Winter Bites - January 10-26, various locations. Over two dozen Ottawa eateries—Izakaya, Peter Divines and The Buzz, for example—offer prix-fixe menus to chase away the winter blahs.
My Neighbourhood Bites - Pretty nifty concept presented by Taboo Eats, where amateur chefs and passionate foodies show off their talents for the voting public. First location for 2013 in Centretown, on Saturday, January 12, 6 PM, Babylon Nightclub. Winning recipes will be added to a cookbook, the proceeds of which will benefit the Ottawa Food Bank. (Read up on the deets in Ottawa Magazine's interview with event coordinator Donna Henhoeffer.)
The Red and White - Wednesday, January 16, 7:30 PM, Ashbury College. Celebrated annual fundraiser for Harmony House, a shelter for women and children.
Taste in the Glebe - Thursday, January 17, 5:30 - 8 PM, Glebe Community Centre. If 2012 was any indication, this is a must-do that should be on everyone's calendar. Ticket price includes all samples.
Winterbrewed - Friday, February 15 and Saturday, February 16, Sparks Street Mall. Newest addition to Ottawa's world-famous Winterlude. (Any suggestions on what to pair with a Beavertail?)
California Wine Fair - Friday, April 5, Westin Hotel. Look for updates on Twitter @CalifWines_CA
Bon Appetit - Tuesday, May 7, 5:30 - 9 PM. Another one of those 'dos you simply must pencil (nay, Sharpie) into your calendar. One price, a plethora of bites and sips to savour.
If you're thinking of taking your snack and beverage habits to a new level, there are plenty of courses coming up in the next few months. Savvy Company's craft beer and wine appreciation classes are a fun way to learn the basics, or you can sample artisan cheeses from across the country on three separate nights. Try one (or all) of the World of Wine tasting classes at Le Cordon Bleu's prestigious Laurier digs. Or, if you really want to go whole hog, take up the challenge of the Sommelier or Wine Appreciation programs at Algonquin College. Winter sessions begin mid-January.