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Winchester plans pre-Valentine's Day 'Chocolate Escape'

Christine Patrick, co-owner of Winchester Book Gallery, stands beside a display of Drinking Chocolate she will make during Old Town Winchester's first Chocolate Escape event that will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday. (Buy photo)

By Moazama Rafiqzad - Daily Correspondent

Chocolate has become a big part of the Valentine's Day celebration, and Old Town Winchester has embraced this tradition by organizing its first Chocolate Escape event, which will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday.

Downtown manager Jennifer Bell, who conceived the event, expressed enthusiasm for the event that is designed for tasting decadent desserts in sample portions for $2 at participating restaurants.

"I am very excited to have this event in downtown Winchester for the first time, showcasing the delicious desserts, restaurants and shopping," Bell said.

It is a chance to break out of winter hibernation, she said, to come out with friends and dive into some chocolaty fun with free activities from local businesses.

This is the day to satisfy every chocolate craving, whether it's devouring morsels of chocolates and listening to jazz at Eugene B. Smith Gallery, trying the chocolate-covered bacon at Incredible Flying Objects or sampling Ecuadorian chocolates at Abija Blue.

Try chocolate martinis at the local bars or the Caliente Stack at the Bright Box Theater's Latin Night -- a layered red velvet brownie topped with frosting, dark chocolate shavings and a layer of cinnamon cayenne chocolate ganache, crowned with chocolate cream swirl, gold sprinkles and a chocolate heart. While there, join in the salsa dancing. Tickets are $20 and include a welcome drink.

There will even be a horse-drawn wagon offering rides around town, and according to Bell, "The new Joe's Steakhouse restaurant will be offering free chocolate samples to showcase the new menu."

The Winchester Book Gallery will be serving a specialty drink called Sipping Dreams, a silky chocolate drink that is made from melted chocolate bars rather than powder chocolate, which owner Christine Patrick explained is a drink adapted from the European traditional way of serving hot chocolate drinks.

"It is a fun scene to shop local for Valentine's Day. Whether you buy for your mother, your sister or your someone special. Come out and have fun," said Patrick, who is also president of Old Town Winchester Business Association.

The owner of Cool Confectionaries will be visiting from Harpers Ferry to tell stories about the history of chocolate at Murphy's Beverage Company. She will share her knowledge on how to do wine and chocolate pairings.

The Shenandoah Valley Discovery Museum will have free admissions and offer chocolate art projects for everyone to enjoy.

All participating businesses along the Loudoun Street Pedestrian Mall will be offering special discounts on Valentine's Day gifts such as strands of chocolate glass pearls, chocolate candles and hot chocolate mugs.

Bell said she hopes many will come "to enjoy the event and to make their Valentine's Day plans whether a dinner reservation or purchasing gifts in downtown stores."

For moreinformation about this event, visit www.oldtownwinchesterva.com/events/chocolate-escape/ or email welcome@winchesterva.gov


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