Apr 032016

Wine  SpiritsInteract with wine & spirits in a different way this week, April 3rd – 8th, courtesy of the Hawthorne Hotel. More than classes, these are full course “meals” in the art of sipping, listening, learning and being entertained by connoisseurs to become one yourself.

Speaking of entertainment, there will be tasty music to drink in afterwards from 6:30 to 8:30pm at Nat’s  which serves a modern European flair cuisine in a historic setting.

Wines can be intimidating, but you’ll cover the basics in a fun class that gets you to sip, slurp, swoosh and spit (if you wish). How do you best order wine in a restaurant? What does that gibberish on the label mean? Learn how to pair wine with food and walk away with renewed confidence in your wine skills!

Then listen to Molly Pinto-Madigan. Hailed for her angelic voice and haunting compositions, Molly won first place in WUMB’s Boston Folk Festival Songwriting Contest and was named “Artist of the Year” at Salem State University, her alma mater. She has submerged herself in the dark, luscious world of ballads, with the whisperings of the American and European traditional music.

Awaken the pirate in yourself! Salem’s very best Rum distilleries have it all; no rum-running here, but just a good old clash of two top local spirits. Let’s see who can impress you the most with their cocktail skills and vote on your favorite rum-style while learning about how distilleries work.

Afterwards, as the perfect Monday accompaniment, Kristen and Seth – a current Salem State University student and alumni – form a dynamic jazz duo that plays the upright bass and guitar, performing jazz standards and other music in a jazz style. .

From soccer to fashion to fast cars; Italians do it with passion. Come and educate yourself about Italian wines imported directly from the owner’s vineyard. And with that let’s get jazzy as The Cheese Shop of Salem owner Peter Endicott will pair up some smelly cheeses that will astound you in texture and flavors. Go on…you can do it!

Then stay for a live performance by Nick Consone, a singer/songwriter in the Boston area since 2004. His style ranges from blues to rock, from the 70’s all the way to top 40 of today. Nick is an active member in several different bands, all of which range in style.

If you already visited the Asia in Amsterdam exhibit at the PEM, you know that luxury is of all times, and nothing encompasses that more than sparkling wines. Cava, Prosecco and Champagne houses offer the more refined bubbles to enhance your palate. And what better combination than to share this with the top quality of Belgian chocolates?

Afterwards listen to Salem State University alumni Betty Bounce’s Gypsy Jazz Trio, performing music in the style of legendary Belgian-born jazz guitarist and composer Django Reinhardt.

The liquid gold of the south has gained much popularity in recent years. Whether you are a neat or on the rocks guy or gal, come taste the various styles of bourbon. And while you are at it, pair them up with some odd bacon bites to round up the night.

Then join Andrew DiMarzo, a local solo-acoustic act with influences from Andy Mckee to Martin Sexton, from Bernhoft to Glen Hansard. His sound can be said to be a mix of percussive-acoustic, funk, soul and folk music.

Come and listen to the brew masters of Salem’s Notch Brewery and Far From The Tree Cider on starting and improve your own home brew and get an insight into their stories. Obviously a few samples will be on hand to put the theory into practice or philosophically the practice back into theory, if that is even possible.

And stay in Nat’s for an evening with The Nick G Project, featuring Salem State University faculty member Nick Giarratani. Playing vocals and guitars Nick is joined at various times by some of Salem’s best musicians including Zach Bridges on upright bass, Seitu on steel guitar, guitar and vocals and Paul Dumas on percussion and vocals.

Salem may be known for spooky things like unseen ghosts, but each night this week, you will experience contact with real spirits (& wines). Tickets are only $15 per person, please order online. Local musical entertainment curated by Creative Salem. The Hawthorne hotel is located at 18 Washington Square W, Salem, MA. Call 978-744-4080 or 800-SAY-STAY .

Jan 282016

Don’t miss Salem’s sweetest event of the year! Salem Main Streets, the Salem Chamber of Commerce, Destination Salem, and local retailers, restaurants, and businesses invite you to attend the 14th annual Salem’s So Sweet Chocolate & Ice Sculpture Festival. A decadent tradition of delectable chocolate, sparkling ice sculptures, and Valentine’s Day shopping await you Feb. 5-7th!

For example, in celebration of the chocolate aspect of the Festival, many of Salem’s finest restaurants will feature special chocolate offerings on their menus, including desserts, cocktails, and inventive sauces during the weekend of Feb. 6-7th.

