Among serious foodies, it’s a big deal just to dine at one of the signature establishments owned by acclaimed chefs like Thomas Keller and Daniel Boulud. But Tom Michaels, a plant pathologist from east Tennessee, went one better last year, becoming a supplier to these and other kitchen stars. As chronicled in this column, his Périgord truffles, as exquisite as they are difficult to cultivate, recently debuted at some of the nation’s top eateries. Michaels will be at Warren Wilson College this month to speak about his pursuit of the perfect truffle. His Jan. 23 lecture starts at 7 p.m. in Jensen Lecture Hall. And for those anxious to learn more about Michaels’ work, the Swannanoa School of Culinary Arts is staging a field trip to his orchard this summer. Visit www.schoolofculinaryarts.com for more information.
Speaking of the Swannanoa School of Culinary Arts, veteran instructor Wally Wyatt is holding another series of Italian-cooking classes in her Weaverville home. The “Best Italian Dishes” classes are scheduled for selected Saturdays between now and June; each three-hour class spotlights the preparation of one complete meal. Individual classes are $50, with a discount for students who enroll in all six sessions. Visit www.discoveritalian.com to learn more.
The Weinhaus is partnering with two local restaurants on a pair of $55 wine dinners this month. On Jan. 12, the Grovewood Café will offer a five-course nouvelle Southern menu with matching wines. Sugo Restaurant follows later in the month with an Italian country supper on Jan. 23. For information on either event, call the Weinhaus at 254-6453.