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Holiday Guide 2015

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Inlander Traditions: Meaningful Snacking

My family is all about snacking, and the holidays are the perfect excuse to snack a little bit extra. Every year on New Year's Eve, my parents make us an big appetizer spread, including their favorite snack — toasted bagels with cream cheese, salmon, capers and red onions. I spent most of my childhood New Year's Eves avoiding that plate because I didn't particularly love seafood, but I've always loved the reasoning behind my parents making it. When they first started dating in California, they frequented the same little oyster bar near Ocean Beach for happy hour, and would order those salmon bagels. After they got married, they decided they always wanted to end the holiday season, and welcome a new year, by appreciating and looking back on all the time they've been able to spend with friends and family together since they first started eating those salmon bagels.

Frosting to fundraise

Building gingerbread houses may seem like a children's activity, but if there's one event that proves it's more than that, it's the annual Christ Kitchen Gingerbread Build-Off. Watch local chefs and bakers construct gingerbread masterpieces at this event benefiting Christ Kitchen, held this year at the new Davenport Grand Hotel. Though not all of the creations are houses, they're guaranteed to be incredibly intricate and fun to watch being constructed. There was even a recreation of the Great Wall of China and a huge, red-and-yellow Chinese dragon last year. Spectating is free, but you can get involved in the building process by purchasing one of the children's gingerbread house kits for $7. Sun, Dec. 13, build-off from 10 am-1 pm. Davenport Grand Hotel, 333 W. Spokane Falls Blvd. Visit for more information.

Edible education

It's hard not to love a holiday dessert, but how much do you know about the history behind some of your favorite sugary treats? In the third installment in The History of Yum Series at the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture, food historian and educator Monica Stenzel explains the history of gingerbread, along with sharing the fairy tale behind its popularity. There will also be a lesson on how to create traditional icing patterns on gingerbread cookies provided by Madeleine's Café & Patisserie. Children are welcome to attend, but participants under 16 must be accompanied by an adult. There is a limit to 30 attendees, so don't wait to reserve a spot. Sun, Dec. 13, from 2-3:30 pm. $35/person. The MAC, 2316 W. First Ave. Register online at

Cultural immersion

The Chabad of Spokane's annual Chanukah Family Celebration reminds us of the variety of foods enjoyed during the holiday season, both savory and sweet. Entertainment includes a live musical performance by the Spokane Klezmer band and a special video celebration. There's also an opportunity to make candles and candy crafts to take home.

One of the highlights of the Hanukkah celebrations — beyond the lighting of a 12-foot jellybean Menorah at this particular event — is definitely the latkes and sufganiyah, traditional Hanukkah foods. Latkes are potato pancakes made with ground potato, flour and egg. They can be paired with a variety of toppings, including sour cream, cottage cheese or applesauce. Sufganiyah is a jelly or custard-filled donut. Both latkes and sufganiyot are fried, and made specifically during Hanukkah to remember the miracle of the eternal flame that stayed lit for eight days. Community members, regardless of their affiliation, are welcome to attend this event to experience another cultural element of the holidays. Mon, Dec. 7, from 5:30-7:30 pm. $12. Southside Senior & Community Center, 3151 E. 27th Ave. Visit for more information.

Toast local

What better way to impress your relatives coming into town than by showing off the Inland Northwest's ever-growing local beer, wine and cider scene? Purchase some around town, or if you need to escape the confines of a small living room, take the whole gang to one of the many local tap or tasting rooms to get the full experience. If you're the one leaving town to visit family, don't forget to bring some bottles or cans of the region's best flavors to them.

Orlison Brewing Co. The 2015 Edition of Roast House Stout is Orlison's collaboration with Spokane's Roast House coffee company, combining dark coffee and vanilla flavors. Visit the new Orlison tasting room at 1017 W. First Ave.

One Tree Hard Cider The Caramel Cinnamon cider isn't new this holiday season, but it's made from Washington apples and tastes like apple pie. It's the perfect addition to drizzle over ice cream — or even as a substitute for dessert. 9514 E. Montgomery Ave, Suite 25.

12 String Brewing Co. The 2015 version of the 12 Strings of Winter Ale combines complex hops with its sweet malt profile and a little vanilla, sure to keep you warm. 11616 E. Montgomery Dr., Suite 26.

Craftsman Cellars This newly opened winery's 2013 Syrah is a robust, deep ruby wine with lingering cherry and raspberry notes from the 22 months it spent aging in new French oak barrels. Visit the newly opened tasting room in Kendall Yards, at 1194 W. Summit Pkwy.

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