It's time to enjoy your favorite red wine coupled with award winning chocolates from around the state and the world. It's time for the annual Red Wine and Chocolate event set for February 16-19 where more than 40 wineries in the Yakima valley couple red wine with specialty chocolate.

THE WINE INDUSTRY IS WORTH MILLIONS OF DOLLARS TO THE STATE ECONOMY

The Washington wine industry generates billions of dollars for the state economy every year. The reason why sales are so lucrative is because people love Washington wine. That's according to Barb Glover with Wine Yakima Valley. She says more than 40 wineries up and down the valley get involved serving wines and chocolates during the Presidents Day weekend.

Gray & Smoked Salt Caramels from Fran's Chocolates
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WINTER IS A SLOW TIME FOR AREA WINERIES SO THIS IS A BIG WAKEUP

She says it's a big boost to wineries during the winter time when wineries usually don't see a lot of traffic.Glover says if you love chocolate check with your favorite wineries to see what kind of chocolate or wine they're serving and build your plan for the weekend.
For a list of events check the schedule at https://www.visityakima.com/wine-event-red-wine-and-chocolate.asp#eventsStart

TIPS FOR YOU ON HOW TO PAIR RED WINE WITH CHOCOLATE

Since chocolate coats your mouth when you eat it, you'll need a wine that's big enough to cut through its richness. Try looking for flavors in both that are similar to one another. The most important factor in all this, as in all pairings of food and wine, is that only you can decide what tastes best.

Analisi Sensoriale del Tartufo - Atelier della Pasta - Alba Truffle Bimbi - Salotto dei Gusti e dei Profumi
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WHAT TO PAIR WITH WHITE CHOCOLATE

White chocolate, though not a true chocolate due to its absence of cacao, is a super-sweet blend of sugar, milk and cocoa butter. Try a Riesling or Gewürztraminer.

WHAT TO PAIR WITH MILK CHOCOLATE

Milk chocolate, which contains a small amount of cacao, is the sweetest of the real chocolates with its high sugar content. Remember rule one and choose a sweeter wine than chocolate, or the pairing might leave your mouth tasting like a rubber band. For milk chocolate, your best match might just be a sweet and tasty port.

PAIRING WITH SEMI-SWEET CHOCOLATE

Chocolate that contains about 50 to 70 percent cacao is known as semisweet, the sweetest of the dark chocolates. With tones that are nutty, spicy, or earthy, semisweet dark chocolate has a balanced and less sweet aftertaste than milk or white chocolate. Cabernets or Bordeauxs will tend to bring out any fruity or peppery nuances in the chocolate, while a ruby port is considered a classic pairing with semisweet chocolate.

Chocolate Bars
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WHAT TO PAIR WITH BITTERSWEET DARK CHOCOLATE

The richest, most intensely flavored chocolates are known as the bittersweet darks, which contain the least amount of sugar, and the greatest amount of cacao - anywhere from about 71 and 100 percent. Their bitter, roasted flavoring is so intense, that it really needs a strong red wine to balance the taste. Zinfandels are the go-to when it comes to pairing wine and bittersweet dark. Since these chocolates are the least sweet, your pallet of appropriate pairings is much wider, meaning you can also experiment with many of the sweeter wines like ports and muscats.

TASTE THE WINE FIRST THEN THE CHOCOLATE

Once you've got a great pairing, it's nothing but bliss. Start by tasting the wine, allowing its flavors to fully saturate your mouth. Then take a bite of the chocolate, letting it slowly melt on your tongue. Sip the wine once again. When finished you might never consider having wine without chocolate ever again.
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