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Monday, January 23, 2012 / 10:10 AM

Event Recap (and shopping guide): The Art of Wine and Chocolate at Robust

From all indications, The Art of Chocolate and Wine held yesterday at Robust Wine Bar was a sweet success. It was the first of what will surely be an annual event.

Eight local chocolatiers were on hand to show off their latest creations. It was a well-timed event as Valentine's Day (the biggest boxed chocolates day of the year) is in three weeks. Hundreds of event goers paid $25 (proceeds benefitted College Bound, a local charity) to taste and browse. Four local wineries/wine distributors were on hand with 20 wines--mostly reds and "stickies", as Robust likes to call them--specifically chosen to pair with chocolate.

For those who missed the event, and for gentlemen looking for, ahem, upcoming gift ideas (and I know that includes all of you), here is what found its way into my shopping bag:

  • From Mom's Originals - milk and dark chocolate-covered pretzel rods...convenient, fun, no brainer. 
  • From Little Dipper Chocolate - a 4-pc Valentine Truffle "Bouquet" and Mayan Spiced Truffles (with a wee bit of cumin, cinnamon, and cayenne, it packs a slow-fused kick). 
  • From The Chocolate Affair in Highland, IL - Milk Chocolate-Amaretto Dipped Almonds. (They also sell chocolate dipped wine bottles, full of course. It's also a B&B, so you can spend the night at a chocolate store.)
  • From Companion/CCC - a slab of "Breaded Bliss," aka "the perfect marriage of dark chocolate and crunchy, toasted, salted bread." No disagreement here.
  • From Chocolate, Chocolate, Chocolate (CCC) - an 8-pc pack of International Truffles and one of fresh-fruit filled "Dreams."
  • From Bissinger's - Shiraz Infused Dark Chocolate Covered Wine Grapes
  • From Kakao Chocolate - Sea Salt Caramels, Extra Dark Ginger Bark, Cracked White Pepper & Sea Salt Bark. Hard to make a bad choice here.
  • From Cafe Cioccolato - all-natural Peanut Butter Cups, and hand-made marshmallows dipped in chocolate
  • From Oh, Sheila Chocolates - Hand Dipped Truffle Gift Box and "Breakfast Bark" (dark chocolate covered bacon). Sheila also brought a new item--a Blue Cheese Truffle--which for us was the unexpected hit of the day, especially when followed by a sip of Port.)     

(If my mother is reading this, kindly make your selection.)  

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