Road To Valentine's Day: Get your local chocolate on

By Jake de Paul on February 11, 2012


Label me a sentimental fool, but I confess up front to having an affinity for St. Valentine's Day that is hopelessly and helplessly romantic.  Sure it's become a "Hallmark Holiday," but it's also a time of year when the imagination is the limit to the range of seductive attire, playthings and, of course, food available to woo your loved one. If M.F.K. Fisher is correct - and she always is - "gastronomy is and always has been connected with its sister art of love."

Dining with a loved one on Valentine's Day requires keen attention to the lust factor.  Pot roast just isn't going to get the job done; you've got to dine with flair!

Of course, this can mean a number of things, from splurging at a fancy restaurant to a mountain outing with a backpack full of pate, nuts, fruit, cheese and a good bottle of vino.  If you are cooking your way into someone's heart this Valentine's Day, you may as well throw out the calorie counters.  It's best, on this special day, to err on the side of decadence.  Sensual foodstuffs like asparagus and mangos (eaten sans utensils, of course) or oysters, are always good bets to get Cupid's arrows quivering.

Chocolate also does the trick.

You could say that eating chocolate on Valentine's Day is a twofer: bringing health and happiness to your heart. Every confectioner and pastry chef in the South Sound gets chocolate-covered for Valentine's Day. There's the four large chocolate dipped strawberries, trio of chocolate soufflé, cherry crème brulée, passion sorbet and assorted hand painted chocolates at Bite inside the Hotel Murano. Babblin' Babs Bistro will serve Irish cream chocolate dipped shortbread and berries featuring buttery rich shortbread cookies passed down from several generations of Sawyer family (Babs). Profiteroles with chocolate ganache are on the Valentine's menu at Morso Wine Bar.

Also, Weekly Volcano foodie Jennifer Johnson presents a list of local delicious treats here.

For the ultimate chocolate hit, I'm urging you to slide over to Affairs Chocolate & Desserts for their annual Valentine Dessert Buffet, which will be offered twice - 2-4 p.m. Sunday and 5-7 p.m. Valentine's Day.  According to owner Gay Landry, a gaggle of customers gorge every year.

Landry does the café in romantic old linens and candles.  Customers pick from an alluring array of bite-sized desserts: mousses, chocolate-dipped strawberries, cakes, tortes, cookies and of course, Affairs' indescribably luscious, rich truffles.  Located on Bridgeport Way West in University Place, reserve your spot at 253.565.8604.

More than 40 of the fabulous Proctor businesses will offer treats and/or discounts on chocolate items today through Saturday as part of the Proctor Chocolate Festival today. Participants may pick up a Proctor Chocolate Festival Passport at Metropolitan Market, Giardini Gift, Knapps or Safeway, then collect "codes" from each business.  Passports with a minimum of 80 percent number codes completed can be dropped off at the mentioned businesses to be entered in the drawing for prize baskets. If you stop by US Bank today, and sit down to chat with a rep, you'll score a big ass Hershey chocolate bar. Also, Envy clothing store is serving hot chocolate.

Evade the couple at the next table from leaning into your sweet nothings by skipping the hoopla and head for the cellars. The South Sound Wine Trail stretches through Lacey, Olympia and Shelton and includes seven award-winning wineries. For the next two weekends, the wineries present Red, Wine & Chocolate, a passport game where for $20 you may taste their wine while nibbling on chocolate. Complete your passport and turn it in at your final tasting to be entered in a drawing for a weekend getaway.

Speaking of drinks, the Ale House Sports Pub and Grille offers several desserts in a fancy glass. On Valentine's Day, the University Place gathering sport will serve chocolate-covered cherry martinis, devil's food chocolate martinis, raspberry white chocolate martinis and Southern Tier Imperial Choklat Stout on tap.