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Susan Axelrod

Susan Axelrod's food writing career began in the kitchen; she owned a restaurant and catering business before turning to journalism more than a decade ago. By day, she is an online content producer for and the Portland Press Herald. To relax, she bakes, gardens and hikes with her husband and their two dogs, preferably followed by a cocktail. Susan can be contacted at 791-6310 or On Twitter: @susansaxelrod

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Things to do This week

Posted: November 29, 2013

Eat, drink and be merry: Maine events flavor the holidays

Written by: Susan Axelrod - staff writer -

Kennebunkport’s Christmas Prelude (Press Herald file photo)

‘Tis the season, for tree-trimming, carol-singing, gift-wrapping, cookie-decorating and bar-hopping dressed as Santa, making elaborate gingerbread houses or slurping chocolate martinis from an ice luge. Making merry with food and drink gets everyone in the holiday spirit, especially if there are spirits of the liquid variety involved. Here is your guide to delicious holiday festivities in Portland and beyond.

Santas at Brian Boru for SantaCon (Press Herald file photo)

SantaCon 2013

Saturday, Dec. 7 | 5 pm-12:30 am
What better way to get into the Christmas spirit than by dressing as one of the Clauses (Mr. or Mrs.), an elf, snowman or reindeer and bar hopping around Portland?! The first or second stop usually includes time to order food and the annual group photo takes place at the tree in Monument Square at 7 p.m.
How much: Pay as you go (and tip well).

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“Beer and Booze” Dinner

Sunday, Dec. 8 | 5 pm
Infiniti Fermentation and Distillation | 250 Commercial St., Portland
Five-course dinner features innovative holiday fare paired with Infiniti’s house-brewed beer and cocktails. Make reservations in person or by calling 221-8889
How much: $55

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Holiday Wine Pairings

Friday, Dec. 13 | 5:30-8 pm
The Farmhouse at Cellardoor Winery | 367 Youngtown Rd., Lincolnville
Test your senses and learn all about the basics of aroma identification, the art and science of food and wine pairings, and why some work while others don’t. You’ll sip on wine and munch on hors d’oeuvres by Chef Abigale Avey of Trillium Caterers.
How much: $35 per person

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Dough Ball

Friday, Dec. 13 | 7 pm
The Opera House at Boothbay Harbor | 86 Townsend Ave.
Don your tuxedo or your cleanest pair of jeans, grab some friends and stop in for a night of local food and drink, with dancing if you wish to music by the Sheepscot Jazz & Swing Band. Bid on the silent auction items including original art, boat trips, and a Willy Wonka-like ice cream party, and be there when the judges announce the winners of this year’s gingerbread house competition.  Don’t be fooled by the term “gingerbread house,” in past years entries have included gingerbread snow globes, miniature log cabins, enormous confectionery sock monkeys, Victorian homes, the Tooth Fairy’s house, Noah’s Ark and a gingerbread styled Olympic ski-jump.
How much: $20 in advance/$30 at the door; price includes everything but cash bar and all proceeds benefit the Opera House. For tickets: 633-5159.


Fire & Ice at Nonantum (Nonantum Resort photo)

Fire & Ice at Nonantum

Friday and Saturday, Dec. 13 and 14 | 5-10 pm
Nonantum Resort | 95 Ocean Ave., Kennebunkport
Food from local restaurants, live music, bonfires and of course, ice bars, make this two day event quite the waterfront holiday party.
How much: $25

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This event is part of Kennebunkport’s annual Christmas Prelude


(Press Herald file photo)

7th Annual Great Gingerbread Spectacular

Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 14 and 15 | 10 am – 4 pm
The Opera House at Boothbay Harbor | 86 Townsend Ave.
Tour the whimsical gingerbread exhibits, help yourself to free hot cocoa, visit the midcoast’s most extensive holiday bake sale presented by The Friends of the Opera House, and settle in to listen to music provided by local talents throughout the day.  The bragging rights associated with winning the coveted “Most Spectacular” or “Most Obsessive Compulsive” or “Most Hilarious” last throughout the holiday season. Don’t have time to create a gingerbread house of your own this season? Come and buy one at the Spectacular, or purchase one and have it donated to a needy local family.
How much: Free. Donations accepted to help underwrite the fun.


Dandelion Spring Farm Pop-up Winter Holiday Celebration

Saturdays, Dec. 14 and 21 | 10 am-3 pm
Piccolo | 111 Middle St., Portland
The Newcastle farm will be at Piccolo Restaurant for a mini farmers market featuring the farm’s meat, dairy, vegetables and more, plus Piccolo pastry chef Ilma Lopez’ cakes.

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Cozy Cottage Workshop

Saturday, Dec. 14 | 9:30 am, 11 am, 1 pm or 3 pm
Wilbur’s of Maine | 174 Lower Main St., Freeport
Gingerbread is one thing, but a chocolate cottage is, well, something else. At this event for all ages, you will assemble and decorate a holiday house. Use it as a centerpiece on your holiday table and you’ve got dessert covered.
How much: $25 per house

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Taste the Season

Saturday, Dec. 14| 11am – 1:30 pm
Dunaway Center | 23 School St., Ogunquit
Taste a variety of foods (including chowder) from local dining establishments. Beer and wine tastings, too. Attendees are asked to bring a donation for the local food pantry or animal shelter.
How much: VIP early admission at 11 am: $15. Regular admission beginning at 11:45 am: $10.

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This event is part of Ogunquit’s annual Christmas by the Sea


Holiday Whisky Tasting

Saturday, Dec. 14 | 5:30-7 pm
Jefferds Tavern | 3 Lindsay Rd., York
Pay tribute to the Scotsmen who settled part of York by raising a glass at historic Jefferds Tavern. A whisky connoisseur will explain the differences in a variety of single malt Scotch whiskeys, served smoked haddock chowder, oatcakes baked on the hearth, cheese and chutney.
How much: $30/members; $35/nonmenbers

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