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Classes at The Cookery; Christmas at The Carolina Inn 

Just as all of the universities in the Triangle are slowing down their class schedules for winter break, The Cookery ( in Durham is gearing up. Beginning Saturday, the local culinary incubator and certified kitchen space will launch a series of new courses for the winter months.

The Cookery's co-owner Nick Johnson says, "These classes are really like 'roll your sleeves up.'" Generally capped at 12 students, the courses allow for a great deal of one-on-one time between attendees and the local chefs leading the workshops. Johnson says the goal is for students to "do what you're going to do with your hands so you can go home and do it again."

Register now for a beginner's beer-brewing workshop with Rick Tufts of Triangle Brewing Company. Between noon and 3 p.m. on Saturday, Tufts will review basic steps for brewing beer at home. "We'll make it just like you do at home, on a stovetop in a big pot," Johnson says. Approximately three weeks following the course, students will reconvene at Triangle Brewing Company to sample beer created during the class. Johnson says that 45-minute conversation will include "how it turned out and why."

Space is full for the Dec. 8 course on chocolate led by Vanessa Mazuz of The Parlour, but the new year provides plenty of other offerings. Rue Cler's Aaron Benjamin will teach students how to make fresh pasta on Jan. 9. On Jan. 14, The Cookery's own Nathan McCamic will lead a workshop on sausage making. It will be "the whole process, start to finish," Johnson says. Students will begin with butchered cuts of meet, then grind, season and stuff products into casing to make different styles of sausage. Lastly, Adam Cobb of Glasshalfull will host a paella workshop on Jan. 17.

Classes cost $40. For more details and to register, visit the Cookery online.

The Carolina Inn ( in Chapel Hill has a full month of plans, too. For the 14th year, the inn will celebrate "The Twelve Days of Christmas" with holiday decorations and activities. Between noon and 4 p.m. on Saturday, the inn will open its doors for a free open house. Families are encouraged to visit the decorated inn and enjoy snacks and crafts from local artisans. Entries for the inn's annual Gingerbread House Competition will also be on display.

At 1 p.m., the inn will host a cakewalk to benefit the Carrboro-based nonprofit hunger relief organization TABLE Inc. Cake donations can be made in advance by calling 918-2715. To participate in the cakewalk and support TABLE, reserve a seat for $10 at the inn's website.

Saturday at the inn also features horse-drawn carriage rides starting at noon ($10), breakfast with Santa at 8:30 a.m. ($25 for ages 13 and older, $20 for ages 4–12, free for ages 3 and under) and brunch with Santa at 10:30 a.m. ($30, $25, free). Additional breakfasts and brunches will occur on subsequent weekends. To reserve a seat with Santa or on the carriage, visit the Carolina Inn online.

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