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Posted at 11:00 AM ET, 01/28/2011

Valentine's Day: Wine and chocolate day trips

By Lavanya Ramanathan

Wine will flow at Breaux and other local vineyards this Valentine's. (Richard A. Lipski - The Washington Post)

Hit Valentine's out of the park this year: Plan a surprise roadtrip to a winery and settle in for a pastoral afternoon of sips and sweets. Check out these wine and chocolate pairings:

Sunset Hills Vineyard, a winery in Purcellville with a lovely, airy, barn-like tasting room built by Amish carpenters, hosts a few sessions of its chocolate and wine pairings on Feb. 13 with chocolatier Wilhelm Wanders. He'll dish about the dark chocolates he's picked to complement Sunset Hills' four red wines. (Guests also get a little box of sweets to take home). Reservations for the tasting ($23.97 per person) are required, and they're filling quickly.

In what's become an annual tradition, Breaux Vineyards, also in Purcellville, will open its barrel room and decorate it with rose petals and candles, setting just the right mood for Valentine's weekend. The couples who come through for the special tastings on Feb. 12-13 will sip several vintages of cabernet sauvignon and nosh on more than a half-dozen handmade truffles selected specifically for each wine. Although the tastings ($31.50) are held all day, reservations are a good idea.

Gray Ghost in Amissville, Va., just around the bend from Luray Caverns (a great post-tasting excursion), hosts its 16th annual chocolate and cabernet event on Feb. 12-13, offering unlimited tastes of several chocolate desserts (rather than just chocolates) to pair with its red wines. Winery tours are also offered several times during the event; reservations for the tasting ($15) aren't required.

In Maryland, Black Ankle Vineyards hosts chocolate and wine pairings Feb. 11-13. Housed in an eco-friendly lodge in a clearing in the forest in Mount Airy, Black Ankle certainly will charm a date; the tastings feature four Black Ankle wines each paired with a chocolate by local artisanal chocolatier Parefections. The tastings ($25) are seated, so reservations are required.

If you like wine but don't have much of a sweet tooth, you could spring for two tickets to the Virginia Wine Showcase, which rounds up wineries from across Virginia to pour their specialties all Valentine's weekend at the Westfields Marriott Washington Dulles in Chantilly (I know, not exactly the most romantic destination ever). Tastings are unlimited (tickets are $40 in advance and $45 at the door), and there will be cooking demonstrations for foodies, too.

By Lavanya Ramanathan  | January 28, 2011; 11:00 AM ET
Categories:  Valentine's Day, Valentine's Day 2011  
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Live blues on Valentine's Day - bring a date or come alone - friendly crowd! Wolf's blues jam (2nd & 4th Mondays - next one Mon., Feb. 14) at JVs Restaurant! Hosted by Wolf and featuring Albert King Award winning guitarist Matt Kelley of the Big Boy Little Band with special guest Robert Frahm as well as local blues talent sitting in with the host band. JVs, located in Falls Church, VA, is a cozy honky tonk with homecooked food and features live music 7 nights a week. Music starts at 8:30 pm, no cover.

Posted by: ConnieOleksakWarner | January 28, 2011 2:25 PM | Report abuse

All these options are so affordable! Thank you Washington Post = ) This year I'm getting my dark chocolate bars from Sulpice Chocolat.
You can find their hand painted chocolates at

Posted by: TheChocolateLover | January 29, 2011 4:00 PM | Report abuse

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