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Friday, October 24, 2008

Chocolate De Vine Anyone?

By Silvia Uribe


"Chocolate is like love - a sweet release that lightens the spirit," a friend told me as a truffle was slowly dissolving in her mouth. "Dark chocolate, however, is like good sex - exciting, strong and delicious." You may add your own definition of chocolate, and also enjoy a delicious tasting opportunity with your friends. Now, in the unthinkable (to me) possibility that you are less of a chocolate lover and more of a wine person, you'll be elated too. Yes, I've found an event that combines both chocolate and wine tasting at its best.

But before going into the details of the event, here's a very brief background on these two products:

* The cacao is a tree which seeds can be processed into chocolate. The first people known to have made chocolate beverage were the ancient cultures of Mexico, mainly the Maya and Aztec 250-900 A.D. The flavor of this drink was a little spicy then, but later the Spanish conquistadors took the seeds to Spain where other flavors, and sugar were added making it widely accepted. Because the cacao was imported and expensive, chocolate became a symbol of wealth and power in Europe. It was not until the 19th century that the mass production of chocolate started.

* The wine's history goes far back, 6000 to 5,000 B.C. and according to archeologists, evidence suggests that Georgia and Iran were the first places that produced it. 6,500 years ago, wine production started in Europe, in what was known as Macedonia. Time after, it became very common in Greece and Rome. Wine was forbidden in certain cultures during medieval times, but it got widely accepted later. It was not until after 1870 that growing regions were established throughout the world.

Now, back to our main point. Here's what you'll be in for at the event. Be prepared to find several of our local chefs coming together to put their skills at work by creating not only silky and delicious, but also artistic pieces of chocolate that will be competing for our nomination for the best chocolate in town. Yes, we'll be asked to vote on "The People's Choice Award." Other categories that will be judged are "Best Table Top Presentation", and "Best Flavor Appeal". Also, the area vintners will present their world-renowned wines for us to sample.

This is like a dream come true for those of us who like to indulge our palates!

But that's not all! If you're also a risk taker go-getter, you'll be in heaven. You'll find the live auction, conducted by professional auctioneer John Glines, irresistible. We'll be bidding on no less than a) a one week stay in Spain at a house at the beach or in the mountains, your choice, b) a one week stay at a luxurious condo at a Colorado ski resort, which includes maid service, a land rover to take you places, and other amenities, and c) a trip to Catalina Island in a private plane.

Now, if you are extremely conscientious, you might be considering the extra calorie ingestion. Don't even think about it because you'll easily burn those calories at the dance floor, with the Latino rhythms and beats of local band "Somos Son" - my feet are moving already - that will provide the entertainment.

Thanks to the Santa Barbara Rape Crisis Center, its generous donors, and its laborious volunteers, "Chocolate De Vine" is a dream event come true. Mark your calendars for Saturday, November 8th at 5:30 p.m. at Carriage & Western Art Museum, 129 Castillo St., Santa Barbara, CA 93101. Don't miss it! It is without a doubt an event to enjoy, and at the same time, a chance to support a good cause. For ticket information you can call 805-963-6832.

Count me in!

Silvia Uribe is a freelance writer with a Latino perspective.

Cross-posted at

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