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Indulging at the holidays

At old-fashioned feasts, eat like a king or tycoon.

Pabst Mansion in Milwaukee.

© Beth Gauper

Dickens Dinners are a tradition at Milwaukee's Pabst Mansion.

If you're in the mood to loosen belts as well as wallets, the holidays are the time to do it.

At madrigal dinners, channel portly Henry VIII in a Tudor castle settling. During Dickens dinners, wallow in 19th century England — the England of "A Christmas Carol,'' not "Oliver Twist.''

Which is to say, there's no gruel course.

Here are some of the best holiday feasts in 2014; reserve early.

And for tours of decorated mansions, see Homes for the holidays.

Dec. 3-8, Tudor Dinners at the Wisconsin Union in Madison. This feast in the Great Hall is accompanied by old English pageantry, including a Yuletide toast, strolling minstrels, a figgy pudding ceremonial, caroling and music from the Philharmonic Chorus of Madison.

Dec. 6, 12-13, 18 and 20-22, Dickens Dinners at the Pabst Mansion in Milwaukee. It's a traditional English feast, with Charles Dickens reading from "A Christmas Carol.''

Reserve by calling Bartolotta's at 414-727-6980; for Pabst Mansion details, 414-931-0808.

For more, see Milwaukee at Christmas.

Last updated on November 5, 2014