For the second year, foodies can dine with chefs, food writers and mixologists who will be featured at the Tucson Festival of Books culinary tent.
Nine authors will be guests at a dinner hosted by Slow Food Southern Arizona. On the menu: a four-course Italian meal and hors d'oeuvres prepared by Massimo Tenino, chef and owner of Tavolino Ristorante Italiano, where the dinner will be held.
Each course will be paired with a different wine from Tenino's brother's winery in Piedmont, Italy.
"For each course the chefs or culinary authors switch tables so they actually move around course to course so more people get to meet them," said Don Luria, Slow Food Southern Arizona chairman and chairman of the book festival culinary committee.
"We did that last year and it really satisfied everyone in terms of having an opportunity to actually meet and talk to the culinary authors instead of just saying 'Well they're here, but I never got a chance to meet them.' "
Mixologist Tony Abou-Ganim, author of "Vodka Distilled," will show guests how to make The Wizard, one of the book's featured vodka cocktails. John Mariani, Esquire columnist and author of "How Italian Food Conquered the World," will speak about the region's cuisine, while cheese connoisseur Laura Werlin, writer of "Mac & Cheese, Please" and "Grilled Cheese, Please!" will speak about cheese and wine pairing.
"It's more than just eating and drinking," Luria said. "It's good food, it's good wine and it's education."
Seating for the dinner is limited to 140 people. Last year's event sold out and this year's dinner is expected to do the same, Luria said.
Money from ticket sales will go toward a new program sponsored by Slow Food Southern Arizona. The program, Youth Education for the Future, will allow high school and college students interested in culinary and farming careers to participate in a five- to eight-week internship at a local restaurant or farm, Luria said.
Rounding out the author guest list are Bob Spitz ("Dearie: The Remarkable Life of Julia Child"), Georgeanne Brennan ("Salad of the Day" and "The Davis Farmers Market Cookbook"), Bruce Aidells ("The Great Meat Cookbook: Everything You Need to Know to Buy and Cook Today's Meat"), Alice Feiring ("Naked Wine: Letting Grapes Do What Comes Naturally"), Heather Shouse ("Food Trucks: Dispatches and Recipes From the Best Kitchens on Wheels"), and Meeru Dhalwala ("Vij's at Home: Relax, Honey: The Warmth and Ease of Indian Cooking," and "Vij's: Elegant and Inspired Indian Cuisine").
If you go
• What: Tucson Festival of Books Culinary Author Dinner.
• When: March 9. Cocktails at 6 p.m.; dinner at 7 p.m.
• Where: Tavolino Ristorante Italiano, 2890 E. Skyline Drive.
• Cost: $125 per person.
• Tickets and information: Purchase tickets by March 1 at www.slowfoodsouthernaz.org online.
Contact reporter Veronica Cruz at firstname.lastname@example.org or 573-4224.