Festivals: They’re not just for summer any more
So, it’s still January. We know that because last week we had a day that started out at 6 degrees — whose temperature rose to a high of 13.
We’ve put the holidays away. The tree needles are out of the carpet in the living room. Hopefully friends and family have been thanked for gifts (and I hope to keep my resolve to stay in better touch throughout the year this time).
Playoff games have been watched. Now, all we have ahead are the San Francisco 49ers vs. the Baltimore Ravens in Super Bowl 47 on Sunday, Feb. 3.
Some of us have hit the gym (no names, please, but it starts with a “J”) and the after-Christmas sales (I am jealous). Those nameless ones have even bought some of next year’s Christmas gifts. I stand in awe.
The house is starting to feel like a hedgehog’s den. I’m the hedgehog, curled up in a furry ball keeping warm in my underground chamber, sleeping more, living off my fat layer, waiting for winter to be over. It’s definitely time to get up, out and about. With that in mind, why not make plans this weekend to venture away from home and do something different. Here is a small selection of what’s available for winter fun.
From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. today (Jan. 26), the Vermilion Winter Reservation Carriage Barn in Lorain County hosts sled dog presentations, ice carving demonstrations, sleigh rides ($1 per person, 42 inches and under free), and refreshments for purchase. There’s a chili cookoff and face painting for the children.
Coming up on Feb. 2 is AleFest, a Columbus craft beer festival showcasing many different styles of beer in an educational and responsible way. The theme is billed as “Beers of character for characters who enjoy beer.”
“For the Love of Chocolate” is a festival put on by the Medina County Chapter of the American Red Cross in Medina from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 2. Features of this one are 10-15 tastings and a baking contest.
Finally, the Winter Blues Festival in Findlay on Saturday, Feb. 16, is worth a stop. Offered to festival goers are great food and libations, and live entertainment from The Millstream Mojo Band and blues artist Chris Shutters, and Josh Garrett and the Bottomline.
Whatever you choose to eat at the festivals, make this scrumptious dessert ahead and enjoy it for dessert when you get home.
CLASSIC CHOCOLATE MOUSSE
3/4 cup chilled heavy cream, divided
4 large egg yolks
1/4 cup espresso or strong coffee, room temperature
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 tablespoons sugar, divided
6 ounces semisweet chocolate (61-72 percent cacao), chopped
2 large egg whites
Beat 1/2 cup cream in a medium bowl until stiff peaks form; cover and chill.
Combine egg yolks, espresso, salt, and 2 tablespoons sugar in a large metal bowl. Set over a saucepan of gently simmering water (do not allow bowl to touch water).
Cook, whisking constantly, until mixture is lighter in color and almost doubled in volume and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the mixture registers 160 degrees Fahrenheit, about 1 minute.
Remove bowl from pan. Add chocolate; whisk until melted and smooth. Let stand, whisking occasionally, until room temperature.
Using an electric mixer, beat egg whites in another medium bowl on medium speed until foamy. With mixer running, gradually beat in remaining 1 tablespoon sugar. Increase speed to high and beat until firm peaks form.
Fold egg whites into chocolate in 2 additions; fold whipped cream into mixture just to blend.
Divide mousse among six teacups or 4-ounce ramekins. Chill until firm, at least 2 hours.
Do ahead: Mousse can be made 1 day ahead; cover and keep chilled. Let stand at room temperature for 10 minutes before serving.
Before serving, whisk remaining 1/4 cup cream in a small bowl until soft peaks form; dollop over mousse.
Linda Conway Eriksson can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com.