Wednesday, February 10, 2010

for valentine's, waltz on wine and chomp on chocolates

For wine-loving locavores, the Berks County Wine Trail has a Valentine's Day gift that might be more welcome than the typically gifted fresh bouquets of flowers or heart-shaped boxes of chocolates.

Offering lovers a weekend-long event of self-guided wine tours throughout their eight participating locations that span from Reading to Philadelphia and Lehigh Valley, each winery is set to host an array of activities sculpted around chocolate tastings that specifically accompany their locally produced varietals.

The Berks County Wine Trail requires no reservations, and all wine pairings will be offered for free, and even better, couples are encouraged to start and finish at any winery location most convenient to them. Also, to lessen the pressure of traveling from one winery to the next, each location offers directions to journey to the following sipping spot that falls nearest to them.

In appreciation of what southeastern Pennsylvania has to offer to individuals who adore smooth sips produced in our neighborhoods, the Berks County Wine Trail encourages couples to plan a pleasurable afternoon locally, all while providing what every lady loves - chocolate in all its assortments.

Begin at one of my closest winery, Kog Hill of Morgantown, and you will be delighted by the tastes of their Raspberry Dessert Wine paired with the light bites of chocolate torte. Their bottled raspberry sips are rich in flavor and color, and offer an excellent comparison to the sweetness of the cocoa dessert.

Kog Hill, Morgantown's winery is a close stop to either Clover Hill of Robesonia and Manatawny Creek Winery of Douglassville, who will entice traveling samplers with sugary treats like cannolis rolled with miniature chocolate chips or a slice of ultra-chic chocolate Cabernet cake.

Pinnacle Ridge Winery of Kutztown will serve classic French crepes pumped with strawberries, drizzled with decadent bittersweet chocolate sauce and dusted with confectioner's sugar and chocolate shavings. The winery's homemade crepes will be paired with one of their decadent red wine, the beloved bottle of Sweet Seduction.

Family-run Blair Vineyards of Mertztown, who are slated to relocate to Kutztown in April, will tantalize sweet teeth with a dessert titled Mocha French Kiss, which is a coffee truffle treat that goes perfectly with their Lower Block Pinot Noir. Bashore & Stoudt Country Winery of Shartlesville will offer chocolate fondue for fresh fruit dipping, which is offered inconjunction with their series of fresh fruit wines like pear, peach, elderberry and blueberry.

Also participating is Calvaresi Winery of Bernville and Long Trout Winery of Auburn. Long Trout plans to whip up wine-infused Chex Mix batches to accompany their series of cocoa wines, while Calvaresi warps into a chocoholics' haven by joining their Cayuga White with chocolate-covered mango and their 2009 Concord red wine with triple-chocolate malted-milk balls. The Auburn winery also produces sherry, which they will offer to individuals with chocolate-covered red raspberries.

Although J. Maki Winery of Elverson is not a partner of the wine trail, they too make for a great Chester County sipping spot, offering boldly distinctive red and white varietals made in the European premium dry wine tradition. The winery of Grove Road will be open both days of the wine tasting weekend, on Saturday and Sunday from noon until 5 p.m.