Choc-O-Pain Wins Best Baguette in Bread Competition

Plus: Black Friday specials and other food events in Rio Grande, Freehold, Jersey City and beyond.

Last week at the inaugural Tiptree World Bread Awards, Choc-O-Pain French Bakery & Café’s Clémence Danko won the top prize in the Baguette category. Danko is French by birth but moved to New Jersey and, after studying cuisine and working, opened her first Choc-O-Pain in Hoboken. Judges for the competition included Jim Lahey of Sullivan Street, Zachary Golper of Bien Cuit, Amy Sherber of Amy’s Bread, and David and Tracey Zabar. Choc-O-Pain currently has four locations throughout Hoboken and Jersey City. (It’s a good time to stop by and help them celebrate.) Choc-O-Pain French Bakery & Café, 157 1st Street, Hoboken; 201-710-5175

Holiday Wine Trail Weekend at Hawk Haven
Friday, November 23, 11 AM – 5 PM

Several wineries are participating in the special tastings and holiday freebies of the Garden State Wine Growers Association’s Holiday Wine Trail Weekend (Friday through Sunday), but if you stop by Hawk Haven you’ll get the added bonus of Black Friday savings. They’re also hosting a gift giving campaign called The Giving Vine, so bring in new, unwrapped toys or new, unused children’s outerwear and be rewarded with a complimentary wine tasting card. If you’re really going out on Black Friday, we can think of worse destinations. Hawk Haven Vineyard, 600 South Railroad Avenue, Rio Grande; 609-846-7347

Make Your Own Beer at The Brewer’s Apprentice
Friday November 23, 2–5:30 PM

If you really want to get out of the house after Thanksgiving, check out this next-level brewing class at The Brewer’s Apprentice in Freehold. Tickets seem steep at $225 to $350, but that buys access for you and three friends (prices depend on which beer you brew). After selecting from one of their 200+ beer styles (pick ahead here), you’ll get professional Brewer’s Apprentice guidance through the process of selecting, weighing and grinding ingredients. Two to three weeks later, you come back for another two-and-a-half-hour bottling course, and then you get to walk away with 132 12-ounce bottles of beer (for that other upcoming holiday season). The Brewer’s Apprentice, 865 Route 33, Suite 4, Freehold; 732-863-9411

Sleighs & Leis at Cellar 335
Friday, November 23 through Christmas

Maybe you’re lucky enough to know chef Jamie Knott’s cooking through the Saddle River Inn, but if you haven’t checked out his ode to Tiki culture in Jersey City, now’s the time. According to Knott, from the day after Thanksgiving to Christmas proper, the Cellar 335 restaurant space will be “decorated to the nines,” with drink specials flowing and holiday additions to the already seasonally rotating menu (some examples from the chef: “Turkey Bao, Chestnut Aioli, Cranberry Chutney” and “Imperial Fried Rice [with] Autumn Vegetables and Braised Pork”). Cellar 335, 335 Newark Avenue, Jersey City; 201-222-1422

Flavor of the Month: Macaron 101 at Dana’s Bakery HQ
Sunday, November 25, 11 AM – 1:30 PM

Most of us will still be avoiding ovens the Sunday after Thanksgiving, but for anyone who either wasn’t on pie duty or just seriously loves baking, head over to Hackensack, where pro pastry chefs at Dana’s Bakery headquarters will lead an intensive, two-and-a-half hour lesson on the classic French macaron. Tickets are $100. Dana’s Bakery HQ, 69 Wesley Street, Suite 2, Hackensack; [email protected]

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