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JUST DESSERTS page 4
Chocolate is food of choice this month as the area prepares for Valentine's Day

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Date published: 2/2/2012

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If you're looking to show your special someone how much they mean to you before the holiday, the Old House Vineyards in Culpeper is the place for you. On Feb. 11-12, enjoy dipping fresh fruit, pound cake and marshmallows in chocolate fondue that's sure to make your heart melt.

But if you're free later in the week, go back for their Valentine Wine Dinner on Feb. 14, where you'll be met with hors d'oeuvres and a four-course meal ending with a dark chocolate cheesecake decorated with a white chocolate heart.

GRAY GHOST VINEYARDS

Don't just bring your Valentine a box of chocolates this year, instead indulge them with Gray Ghost Vineyards' "Irresistible Chocolates and Cabernet," Feb. 11-12, in Amissville.

Now in its 17th year, you and your partner will get unlimited access to a vast display of chocolate desserts and glasses of Cabernet.

The winery will be introducing its first 2011 vintage wine, Vidal Blanc. But instead of a more formal wine paring, the atmosphere is very relaxed.

"You can go at your own pace," said Amy Payette, director of marketing at Gray Ghost. "You can try different wines with different desserts."

This year, the winery will be offering chocolate-dipped apricots, Ghirardelli triple chocolate Merlot brownies, chocolate oat bars, mocha coconut clusters, chocolate-covered pretzels, decadent cheesecake delight and peanut, raisin and marshmallow clusters.

Payette said that people usually walk away from the event thinking of what an incredible experience it was, and that they've never had so many outstanding desserts at one time.

"It's overwhelming in a good way, it's truly just nothing but desserts," Payette said. "It's not your everyday way to celebrate Valentine's Day."

The cost of admission also includes a free collectible wine glass, ensuring that it's one night you can remember together for years to come.

Anne Elder is a University of Mary Washington student and freelance writer for The Free Lance-Star.


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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