Elsewhere, participating Salem retailers will offer innovative displays and items geared toward chocolate and Valentine’s Day, ranging from a chocolate fondue fountain to discounts on jewelry.

“This year,” reveals Kylie Sullivan, Executive Director of Salem Main Streets, “we are introducing a new in-store promotion called ‘Sweet 10%‘ – make a full-price purchase at one participating downtown business and get 10% off your purchase at next participating business!”

We also have a record-breaking TWENTY-THREE ice sculptures that will be placed all over the downtown and various entry points on Feb. 6th.

Kylie says, “I’m really excited to see some of our new businesses getting involved (Jolie Tea Company, The Bridge at 211, and TBT Post are just a few examples), the return of some traditional favorites (including a replica of The Friendship down near the water, thanks to the National Park Service), and some businesses thinking way outside the box – Rockafellas is actively working on an ice bar that will be built outside on their patio!”

Be sure to make plans for a special evening stroll on Saturday, Feb. 6th, when sculptures will be temporarily illuminated.

A full list of participating businesses and promotions will be available in brochures distributed around town and online at www.salemmainstreets.org.

When asked why she thought the Festival has had such staying power in the community, Kylie offered, “Quite frankly, there’s nothing else like it going on. By the time February rolls around, the “Ice Pikachu & Charizardmagic” of winter has faded away – this event helps brings that magic back, as the ice sculptures truly transform the downtown. People have recovered from the holidays and they’re eager to get outside, walk around, and visit their favorite businesses again. Plus, who can really say no to chocolate?”

But is chocolate beneficial to you? Besides it tasting so good?

Looking across the Internet, we found this description of the redeeming values of chocolate from Hy-Vee, operator of over 230 retail outlets in the Midwest.

“Chocolate contains iron, potassium, fiber and some of our favorite antioxidants, flavonoids. The flavonoids found in chocolate may be able to do things like relax blood vessels and promote healthy circulation, both of which may lead to healthier blood pressure levels. Chocolate also contains polyphenols, antioxidants that protect the body from free radical damage. Of course, the darker the chocolate, the healthier it is. Start with 57% cacao dark chocolate, or even semi-sweet, and work your way up until you find the perfect dark chocolate fit for you.”

It’s almost as if they were also inviting you to attend the Salem’s So Sweet kick-off event, a Chocolate and Wine Tasting, on Friday, Feb. 5th from 6:30 – 8:30 pm, at Colonial Hall at Rockafellas, 227 Essex St., where you can indeed sample all levels of chocolate and find your perfect shade and taste.

This luscious tasting event features wine and chocolate samplings from premier Salem restaurants, stores, and sweet shops. Tickets can now be purchased over the phone by calling 978-744-0004, online at http://salemmainstreets.org/festivals/salem-so-sweet/, or in person at the Salem Chamber of Commerce, 265 Essex Street, Suite 101. This event is the highlight of the season and sells out quickly!

Other activities include:

  • The Salem Trolley offers trolley rides around the festival route (weather permitting) during the day on Feb. 6th and 7th for a discounted price. Pick-up locations will be at the Visitor Center, Pickering Wharf, and near Rockafellas on Washington Street.
  • New this year, Salem Parks Recreation and Community Services will operate a small skating rink at the Museum Place Mall Fountain. Come out for hot cocoa and family fun on Feb. 6th from 5 to 8 pm and Feb. 7th from noon to 4 pm!

Visit our website for more events and details about the festival as they become available: www.salemmainstreets.org – or follow our Facebook page for all the latest updates https://www.facebook.com/salemsosweet.

And, of course don’t forget to post pictures as you visit Salem MA with your loved ones for a sweet experience during Salem’s So Sweet Chocolate & Ice Sculpture Festival.

Jan 212009

Salem's So Sweet Chocolate and Ice Sculpture Festival
Come downtown Salem to enjoy beautiful ice sculptures, romance and chocolate, February 6 – 14, 2009!

Friendship Ice Sculpture 2008 at Pickering Wharf

Friendship Ice Sculpture 2008 at Pickering Wharf

It’s time for the 7th annual Salem’s So Sweet, Chocolate & Ice Sculpture Festival. A decadent tradition of delectable chocolate, sparkling ice sculptures and Valentine’s Day shopping. For more information go to our Salem’s So Sweet page.

The festival kicks off Continue reading »