Food & Drink

New class setup at the Ritz-Carlton Charlotte’s Cocoa Lab

Cocoa Lab at the Ritz Carlton Charlotte features hands-on baking and pastry classes in a restaurant kitchen setting.
Cocoa Lab at the Ritz Carlton Charlotte features hands-on baking and pastry classes in a restaurant kitchen setting. Ritz-Carlton Charlotte

The Cocoa Lab, the sweets-focused cooking classes at the Ritz Carlton Charlotte, has made a couple of changes to its Saturday morning workshop classes. They’ve reduced the class size, from 8 to 6, so students get more instruction time, and they’ve added a continental breakfast.

The Cocoa Lab classes are hands-on classes that include free parking, a keepsake apron and recipes for $100. Hours are usually 8:30 a.m.-noon Saturdays. Coming up: Summer Fruit Classics on June 20 and July 18. Details: 704-547-2244.

North Carolina in your beer glass

The State of Origin Beer Fest, scheduled June 13 in Morganton, will include an emphasis on N.C. ingredients, according to organizers. All the breweries have to be based in North Carolina and make beers with ingredients sourced in-state. That includes staples like hops, malts and water, as well as specialty ingredients like carrots, kiwis, wildflowers and beets.

“We look for the majority of ingredients to be from North Carolina and every year we will become more stringent on that,” says festival organizer David Bennett of Fonta Flora Brewery. “The great thing is the breweries are following suit and using this as a challenge to create beers they have not done before. Many of these beers are one-off creations that once they’re gone, they’re gone. It’s definitely limited and exclusive in nature.”

The 25 breweries expected include Birdsong and Triple C of Charlotte, as well as Wicked Weed of Asheville and Fonta Flora and Catawba Brewing of Morganton. Tickets are $40 for general admission and $60 for VIP tickets that include added hours. Details: 828-238-6229 or www.fontaflora.com/festival.

Pineville market is open for the season

Farmers market season is in full swing. Add one more to your list: The Pineville Farmers Market is now open on Saturday mornings at 100 Dover St. Details: 704-307-1112 or find them on Facebook. Find a mappable list of farmers markets all around the region at http://www.charlotteobserver.com/living/food-drink/article19797780.html.

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