It’s almost Valentine’s Day, and as the saying goes: “You cannot live by wine alone. Add some chocolate.”

“I’m perfectly happy having wine and chocolate every day, not just Valentine’s Day,” joked Joanne Levengood of Manatawny Creek Winery in Douglassville. Right now, she’s sweet on cabernet franc port and chocolate mousse.

“I couldn’t stop eating it. It’s so chocolaty and so yummy,” the winemaker said. “Port and chocolate pair so well together.”

Another fond favorite: chocolate cabernet cake with cabernet buttercream icing.

“It’s just simple,” Levengood described. “People love it.”

At Penns Woods Winery in Chadds Ford, don’t miss the DeVine Brownies as in “of the vine.” Made with grape skin flour, they carry a cult following and complement cabernet sauvignon. Or savor a dark chocolate Harvest Bar with Lacrima Dolce dessert wine.

“You want something that’s going to be smooth and awaken the taste buds but not attack them,” said Carley Razzi Mack, co-owner and marketing director. “As local chocolatiers have been experimenting with different techniques … that has really allowed us to work with more wines and flavor combinations.”

Enjoy passionfruit with traminette, chocolate strawberry with pinot noir and bourbon chevre with chambourcin.

“Some of these are custom bonbons that have been made specially to pair with the wines,” she added. “It’s a fun way to take dessert to the next level.”

Tasting notes

Surprise your sweetie with passionate pairings not only at Penns Woods Winery but also Chaddsford Winery, Avondale’s Va La Vineyards and Galer Estate Vineyard and Winery in Kennett Square.

Or hit the trail - the Berks County Wine Trail - for Chocolate & Wine Pairing Weekends. Sample sweet treats (like that chocolate mousse!) at 11 stops, starting this Saturday.

Kiss the cook

Rather celebrate at home? Wine experts shared recipes, so grab an apron and show someone a “choco-lot” of love.

Chocolate Port Wine Mousse with Port Wine Fudge Sauce

Ingredients

1/4 pound semisweet dark bar chocolate, coarsely chopped

1/4 cup white corn syrup

3 tablespoons port wine

1 cup + 3 tablespoons heavy whipping cream

2 egg whites from large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

Port wine fudge sauce:

6 ounces semisweet, good-quality bar chocolate (not chocolate chips), chopped fine

1/2 cup light corn syrup

2/3 cups ruby port

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup cocoa powder

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla

Instructions

Mousse: Carefully melt chocolate, corn syrup, port and 3 tablespoons heavy whipping cream. Let cool. Whip 1 cup heavy whipping cream to stiff peaks. Fold into chocolate. Whip egg whites to stiff peaks and fold into chocolate mixture. Pour into serving dishes. Can be frozen. Serve with port wine fudge sauce. Servings: 8.

Sauce: Combine all ingredients, except the vanilla, in a medium saucepan. Cook over low heat until melted and then increase heat to medium. Stirring frequently, bring the mixture to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Cool 10 minutes before serving. To serve later, refrigerate and rewarm. Makes 2 cups.

Recipe courtesy of Manatawny Creek Winery

Chocolate Cabernet Cake

Ingredients

2 eggs

2 cups sugar

1 cup mayonnaise

2 cups cabernet sauvignon

2 cups flour

1 cup cocoa

2 teaspoons baking soda

Cabernet buttercream icing:

1/4 cup butter

2 cups confectioners’ sugar

1/8 to 1/4 cup cabernet sauvignon

Instructions

Cake: Cream eggs and sugar. Add mayo and wine and beat well. Mix dry ingredients and add to wet. Place in a 13-by-9-inch and bake at 350 degrees for about 35 to 40 minutes or until done. Top with cabernet buttercream Icing.

Icing: Beat butter and sugar well. Add enough wine to achieve desired consistency. Spread over chocolate cabernet cake.

Recipe courtesy of Manatawny Creek Winery

Penns Woods Winery’s Red Wine Hot Chocolate

Ingredients

8 ounces whole milk

4 ounces water

6 ounces good-quality semisweet chocolate chips

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

6 ounces of Penns Woods Novi or light red wine

2 to 3 ounces of Penns Woods Lacrima Dolce or dessert red wine

3 heaping teaspoons cocoa powder

Instructions

Heat whole milk, water and chocolate chips together in a Crock-Pot on medium heat, whisking continuously. Once the chocolate has melted, whisk in cocoa powder and vanilla. Once all ingredients are incorporated and liquid is smooth, slowly pour in red wine, whisking slowly but continuously. Serve immediately with a dollop of whipped cream (optional).

Recipe courtesy of Penns Woods Winery

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