Perfect pairings: Wilmington Wine & Chocolate Festival sweetens weekend

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By Laura Lewis, Reporter

Wine and chocolate—what better combination does one need to celebrate the month of valentines?

That’s the way organizers of the Wilmington Wine & Chocolate Festival feel about their most delicious fundraiser.

This year’s “sweet affair” kicks off Friday night, Feb. 1, with a grand tasting from 7-10 p.m. at the Coastline Conference & Event Center, 503 Nutt St. in Wilmington. Tickets are $50 in advance and $55 at the door.

The Wine & Chocolate Marketplace is scheduled for 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday and noon-4 p.m. Sunday.

Marketplace tickets for Saturday are $20 in advance or $25 at the door. Tickets for Sunday’s Marketplace are $15 in advance or $17 at the door, subject to availability both days. Tickets can be purchased online at WilmingtonWineAndChocolateFestival.com or at the service desks at Harris Teeter stores in New Hanover, Brunswick and Pender counties.

The festival is produced by the Volunteer Older Citizens Action League (V.O.C.A.L.), a nonprofit group that serves seniors and supports senior services.

The three-day festival is being orchestrated in conjunction with the new Arts Council of Wilmington, which is coordinating entertainment for Saturday’s and Sunday’s Marketplace.

Culinary demonstrations at the Marketplace will be presented exclusively by chefs from the pastry division of the newly expanded Harris Teeter flagship store in Hanover Center in Wilmington.

Widely known local chef Skip Laskody will present gourmet chocolate demonstrations as Harris Teeter chefs share their experience and artistry and pair wines with their creations in the event center’s Riverview Terrace Room. All demonstrations are free with admission.

Saturday’s demonstration lineup includes:

1 p.m.—Raspberry Opera Torte—Pairs well with a sparkling

wine or a pinot grigio

2 p.m.—Chocolate Mousse Bombe—Pairs well with a petit

syrah or a zinfandel

3 p.m.—Caramel Pear Tart—Pairs well with a prosecco or dry moscato

4 p.m.—Repeat of Raspberry Opera Torte demonstration.


Sunday’s demonstration will consist of:

1 p.m.—Raspberry Opera Torte —Pairs well with a sparkling

wine or a pinot grigio

2 p.m.—Chocolate mousse bombe—Pairs well with a petit syrah or zinfandel



This year’s entertainment theme at the festival is “From Broadway to New Orleans to Coastal Carolina Folklore.”

Saturday’s entertainment lineup includes international/Broadway singer-pianist-composer Grenoldo Frazier at 11 a.m., versatile acoustic singer/instrumentalist Susan Savia at 1 p.m., one-man-band El Jaye Johnson at 3 p.m. and Wilmington solo artist Kim Dicso at 5 p.m.

Sunday’s lineup includes jazz saxophonist Benny Hill at noon and folk singer John Golden at 2 p.m.



Twelve regional artisans will be exhibiting and selling work at this year’s festival.

Among them is OceanAire Dreamer Jewelry of Leland.

Other participating artisans include Becky Bucci, mixed materials; Bill Smith caricatures, Carolina Sands Natural Soap, Creekside Forge, Dorian Hill, Jems by Jackie, Michael Bryand, Trendy Totez, The Wine Lights, Woodturning Plus and Wendy Wrenn Pottery.


For more information, call (910) 742-0120 or go online to WilmingtonwineAndChocolateFestival.com.