What better time for enjoying wine and chocolate than during the wintery, romantic month of February? And how nice for us that they go together so delightfully…provided it’s the right wine and the right chocolate of course.

While trying to create a good wine and chocolate pairing at home can prove to be a bit of a challenge given all the nuances to take into consideration, luckily for us here in Niagara, the annual Days of Wine and Chocolate event is coming up in February.

Every weekend in February, including Fridays, you will have the option of touring a number of wineries (27 to be exact), from 11 to 5, to test out the pairings they have created. Each winery will be pairing a VQA wine with a chocolate inspired dish.

Now, pairing wine and chocolate is no easy task. There are many things to take into consideration. The wine should always be sweeter than the chocolate, or you could end up with a very bitter taste in your mouth. It is always a good idea to try and pair lighter wines with lighter chocolates, and vice versa. The darker the chocolate is, the more tannins from the wine it will display. Probably the best, and lets face it, most fun and tasty way to find that perfect match is by experimenting. Start with a variety of chocolate (from white to dark) and work your way through. Of course, even better is to get some inspiration by checking out the Days of Wine and Chocolate event for yourself.

Touring passes will be available from www.wineriesofniagaraonthelake.com/days-of-wine-and-chocolate or by calling Tourism Niagara at 905-468-1950.

This year’s pairings are not yet available, but here are some examples from last year’s event:

-Between the Lines Winery paired a 2011 Rosé with a white chocolate macadamia mousse.

-Peller Estates Winery paired an Andrew Peller Signature Series Ice Cuveé with candied bacon and chocolate sponge toffee.

-Reif Estate Winery paired “The Magician” 2011 Pinot Shiraz with chocolate chili corn.

-Inniskillin Wines paired a 2008 Vidal Icewine with chocolate peanut butter balls.

And that’s just some of the delicious pairings that have been available in the past. This years pairs will be sure to impress!

Participating wineries include Between the Lines, Cattail Creek, Château des Charmes, Colaneri, Coyote’s Run, Diamond, Hinterbrook, Inniskillin, Jackson Triggs, Joseph’s, Konzelmann, Lailey, Marynissen, Niagara College, Patatine Hills, Peller Estates, Pillitteri, PondView, Ravine Vineyards, Small Talk, Southbrook, Stratus, Strewn, Sunnybrook Farm and Trius at Hillebrand.

More information and a map of winery locations are available at www.wineriesofniagaraonthelake.com.