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JUST DESSERTS
Chocolate is food of choice this month as the area prepares for Valentine's Day

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Date published: 2/2/2012

BY ANNE ELDER

FOR THE FREE LANCE-STAR

AS VALENTINE'S DAY approaches, treat your mate to these sinful soirees boasting a sure-fire way to sweeten your holiday celebration--chocolate. Whether you want to celebrate the weekend before or on Valentine's Day itself, these events will guarantee a happy ending to your love story.

CHOCOLATE EXTRAVAGANZA

Leave the pets at home for the ninth annual Chocolate Extravaganza, hosted by the Fredericksburg SPCA.

The extravaganza includes the "Wine and Dessert Pairing" on Friday, Feb. 10, and "Sweet Sensations Taste Test Chocolate Buffet" on Saturday, Feb. 11.

The "Wine and Dessert Pairing" allows guests to taste five desserts, matched with five different wines.

This year, it will be held at the Classic Car Center, so patrons also have the opportunity to view antique cars on display.

"We move that around yearly so this year people can not only enjoy the wine and desserts but also see some beautiful cars," said Debra Joseph, executive director of the SPCA. "I'm always amazed on how pairing just the right wine can make your dessert tastier and your wine pop."

For his sixth year, Edwin Wyant, owner and consultant of the Virginia Wine Experience, will present expertly paired desserts and wine, which he said is meant to "take two really good flavors and take them to another level."

While in the past the wine has been paired with chocolate, Wyant said patrons can expect an assortment of desserts this year.

Wyant looks at two key components when pairing the wines: the sugar of the dessert as well as its acidity. When a dessert has more sugar in the recipe, it pairs well with a sweeter wine. On the other hand, less sweet desserts can be paired with a drier wine.

People shouldn't be intimidated by the wine pairings, either. Wyant said the atmosphere of this event is relaxed, where everyone has a good time.

The "Sweet Sensations Taste Test Chocolate Buffet" is a family-oriented event, where individuals can look at each of the desserts to determine which ones they want to buy.

"I always enjoy working with the restaurants who so generously donate," said Joseph. "I like seeing people enjoy their desserts."


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SWEET SIDE OF LIFE

Fredericksburg Hospitality House and Conference Center, 2801 Plank Road, Fredericksburg. Feb. 10, 8-11 p.m. $50. 540/373-2320; fcsagency.org.

SPCA CHOCOLATE EXTRAVAGANZA

"Choctail Hour" Wine and Dessert Pairing, Classic Car Center, 3591 Lee Hill Drive.

Feb. 10, 6:30-8:30 p.m. $25 per person; reservations required. 540/898-1500, ext. 302; fburgspca.org.

Sweet Sensations Taste Test Chocolate Buffet, St. George's Episcopal Church, 905 Princess Anne St. Feb. 11, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Admission $2, ages 4 and younger free, desserts $1-$3 each. 540/898-1500, ext. 302; fburgspca.org.

COOPER VINEYARDS

13372 Shannon Hill Road, Louisa. Valentine's Weekend, Feb. 11-12, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. $5. 540/894-5474; cooper vineyards.com

LAKE ANNA WINERY

5621 Courthouse Road, Spotsylvania. Death By Chocolate, Feb. 11, noon-5 p.m. $25. Reservations suggested. 540/895-5085; lawinery.com.

INGLESIDE VINEYARDS

5872 Leedstown Road, Oak Grove. A Taste of Wine and Chocolate, Feb. 11, 5-7 p.m. Reservations required. 804/224-8687; inglesidevineyards.com.

GRAY GHOST VINEYARDS

14706 Lee Highway, Amissville. Irresistible Chocolates and Cabernet, Feb. 11-12, 11 a.m.- 4 p.m. $17. 540/937-4869; grayghostvineyards.com.

OLD HOUSE VINEYARDS

18351 Corkys Lane, Culpeper. Chocolate fondue, Feb, 11-12, noon-5 p.m. $30. Valentine Wine Dinner, Feb. 14. $75, reservations required. 540/423-1032; oldhousevineyards.com.

POTOMAC POINT WINERY

275 Decatur Road, Stafford. Sinfully Sweet Dessert and Wine Pairing, Feb. 11, with seatings at 2, 4, 6 and 8 p.m. $24.99, $21.99 club member. Winemaker's Valentine's Dinner, Feb. 14, at 7 p.m. $75, $70 club member. Reserve at 540/446-2107 or e-mail jane@potomacpoint winery.com.

INGLESIDE VINEYARDS

POTOMAC POINT WINERY

GRAY GHOST VINEYARDS