Chocolate + Wine = Excellent February Weekend

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wine_chocolate_034.jpgBy Deirdre Bourdet

Valentine's Day is just a few weeks away, but the folks at Rodney Strong Vineyards are starting the lovefest early.  The 22nd annual Wine & Chocolate Event is scheduled for Saturday February 5, 2011, from 1:00 to 4:00pm.  This event's raison d'etre has always been to savor the delicious union of two much-beloved aphrodisiacs, and in furtherance of this lofty goal the winery's Healdsburg barrel room will be bursting with delectable variations on the chocolate + wine theme.
This year's participants include an impressive lineup of chocolate-pushers, many of whom are tiny artisan brands from Sonoma County.  Peters' Chocolates, based in Sebastopol, produces chocolate truffles and turtles using local organic cream from Sonoma County's happy cows.    Sonoma Chocolatiers, also in Sebastopol, is known for its creative sweet and savory truffle flavors, like Rosemary Goat Cheese, White Truffle Fiscalini Cheddar, Spicy Peanut Butter, and the Valentine's special "Aztec Aphrodisiac," and "Lavender Love & Lust."  Petaluma-based Bert's Desserts, famed for its wine-infused chocolate truffles, and many other chocolatiers will also be there giving their love away.

Truffles won't be the only game in town, though.   Cake buffs Pâtisserie Angelica from Sebastopol and Sift Cupcake and Dessert Bar from Napa will have lots of tender baked goodies to sample, LaLoo's Goat Milk Ice Cream (who were featured in Oprah's O Magazine last year) will dish out their Scharffenberger-rich frozen delights, and Ellene's Handmade Peanut Brittle and Biscotti Bari will bring some crackle to the party.  Rodney Strong Vineyards will be holding up the wine end of the bargain, with plenty of their finest Sonoma County bottlings on hand to pair with the chocolates.

This year's celebration will have a particularly unique soundtrack, thanks to the musical stylings of Dgiin (pronounced "gin")--a Sonoma County based band named after djiins, the mischievous spirits who typically are bottled up into lamps, bottles, and the like because of their naughty antics.  Dgiin sings many songs in French, the language of love, and their style has been described as a compendium of French, gypsy and funk, "with a twist of Django-esque flamenco."  If that doesn't sound like fun, there's something wrong with you.
Tickets are limited and will sell out soon, so jump over to their event website now before it's too late.

Rodney Strong Vineyards, 11455 Old Redwood Highway, Healdsburg, 800.678.4763. $50 per person.

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