Now that you’ve dug yourself out of the snow, check out some sweet and savory pairings in the week ahead. Whether it’s a meet-and-greet with celebrity chefs featuring charitable cocoa-inspired cuisine, or learning more about wine and pig pairings while indulging in chocolate-dipped bacon, there are plenty of enticing events on deck.
Chocolate for a Cause
Indulge your chocolate cravings without any of the guilt this Saturday, Feb. 5, as The French Pastry School’s scholarship foundation will hold its annual gala fundraiser, For the Love of Chocolate, at the Chicago Merchandise Mart from 7 pm to 11 pm. Those who partake in the chocolate extravaganza will experience new sweet and savory delights in a feast of chocolate-inspired festivities including:
A Cocoa Cuisine is one of the treats guests can enjoy as they dine on a complete dinner menu prepared by more than 50 celebrity chefs including Rick Bayless, Graham Elliott and Paul Kahan.
The Cocoa Sutra will feature the sweet concoctions of a full chocolate bar, desserts and confections from pastry chefs and chocolatiers of Chicago and beyond. Guests can enjoy live music, belly dancing, body painting, live sugar and chocolate demonstrations showing gravity-defying edible sculptures.
Cocoa Candy Land, where human candy canes, lollipops, jelly beans, and chocolate bars dance among the guests and cocoa cotton candy clouds drift over head, all while Marie Antoinette serves chocolate cake.
All proceeds support the For the Love of Chocolate Foundation, which provides scholarships for qualified students in the full-time programs at The French Pastry School at City Colleges of Chicago. Additionally, reserve a room at the Holiday Inn Mart Plaza next door and receive a 25% discount on two tickets. Tickets to the black-tie event are $200 per person, and can be purchased by calling 312.726.2419. The Merchandise Mart is located at 222 Merchandise Mart Plaza. For more details, visit www.fortheloveofchocolatefoundation.org.
Chocolate and Wine at Eno
Chocolate is also the star subject at ENO at the InterContinental Chicago this Monday, Feb. 7 at 7 pm, as the wine lounge hosts a ENO-Versity: Chocolate! class pairing the two indulgences. Sip and swirl your way to improve your wine knowledge at this interactive and themed monthly class (with different themes running through April) which allows participants to gain a better understanding of a particular wine varietal or vintage. At tonight’s class, guests can smell, taste and ask questions about their wine and chocolate experience. With most of the classes led by Senior Wine Director Scott Harney and Wine Director Shara Bauer, ENO-Versity: Chocolate! explores how unusual flavor combinations can actually bring opposite tastes together and make it work. Chocolates in the $25 class include a rosemary caramel and chocolate dipped bacon, while wines include Core Wine Co. “Candy Core” and Chatter Creek Syrah. Eno is located at 505 N. Michigan Avenue. To RSVP, call 312-321-8738, and for more information, visit www.enowinerooms.com.
Pig and Pinot at The Bristol
If chocolate-dipped bacon piqued your palate for more pork, and you’re still interested in crafty wine pairings, pig and pinot will share the spotlight on Tuesday, Feb. 8 for a demonstration and dinner at The Bristol. Presented by The American Institute of Wine & Food, the event is a farm-to-table celebration that begins at 6:30 pm with a butchering demo by Executive Chef Chris Pandel. A four-course whole-hog dinner at this Mediterranean-inspired spot known for its locally sourced and seasonal menu, will be paired with wines from California’s Copain Vineyards, chosen by winemaker Wells Guthrie. The menu is still to be determined, but the cost is $90 for AIWF members or $105 for non-members. Reservations are required and can be made by calling 773-862-5555. The Bristol is located at 2152 N. Damen Ave.