The Junior League of Chicago launches its new cookbook, Peeling the Wild Onion, Thursday from 5:30-8:30 PM at the Crate and Barrel at North and Clybourne. The admission fee of $45 ($50 at the door) includes a copy of the book, a $10 Crate and Barrel gift card, drinks, and hors d’oeuvres. Ten percent of Crate and Barrel’s sales for the evening go to the Junior League.
A Chicago skyline in chocolate chip cookies is the centerpiece of the AIDS Foundation’s annual World of Chocolate fund-raiser this Thursday from 5:30-9 PM at the Hilton Chicago. Chocolate also shows up here in cheesecake, martinis, and even seafood dishes: China Grill is offering a chocolate Thai shrimp cake with cactus-mango salsa, and the Sheraton will be serving chocolate-crusted tuna with a white chocolate reduction. Attendees can watch chocolate-making demos by a chef and students from the French Pastry School and browse a holiday bazaar; there’s also an open bar and buffet. $75 in advance, $100 at the door.
Treasure Island hosts a tasting of the Great Beers of Europe Thursday from 7-9 PM. Anthony Norkus of Louis Glunz Beer will lead the sampling of beers from England, Scotland, Ireland, Germany, Austria, and Italy. $20.
Tre Kronor’s julbord, a traditional Swedish Christmastime smorgasbord, returns this year with a lineup that includes nine kinds of herring, whole smoked salmon, shrimp salad, reindeer meat, cheeses, and a dessert table. Lutefisk (the gelatinous whitefish everyone loves to hate) also makes an appearance, as do Swedish meatballs and julskinka, or Christmas ham. It’s BYO; vodka or aquavit is suggested for the herring course. Friday and Saturday and 12/6-12/22, seatings at 5 or 5:30 and 8 PM. $46.95 (without tax and tip).
Hart Davis Hart Wine Co. hosts a $450 wine dinner at Tru on Friday featuring wines on sale at its Saturday auction, including the 1990 Moet et Chandon Cuvee Dom Perignon, Brut (Magnum), 1982 Chateau Mouton-Rothschild, and 1975 Chateau d’Yquem. The champagne reception begins at 7 PM, followed by a multicourse dinner. Lunch at Tru during the auction is $75.
The Lore of the Latke, a talk by local food writer and culinary historian Leah Zeldes at Kendall College Saturday at 10 AM, investigates the history of the potato latke and how it became an integral part of Hanukkah festivities. Presented by the Chicago Foodways Roundtable; latkes will of course be served. $3.
Saturday at 2 PM, Isabella and Olivia Gerasole sign The Spatulatta Cookbook at the Old Orchard Barnes & Noble. The Webcasts by the young sisters on kids’ cooking site spatulatta.com won a James Beard award last year.
Cyrano’s Bistrot holds its second annual champagne festival Sunday from 4-8 PM, featuring bubblies from 20 houses, including Lanson, Perrier Jouet, Besserat de Bellefon, Nicolas Feuillate, and Moet Chandon. There’ll also be hors d’oeuvres and food stations. $59.
The cost of lunch plus a $7 donation to Common Threads will allow you to try wines from around the world this week at David Burke’s Primehouse. Listed in order from Monday to Friday, the offerings will come from: Austria/Northern Italy/Hungary, Australia, France, North America, and Spain.
The Newberry Library hosts a talk on Cultural, Technological, and Sociological Changes in Cookbooks From the Early Twentieth Century to the Present Wednesday at 6:15 PM. Food historian and cookbook expert Penelope Bingham and cookbook author Connie Fairbanks will discuss how cookbooks and the whole culture of food and cooking have changed over the last 75 years. A reception with wine, soft drinks, and snacks precedes at 5:30 PM, and a book signing will follow the presentation. $9.
Quebec specialty brewer Unibroue produces mainly Belgian-style ales bottled “on the lees,” meaning they contain yeast sediment that allows the beer to continue fermenting after bottling. You can sample several of them for free Wednesday from 6-9 PM at the Logan Square location of Provenance Food and Wine, including Chambly Noire, a very dark ale, Seigneuriale, a hoppy amber ale, and Quelque Chose, a cherry ale that can be served hot or on the rocks.