Vosges Haut Chocolat doyenne Katrina Markoff hosts a cheese and chocolate tasting party tonight at 7 at the Lincoln Park boutique, 951 W. Armitage. She’s “chosen cheeses from around the world with a bit of acidity and nuttiness to complement the tannic yet sweet flavors of the cacao bean.” Tickets are $30 and include wine, savory appetizers, a “party favor” bag, and 10% off all purchases. She’ll do it again March 22 and 29. Call 773-296-9866.


Saturday and Sunday is the enduring, 26-year-old Maple Syrup Festival at North Park Village Nature Center, 5801 N. Pulaski. Visitors can tap their own sugar maple, watch the sap boil for syrup, have some pancakes, enjoy music, storytelling, and a farmer’s market. It runs from 10 AM to 3 PM each day and it’s free. Call 312-744-5472.

Ann Sather, 5207 N. Clark, celebrates its 20th anniversary in Andersonville with free slices of marzipan cake for every diner on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Call 773-271-6677.

Everybody’s Irish on St. Patrick’s Day, but some just push it to the edge . . .Geja’s Café, 340 W. Armitage, will be serving uh, green fondue and, ugh, canned Guinness. Call 773-281-9101.

More St. Pat’s incongruity: 17 West at the Berghoff, 17 W. Adams, which I seem to recall was once a famous German restaurant, is celebrating with corned beef and cabbage, lamb stew, soda bread, bacon cheddar Guinness soup, shamrock cookies, and a bunch of Irish-themed cocktails. Anyone caught drinking a Thin Mint at the Berghoff bar oughta be pelted with stale soda bread. It starts at 10 AM and features a kids’ party from 2 to 6 PM; 312-427-3170.

Monday is the second Slow Food Chicago March of the Chefs dinner benefiting Slow Food Nation, a four-day national confab set to be held in May 2008 in San Francisco. It’s at Lula, 2537 N. Kedzie, hosted by chefs Lea Tshilds and Jason Hammel and DeKalb farmers Adrian and Debbie Plapp, all Chicago delegates to the 2006 Terra Madre Congress in Turin. The three-course meal features a “Mystery Ingredient: Adrian Plapp’s lamb, head to tail.” No reservations necessary, just show up for regular dinner service. It’s $40; call 773-489-9554.

El Tesoro Master distiller Carlos Camarena will be hosting a tequila seminar and three-course dinner at Salud Tequila Lounge, 1471 N. Milwaukee, Monday 3/19 at 7:30 PM. It’s $40; call 773-276-7582 for reservations.

Executive chef Michael Mazza, an “Italian cuisine master,” according to the PR, will be hosting a cooking class at the extravagant and absurd Il Mulino, on Tuesday 3/20 from 6 to 7:30 PM. He’s making lamb sausage with polenta and Barolo wine sauce, trenette with lamb ragout, and zabiglione and fresh berries. It’s $45 and includes free samples. Call 312-379-0139.