Celebration of chocolate returns to old town with ‘chocolate escape’

Kendra Scott’s spring collection, now available at Simply Charming boutique is a perfect nod to Valentine’s Day with it’s pastel shades of pink and red. Ashley Miller/Daily

WINCHESTER – Chocolate lovers can satisfy their sweet tooth at the fifth annual “Chocolate Escape” in Old Town Winchester on Feb. 10.

Whether dark or semi-sweet, Valentine’s Day is the perfect occasion to celebrate the chocolate lover. Jennifer Bell, downtown manager of the City of Winchester, couldn’t agree more.

“The Chocolate Escape was originally started as an event to encourage people to come support downtown merchants for Valentine’s Day,” Bell said. “Old Town offers such a wide variety of great gift shops, florists and amazing restaurants – perfect for celebrating those you love.”

Hosted on the Saturday before Valentine’s Day, the “Chocolate Escape” is a nod to planning ahead. Bell said its an opportunity to boost the economy by encouraging people to shop small. “Whether they’re making dinner reservations or picking up a box or two of chocolates, it’s a great opportunity for people to try something new.”

Participating businesses will be marked by a red balloon.

Jewelry and clothing oh my! Simply Charming Boutique offers a wide selection of sweet gifts perfect for Valentine’s Day. Ashley Miller/Daily

Jessica Jenkins, an avid “Chocolate Escape” attendee, said she always goes with one of her best friends because she loves supporting Old Town and its businesses. “We go from restaurant to restaurant trying something new and different,” Jenkins said. “Plus, I love chocolate. Who doesn’t?”

Individuals who participate in the event will have the pleasure of sampling  chocolate treats from local restaurants including The Chef’s Market, 147 Restaurant and Crepe Worx for $3 a piece.

Treats include chocolate éclairs, cheesecake pops with chocolate stout ganache, German chocolate brownie bars and petite s’mores crepes.

“I’m impressed by those people who can sample one of everything,” Bell said. “It’s chocolate overload.”

Bonnie Jones and Phil Anderson, owners of The Chef’s Market, 120 N. Indian Alley, are participating in their first “Chocolate Escape” since the opening of their restaurant last April.

The Chefs Market will offer their caramel pecan squares for $3. Ashley Miller/DAILY

“We love taking part in any and every event we can,” Anderson said. “Not only does it get our name out there, but it allows us to meet lots of new people. We love meeting new people.”

The Chef’s Market will be serving up their caramel pecan squares and will be offering 10 percent off all sparkling wines.

For those looking to say, “I love you” in an extra special way, many Old Town businesses will be offering promotions and discounts to encourage spreading the love. Retailers include The Black Rose, Simply Charming Boutique, and Winchester Book Gallery.

Brenda Young Adams, owner of Simply Charming Boutique, 28 W Piccadilly St., said they will be offering 14 percent off everything in the store, sale included.

“We sell a lot of jewelry for Valentine’s Day,” Adams said. “But its’ not just to men. Moms will come in looking for something special for their daughters. Sisters stop by as well, looking for something extra sweet.”

Paired with a rose’ or sparkling champaign, these caramel pecan squares are the perfect sweet treat. Ashley Miller/Daily

Adams added they have something for everyone.

Top Valentine’s Day brands for Simply Charming Boutique include Alex & Ani, Kendra Scott and Corkcicle.

“Valentine’s Day is such a great holiday to be creative,” Adams said. “Showing someone you love them with something special makes it even sweeter.”

Participating businesses in Old Town will also provide chocolate pick-me-ups including chocolate covered licorice, truffles and hot chocolate.

The Handley Library, 100 W. Piccadilly St., in partnership with the Magic Lantern Theater, will offer a free screening at 2 p.m. of “On the Town,” starring Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra and Ann Miller. It’s a classic tale of three sailors looking for romance and fun in New York City.

And for those young at heart, the Shenandoah Valley Discovery Museum, 19 W. Cork St., will offer chocolate-related activities including hot cocoa crafts, hidden kisses scavenger hunt and recipes to make chocolate ice cream.

For a full list of participating restaurants, bakeries and businesses visit: https://tinyurl.com/ycv3loo4

If You Go

When: 2-5 p.m. Feb. 10

Where: Old Town Winchester