More than 40 Yakima Valley wineries will celebrate their annual Red Wine & Chocolate weekend Feb. 18-19 by sampling some of their premier vintages and offering special chocolate treats to pair with them.
Purchase a premier pass and at many wineries you will be invited to share in exclusive wine and chocolate pairings, guided cellar tours, library tastings, discounted events and other activities not available to the general public. The cost for a pass is $30 if bought by Feb. 11, or $35 if bought during the Red Wine & Chocolate weekend at the wineries.
For information about the weekend or to buy a pass, go to www.wineyakimavalley.org.
In the meantime, here are some tips for mixing red wines and chocolate gleaned from Yakima Valley winemakers and tasting room crews:
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-- Let it melt: Taste the chocolate and allow it to melt on your tongue just prior to sipping wine.
-- Tannins don't mix: Avoid wines and chocolates that are overly tannic in nature, which compete with each other and result in a muddled and flat combination. For an example of tannin, think of strong cup of tea.
-- Savory and smooth: Wines with savory notes, such as smoke, wood or meaty qualities, are outstanding when paired with chocolate with a smooth texture and similar savory notes, such as leather, cheese or smoke.
-- Bold similarities: Bold, full-bodied wines pair well with chocolates that are hearty and rustic in texture with a similarly pronounced flavor.
-- Two of a kind: Wines or chocolate with similarly distinct notes, such as black pepper, can be mutually enhanced when paired together.
-- Beginner's luck: The easiest method for a successful pairing is to select chocolates that contain berries, dried fruit or nuts.
Dinner, dance and fun
The Jubilee Youth Ranch is holding a dinner-dance from 6 to 8 p.m. Feb. 10 at the Cathedral of Joy, 1153 Gage Blvd., Kennewick.
The camp's culinary staff will serve the meal as you dance to the Tri-Cities' Smooth As Jazz band.
Cost is $100 per couple. All proceeds will go to support the youth at Jubilee.
For more information or reservations, call 509-749-2103. Reservations due by Feb. 1.
The book: Bake Deliciously! Gluten and Dairy Free Cookbook by Jean Duane.
Best for: In addition to the easy-to-follow recipes, most of which can be completed in five steps or less, the book also features hundreds of mouth-watering photos as well as notes on what happens in a recipe when one ingredient is changed. The author also gives many money-saving tips as well as a host of baking techniques unique to gluten and dairy-free baking.
*Loretto J. Hulse: 582-1513; firstname.lastname@example.org. To receive a recipe via e-mail each Tuesday register at tricityherald.com and click on newsletters.