The Wrap: Kneading Conference returns to Skowhegan for the 15th year | Wender Mind Kids

The Wrap: Kneading Conference returns to Skowhegan for the 15th year

Attendees will gain hands-on experience at the bread-making workshop during the 2021 Kneading Conference. The conference will be held in Skowhegan next month. Photo courtesy of Jesse Cottingham Photography

Grain lovers and bread lovers take note, the Kneading Conference returns to Skowhegan for the 15th year at the end of July.

Hosted by the Maine Grain Alliance, the conference will be held July 25-30 at the Skowhegan State Fairgrounds. The Kneading Conference sets itself apart from other industry gatherings by focusing on artisanal grain economics and offering a variety of workshops demonstrating the best grain applications across a range of disciplines.

Nine virtual workshops will take place on all five days of the event. Held July 28-29, the in-person conference will include dozens of workshops and culminate with the Maine Artisan Bread Fair on July 30. The fair features more than 50 vendors, live music, a children’s area and workshops on pizza making and integrating local stone-ground grains into home baking.

The keynote speaker for this year’s conference is Roxana Jullipat, a Los Angeles baker who has worked at legendary California restaurants including the former Campanile, Bastide and Lucques, and AOC. Jullipat opened Friends & Family Bakery in 2017 with a focus on ancient grains and seasonal offerings.

Since the first kneading conference in 2007, the event has annually attracted thousands of home bakers, farmers, brewers, chefs and cooks, as well as grain researchers, maltsters and wood-fired oven fans. Participants educate each other on the art and science of growing and milling grain, artisan bread baking, and beer brewing.

A selection of conference passes ranging from $50 to $375 are available on the Kneading Conference website.

The Ugly Duckling Bakery is coming to Danforth

Portland chefs Ilma Lopez and Damian Sansonetti, the James Beard Award-nominated owners of Chaval and the former Piccolo, plan to open a bakery and cafe in the city’s West End this summer.

The Ugly Duckling is located at 246 Danforth St. in a room that formerly housed PrintCraft. Lopez hopes to open in the second week of August.

The new café will feature a 15-seat horseshoe coffee bar with additional seating at tables in front of the store. In the evenings, The Ugly Duckling will be available as an event or party space, Lopez said.

The house specialty is English buttermilk muffins in a variety of flavors, which can be paired with homemade jams and preserves (also available at retail outlets), as well as tarts, mousses, puddings and trocaderos (a chocolate cream pastry), vegan and gluten-free options, and breakfast items on the morning menu. The café serves espresso drinks and Speckled Ax filter coffee.

The afternoon lunch menu includes sandwiches, canned fish and charcuterie, and wine and cocktail service. The Ugly Duckling is open seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m

Lopez said she and Sansonetti will be introducing a pay-forward system at The Ugly Duckling that customers can donate to. Lopez said the pay-forward money raised can be used by any customer who is unable to pay full price for their order.

Lopez explained that she and Sansonetti want the entire community to be able to enjoy The Ugly Duckling. “And even if you can’t afford it, you can come. But I don’t want people to feel embarrassed or guilty about using the pay-forward system.”

New beer garden in Old Orchard Beach

Portland-based Definitive Brewing Company is opening its new Old Orchard Beach beer garden on Friday.

The Definitive Be Garden is located at 28 East Grand Ave., the site of the former The Landmark restaurant, which closed this year after the owners decided to retire after 26 years in business, according to Saco Bay News. Definitive CEO Michael Rankin said the new beer garden could accommodate up to 300 customers outdoors.

Rankin said Definitive had extensively renovated the property, including adding bathrooms and building a patio with an outdoor bar. Customers can also order home-cooked meals in the newly renovated kitchen and outdoor grill. Rankin didn’t reveal any specific menu items, but said guests can expect American grilled fare.

Definitive’s flagship is located in Portland and has a tasting room and microbrewery in Kittery and a restaurant at the Sunday River Resort. The Old Orchard Beach Beer Garden is open seven days a week through Labor Day, Friday through Sunday from 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. and Monday through Thursday from 12:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

The Buxton Common closes

To mark its fourth anniversary in business, The Buxton Common restaurant closed permanently last week, according to a post on its Facebook page.

“While we will continue limited catering going forward, we have made the difficult decision to suspend our regular dinner and takeaway service,” the post said, noting that June 24 would be the final day of operations at the restaurant . The post didn’t elaborate on why the restaurant was closing, and despite repeated attempts, we were unable to reach owner Max Brody for comment.

Two other long-time restaurants in the area were forced to close last week, both due to staff shortages. Cafe Miranda in Rockland and Parker’s Restaurant in Portland both announced on Facebook that they would not be open after June 25 because they could not hire enough staff.

Opening of a new cocktail and dessert lounge in Dover-Foxcroft

All the excitement in Dover-Foxcroft seems to be centered around TAP 62, its new bar and lounge opening in July.

Located at 920 West Main St., TAP 62 is the second store in town for owner Tejai Lee, who also opened Chew 62 on North Street in December 2020. At TAP 62, Lee will offer local craft and classic beers on tap, upscale cocktails and alcoholic shakes, as well as appetizers and decadent desserts.

“This isn’t your typical bar,” Lee said. “This is an inviting lounge with comfortable leather seating and coffee tables, warm lighting and a separate room with a larger party section. It’s the perfect spot for a nightcap or a late-night sugar rush.”

TAP 62 opens on July 1 with a grand opening celebration on July 5 from 5pm to 7pm and a tape average at 6pm

“Locals are very excited for the opening of TAP 62,” said Denise Buzzelli, director of the Piscataquis Chamber of Commerce. “It has a great vibe: quiet and stylish, even intimate – unique in the area.”


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