Chocolate, writers and wine

A February affair
Box of See's Candies chocolates

What does writing have to do with chocolate, you ask? And what does Valentine’s Day have to do with one of our favorite treats?

It’s not a coincidence that many millennial authors have replaced alcohol with chocolate as their go to inspirational indulgence. After all, chocolate boasts healthy benefits such as mood elevation, heart health and even has some antibacterial properties. 

Its connection to writers doesn’t stop there, however.

Geoffrey Chaucer is credited with the creation of Valentine’s Day by declaring in his poem, “Parlement of Foules,” “For this was on St Valentine’s Day when every bird cometh there to choose his mate.” From Shakespearean sonnets to modern books such as “Chocolat” and “Like Water for Chocolate” the impact and love of chocolate is often felt in combination with romance.

And what better way to woo one’s mate than to tempt with sweet words and sweet treats – the best of which is…chocolate!

Chocolate came to California by a rather circuitous route. Starting in Mesoamerica 3000 yrs ago where cacao was heralded as “food of the gods,” it eventually arrived in Europe, then finally to America in 1641 via a Spanish ship. Though Baker is the oldest producer of chocolate in the US (1765), Ghirardelli has the distinction of being the oldest continuously operating chocolate maker in America, having opened its doors in San Francisco in 1852. The  impact of this culinary delight, however, remains straightforward: we delight in it! Giving it, consuming it, or extolling its virtues, chocolate remains a staple expression of opulence, romance and caring.

Though Ghirardelli is the first chocolate company to arrive in the Bay Area, See’s Candies opened in Los Angeles in 1921, then moved to the Bay Area in 1936. See’s is known for their delicious free samples and the enduring slogan “Quality without compromise.”

To take part in the romance…

…or just to give yourself a well-deserved afternoon of decadence, combine the richness of a multitude of chocolates with the perfect complement of a lovely wine by joining Benicia Main Street’s annual Wine & Chocolate Walk. The walk begins at Benicia Main Street in the old train depot, where you will begin with See’s Chocolate and a glass of wine. The walk takes place on Saturday, February 1st from 1pm-5pm. Stroll First St. tasting fine wine and chocolate pairings inside downtown shops. 

Tickets are $30 in advance for single ticket, and $55 in advance for a pair of tickets. Day of the event increases ticket price to $35 per ticket. Ticket price includes up to 15 tastes and one (1) complimentary Benicia Main Street wine glass per person. Participants must be 21 and over. 

So whether your go-to chocolate is Ghirardelli, See’s  or a multitude of other chocolatiers, keep the February 14th tradition alive and feast on your favorite chocolate, pair it with some yummy wine and enjoy the day, guilt-free!

Categories: Arts + Culture, Food + Drink, History

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