A SWEET PAIRING: Wine and chocolate in the spotlight at 7th Annual Vina Robles Chocolate Festival

Celebrating Valentine’s Day early at the 7th annual Vina Robles Chocolate Festival Sat., Feb. 10 gave the sellout crowd a chance to taste and enjoy wines and port paired with a variety of chocolate confections, baked goods and more.

Vina Robles served fondue with fresh fruit and select wines and provided romantic nooks in the Hospitality Center and the surrounding grounds. Candlelight flickered and the harpist, Melody Klemin, set the mood for the evening of sweets with sweethearts in mind.

Jose and Brenda Gonzalez were first-time attendees out to enjoy a romantic evening.

“This is a really great event!" Brenda Gonzalez said. "It is our first time here and it is amazing! We have never really been to an event like this so we are enjoying it.”

Cupcakes made with reserve Petite Syrah from Robert Hall were a hit with patrons at the event. According to Amy Bagwell, the winery used a high-end dark chocolate and cocoa with the wine in the batter and frosting.

Christina Lopes and Seth Foster were snuggled next to the big fireplace, finishing a glass of wine and a Robert Hall cupcake.

“We loved it!" Lopez said. "It is a very fun event and the cupcakes with the Petite Syrah frosting and the Moscato over at the Pear Valley table were wonderful.”

A few other wineries were pouring at the event along with vendors such as 305 Cookie Co., Sweet Zulu Bakeshop, Brittle Star Candy Co., Xocolatl Artisan Chocolate and more.

Vina Robles gave a portion of the proceeds from the event to Big Brothers Big Sisters of San Luis Obispo County.

“For the last three years, Vina Robles has been generous to donate a portion of the proceeds to our organization but they have done more, not just through this event but for the last 12 to 15 years so we are very fortunate,” Big Brothers Big Sisters Development Director Patty Carpenter said.

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