An Indulgent Master Class in Charcuterie

Plus: A special cocktail dinner, access to rare wines and more.

Guest Chef Dinner Series at Jockey Hollow
Wednesday, January 8, 5:30 pm

When we spoke with AJ Capella back in October, he told us he was as surprised as he was happy to be taking the reins at Jockey Hollow after Craig Polignano stepped down. He also mentioned he was planning to bring some friends aboard for a guest chef series once things settled down. Consider things sufficiently settled down as of January 8, when Jockey Hollow will host the first of five events in the “Chef’s Collaboration Series,” featuring some of the Garden State’s top talents. The first dinner is with none other than Capella’s friend and mentor Anthony Bucco, who’s received ample praise for Felina in Ridgewood. Other chefs coming to the Jockey Hollow kitchen will include Ryan DePersio of RD Culinary Consulting (January 15), Jamie Knott of Saddle River Inn (January 22), Brett Smith of Fossil Farms (January 30) and Robbie Felice of Osteria Crescendo (February 5). Ticket prices are relatively reasonable: $102 for six courses, or $162 for those same six courses with wine pairings. Dinners are very likely to sell out, so especially if there’s a chef on the list you’re dying to dine with, book soon. Jockey Hollow Bar & Kitchen, 110 South Street, Morristown; 973-644-3810.

“Praise the Lard” Charcuterie Class at David Burke at Orange Lawn
Saturday, January 11 through Sunday, January 12, 9 am–3 pm both days

If you know someone who loves—like, truly loves—charcuterie, you still have just over a week to buy them tickets to this. And let’s just get this part over with now: Tickets are $625. But before you grab your wallet and run screaming, let’s break down what the ticket buys. The event is not one but two days with chef Brian Polcyn, the guy who literally wrote the book on charcuterie. Polcyn, whose career spans four decades and ownership of six restaurants, is one of the earliest and now foremost practitioners of butchery and charcuterie in the country. He learned from the best in his early 20s and has carried that passion with him since, so you’ll be in expert hands. The overarching theme is meat; you’ll learn how to correctly butcher it as well as how to make delicious charcuterie from it (think: terrines, dried sausage, bacon, pâté and rillettes). You’ll also get a copy of Polcyn’s book, Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking, and Curing. Tickets may go quickly, so if you or a gourmet in your life is in the market for the ultimate Charcuterie 101, sign up online today. David Burke at Orange Lawn, 305 North Ridgewood Road, South Orange; 973-552-2280.

Cellar Tasting at Hawk Haven Winery
Saturday, January 18 or Sunday, January 19, 11 am–6 pm

Daniel Brennan of Decibel Wines recently told us Hawk Haven is among the Jersey wineries in which he’s most interested. Whether or not you’ve tasted Hawk Haven wines yet, the January Cellar Tasting is your chance to get an up-close-and-personal peek into the winery’s heart and soul. Some special selections, for both tasting and purchasing, will be on hand this weekend only. And the price is right—just $20 gets you access to small-production bottles, wines aged in the winemaker’s private cellar, and rare/older vintages. The tastings run from 11 am to 6 pm on both Saturday and Sunday—the perfect distraction from your weekend errands. Tickets are available at the winery. Hawk Haven Winery, 600 South Railroad Avenue, Rio Grande; 609-846-7347.

Silk City Cocktail Pairing Dinner at Blue Morel
Friday, January 24, 7 pm

If you’re not yet acquainted with Clifton’s Silk City Distillery (a “farm-to-bottle” operation, distilling spirits from some of Sussex County’s own agriculture), here’s your chance. This dinner at Blue Morel will also help you gain a better understanding of how to thoughtfully (and successfully) pair cocktails with cuisine. If you’re more familiar with beer or wine dinner pairings, buckle up for some fun and variation (and higher ABVs). Blue Morel’s executive chef, Dennis Mathews, will be preparing a winter-inspired menu alongside a selection of cocktails made from Silk City spirits (the selection is anchored by bourbon but also includes white rum, rye whiskey, vodka and gin). Considering Silk City has some interesting new releases slated for early 2020 (Apple Brandy Cask-Finished Bourbon, anyone?), there’s a good chance the tasting could includesome preview sips. Tickets are $69 before tax and tip; reservations can be made by phone. Blue Morel, 2 Whippany Road, Morristown; 973-451-2619.

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