosse Center, 300 Harborview Plaza, La Crosse, Nov. 10; Rhinelander High School, 665 Coolidge Ave., Rhinelander, Nov. 14; and Ullsvik Hall, 30 S. Hickory St., Platteville, Nov. 16.

Shows tend to begin at 7 p.m. and admission is $12 (some sites offer preferred seating at a higher charge). Those who attend gain recipes, coupons, other goodies and door prizes. For details, consult www.tasteofhome.com/cooking-schools.

For food enthusiasts who love books:

“Farmsted Chef” (www.farmsteadchef.com) provides tips, inspiration and recipes about how to return to the roots of culinary independence by becoming frugal and self-sufficient. The authors are Lisa Kivirist and John Ivanko of Inn Serendipity, a bed and breakfast near Monroe. The book cost is $19.95 from New Society Publishers (www.newsociety.com, 800-567-6772).

The couple will talk about their book Nov. 10: 9-11 a.m. at Lakeland College (Lakeshore Building, free admission), Cleveland; and 6 p.m. at Mead Public Library, Sheboygan (free, but registration at 920-459-3400 is required).

For more about the laid-back and sustainable Inn Serendipity: www.innserendipity.com, 608-329-7056.

The multi-purpose, spiral-bound “Wisconsin Local Foods Calendar” is a handbag-sized 2012 datebook, a cookbook and a coaching guide about when locally grown ingredients are in season. Madison foodies Joan Peterson and Terese Allen produced this colorful guide to sustainable eating; profits go to the nonprofit REAP (Research, Education, Action and Policy) Food Group.

The book’s theme, regional farmers’ markets, also includes vendor interviews. The cost is $16.95. For more: www.wisconsinlocalfoodsjournal.com, 608-233-5488.

How do you like your chocolate? “Dark,” “milk” and “white” are incomplete answers.

Kohler Original Recipe Chocolates is introducing a new trio of smooth, delicate and gooey chocolate-cloaked caramels: Dark Chocolate Salted Vanilla Bean, Milk Chocolate Pumpkin Spice (with nutmeg, ginger and pepper), and Milk Chocolate Rosemary (with orange peel).

You’ll find them at the Craverie Chocolatier Café, 745D Woodlake Rd., Kohler, through December for $2.25 apiece. Or order a slender, six-piece box for $11.95 at www.kohlerchocolates.com, 800-778-5591.

The caramels made their debut at the recent Kohler Food and Wine Experience, where Sartori Cheese was assessing consumer reaction to a limited-edition aged goat cheese and an Alpine-style cheese, but that sure wasn’t your only opportunity to see what’s new in the world of Badger cheesemaking.

The third annual Wisconsin Original Cheese Festival, Nov. 4-5 at Monona Terrace in downtown Madison, showcases about 150 products from 35 cheesemakers. The popular event includes workshops, tastings, tours and dinners; registration is crucial and many offerings already are at capacity.

Learn more at www.wicheesefest.com, 608-358-7837.

Newly opened in Milwaukee: The Rumpus Room, 1030 N. Water St., is the newest player in the much-respected Bartolotta Restaurant Group. The gastropub provides a classy twist to pub food, using marquee ingredients and down-home choices.

That means meatloaf that contains Strauss veal, beer cheese soup using Carr Valley products, house-pickled vegetables, deviled eggs, chopped chicken liver and a lot more.

For details: www.rumpusroommke.com, 414-292-0100.

Behind-the-scenes culinary tours for two in Colorado – your choice of Denver, Boulder or Aspen – are among the getaways being auctioned until Nov. 20 at satw.org (look under “featured news”). The Culinary Connectors (www.culinaryconnectors.com) offering is one of five dozen auction items; closer to home are Apostle Islands and Sheboygan vacations.

Event proceeds benefit the SATW Foundation, which recognizes and rewards outstanding work in travel journalism; see www.satwf.org.

“Roads Traveled” columns began in 2002 and are the result of anonymous travel, independent travel, press trips and travel journalism conferences. What we choose to cover is not contingent on subsidized or complimentary travel.