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European Christmas lore and culinary history with Dr. Sevin Gallo of NWACC and Chef Vince Pianalto of Brightwater

Did you know holiday customs like kissing under mistletoe, caroling, wreaths, and even gift-giving are all aspects of European pagan holidays adapted into Christmas celebrations? Join Brightwater Chef Vince Pianalto and NWACC History Professor Dr. Sevin Gallo for an evening exploring European Christmas lore and food as you learn to create authentic dishes in our HKS Kitchen.  Participants will enjoy Brie en Croute topped with Candied Pecans for a small bite upon arriving. Guests of age will also be offered a complimentary glass of Wassail (traditional hot spiced wine) to warm up as class begins. Chef Vince will then lead you in the hands on portion of class to bake Lebkuchen, a German cookie similar to gingerbread. Participants will also whip up a Mascarpone filling to stuff a Panettone, an Italian cake flavored with fruits, nuts, and citrus.  Enjoy the baked sweets while Dr. Sevin discusses the evolution of holiday Euro cuisine, the different cooking styles and ingredients from Europe, and the origin stories of some of our favorite holiday traditions. Recipes will be provided.

 *All class ticket sales are final. No refunds or credit transfers to other classes are available.*



Dr. Sevin Gallo teaches world history through the lens of food at NorthWest Arkansas Community College. Her Honors classes meet at Brightwater: A Center for the Study of Food and at local restaurants. In these non-traditional environments, students examine different historical processes while considering how food systems and food culture shape the human experience.
Sevin has a Ph.D. in Modern Middle East and Latin American comparative world history from the University of Akron, and an MA and BA in European History from Kent State University.  Her research focuses on the ways nationalism, popular culture, food-ways, and modern state-formation intersect. In addition to teaching world history, Sevin works as the Global Studies degree coordinator at NWACC, and she leads study abroad programs to Greece, Spain and Morocco, and Turkey. She's lived in Istanbul and loves traveling so much that she started a boutique group travel company in 2019. She loves to coordinate travel experiences that foreground authentic local cuisine within each destination's significant historical and cultural context. Her current group travel programs include Morocco, Argentina, Greece, Turkey, France, Spain, and Tanzania (including the famous spice island of Zanzibar).


Brightwater Instructor Chef Vince Pianalto is originally from Springdale, Ark., and credits his parents and grandmother for being instrumental in his enthusiasm for cooking. As a curious child, he enjoyed working alongside them to learn how to cook.

Vince’s work experience includes being owner and chef of La Maison des Tartes in Fayetteville, owner and chef of Bouchee Bistro in Fayetteville, and owner and chef of Vicenza's Italian Restaurant, as well as the culinary coordinator for William Sonoma in Rogers and a culinary instructor for Springdale High School and Springdale public schools. Vince joined Brightwater in 2016.

“I love teaching my craft to other interested people. Brightwater allows me to do that for a wide variety of students, and I love the team I work with at Brightwater,” says Vince. “Also, working in such a fantastic environment and facility makes teaching so enjoyable.”     

“I feel that Brightwater has opened up a new arena of instruction that is available to a large segment of NWA that wouldn't otherwise be possible,” adds Vince.

In his free time, Vince enjoys spending time with his dogs, gardening, traveling and cooking.

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