I don't care if you are a man or a woman: Chances are, you enjoy the adult pleasures of wine and chocolates. It's the law! This Valentine's Day, here are a few tips for nibbling and sipping the two together with maximum yum: As a general rule, wine should be sweeter than your chocolate; mirror notes of nuttiness, floral, or spice with the wine you are pairing for an easy, no-fuss experience; or try to match what might be "missing" from your chocolate with your wine—and vice versa. Got a dry, earthy chocolate bar? Pair it with something fruity and lush ... Not sure what to get your love this V-Day? There is still time to ditch those boring chocolates you got from the drugstore for something more intimate and fun. Sign up for a HoneyBee Cakery Cupcake Gram and your No. 1 sweetie will receive a jumbo Death by Chocolate FUNilla cupcake with classic chocolate rose on top—and you may even avoid the doghouse (delivered to SLO County; $25 per four pack and $7.50 per single; firstname.lastname@example.org for orders).
No white knight in sight? No prob! Try a white horse carriage ride at Madonna Inn, and kick your romantic weekend into an exciting trot. Per tradition, the historic pink hotel will offer carriage rides Feb. 13 and 14. Feeling cheap? You can take a photo with the beautiful creatures (and pet their super soft noses) if you'd rather skip the ride altogether (go to madonnainn.com for details) ... Tooth & Nail Winery in Paso Robles will offer live music by Dan Curcio on the castle's epic tasting terrace this Feb. 14 (comes with a slew of food and wine pairings; visit toothandnailwinery.com for reservations) ... The fine folks at Visit SLO County have unfurled a list of a zillion things for lovebirds to do this V-Day, including a beach bonfire that includes a romantic bonfire, adult beverages, and even a sweet tee-pee service (check out visitsanluisobispocounty.com for even more ideas and sweet local hotel packages, too). Get a room, you two!
A wine great walks among us: Huge congrats to Stephan Asseo of L'Aventure Winery in Paso Robles for his recent win as Paso Robles Wine Person of the Year. Cheers, and keep up the excellent work! ... Firestone Walker Brewing Company just announced that tickets for its 2015 Invitational Beer Fest, slated for May 30, sold out within minutes of going on sale last week. Sorry, y'all. Better think quicker next year ... and for those who are attending: Let's share a beer ... FARMstead Ed is gearing up for a few edible classes you may want to take note of, including a hands-on course on raising chickens (and those rich, ranch eggs), pasture-to-plate pork production, and getting your veggie garden ready for spring (visit farmsteaded.com for all the details) ... The Brat Stop Sausage & Beer is picking up steam in downtown SLO! Try their authentic German bratwurst every Thursday night at Farmers', or stop by their permanent home at 1028 Chorro St. (Check out their Facebook page for updates on specials and menu items). Excuse my belch.
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