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This year, the back-to-school bustle isn’t just for the kids. Join youngsters across the Centennial State in the return to the classroom and hone your skills (and your taste buds) with one of these food- and drink-inspired lessons.
Sabrage University from Noble Riot
When: August 29, 3–4 p.m.
Opening a bottle of champagne with a sword is arguably the ultimate party trick—and this class from the sommeliers and wine professionals at Noble Riot will show you how. “For the most part, it seems more dangerous than it is,” says owner Scott Mattson. “If you do it right, it’s pretty foolproof.”
Legend has it, “sabrage,” as the technique is known, dates back to the Napoleonic Wars when the great emperor himself was gifted a post-victory bottle of Champagne. Because he was still clad in armor—and therefore less dexterous than usual—he opened the bottle with his saber. Napoleon’s cavalrymen were impressed—who wouldn’t be?—and the tradition continues today.
In Noble Riot’s course, participants learn more about sabrage’s backstory and proper technique before picking up the saber for themselves. Once the swords are safely put away, they have a chance to sample the bubbly. “There is no consumption before the sharp objects come out,” Mattson laughs.
Cooking Classes from Uncorked Kitchen & Wine Bar
When: Classes occur regularly
Learn the correct way to chop an onion (keep that stem on!), debunk the mystery of the stick that came with your knife set (it’s a honing steel, and it straightens the knife’s edge), and more with a cooking class from Uncorked Kitchen. Its late August line-up of in-person classes includes options like Flavors of Hawaii, Cubano Dinner & Mojitos, and Sushi Night. Come September, it’s Green Chile Extravaganza time, complete with recipes for traditional pork green chile stew and surprising green chile brittle with vanilla ice cream.
The beauty of these classes: A professional chef teaches new skills and, once the food is made, you’ll eat the fruits of your labor—all among a group of new-found friends. “We really want people to feel like it’s a cooking-class-that-meets-dinner-party,” says Lindsay Joyce, customer experience manager. “We want people to learn something, but we’ve always felt like we wanted to be a community hub where people could come to gather together.”
If you’re not ready to spend time with folks outside of your immediate circle, opt for one of the virtual classes (currently available as private events, though public options are expected to return later this fall). Or explore My Uncorked Kitchen, the school’s expansive library of how-to videos and recipes, starting at just $30 a month.
Coffee Tasting Experience with Bivouac Coffee Co.
When: Next class is September 11 from 9–11 a.m.
Whether you’re a gotta-have-it-first-thing-in-the-morning-to-function drinker or a sit-and-sip-while-relaxing-with-the-paper savorer, coffee is something most of us drink every day. But are you drinking your perfect cup each time? Bivouac Coffee’s tasting experience is designed to help java-lovers dig into their personal preferences, says Scott Wilton, Bivouac’s operations manager and head roaster who also teaches the Tasting Experience class. “Everybody tastes things differently,” he says. “Exploring that is super fun.”
The two-hour, eight-person class—which is purposely small to allow plenty of time for questions—delves into coffee-growing processes, coffee descriptions and brewing methods, and how to discern flavor notes. The best part: A blind taste test, where Wilton presents four different coffee origins and points out specific flavors.
French Regional Cooking, Provence, with Cook Street School of Culinary Arts
When: August 27 from 6–9:30 p.m.
French culture is almost synonymous with good food. “You can’t really overstate it,” says Cook Street executive chef John Parks, pointing to common cooking terms like “sauté” and “bisque” that originate from the French language. “The codification and the gold standard of the basic techniques or basic name for something [in the kitchen]—it’s all French.”
Of course, myriad cooking techniques and flavors come out of the land of the Eiffel Tower. Cook Street’s French cooking class focuses on Provence, a southeastern region in France known for its sunny weather, fresh herbs, and wine blends like rosé. Participants learn to make a three-course meal—chickpea panisse with shrimp and olive tapenade, pistachio-crusted lamb chops with ratatouille, and lavender lemon sorbet—and then eat their hard work while sipping regional wines.
World of Belgian Beers with Bruz Beers
When: September 4 from 11 a.m.–1:30 p.m.
Sample your way through 12 to 15 different Belgian-style brews while learning the history and intricacies of each with the experts at Bruz Beers and their monthly World of Belgian Beers class. Participants walk away with a deeper appreciation for Belgian culture, a better understanding of their own Belgian beer preferences, and a list of other Belgian beers to ask for at their local liquor store. The 2.5-hour-long class is a mini version of Bruz Beers’ annual 10-day pilgrimage to the motherland, says the brewery’s co-owner Ryan Evans. “It’s our way of bringing Belgium to you.”
Keen to provide a fun and safe experience, Evans notes that they invite participants to bring along a non-drinker or designated driver for free.