Days of Wine and Chocolate occurs annually and features a VQA wine and chocolate pairing (chocolate infused dish) at 26 Wineries of Niagara-on-the-Lake every weekend in February. Gourmet samples of appetizers, main courses, and desserts are offered. This is a fantastic way to celebrate the month of love with your partner and/or friends! You can make a fun afternoon of it, a relaxing weekend, or romantic getaway.
There are designated wine routes that you can follow (but they don’t lead to every winery that is part of the festival) or you can plan your own route and go at your own pace to target what you are most interested in tasting. However, you should be aware that there are some unexpected surprises that you may like contrary to what you may think beforehand. You may want to check the operating hours of the wineries before planning your route as some wineries open much later than others, but note that the festival hours are from 11 am – 5 pm. Be sure to visit the wineries that you most want to try first, as there’s a chance if you leave it to around 5 pm that the winery may run out of its feature due to its huge popularity.
Designated driver passes are also available, which entitle drivers to food pairings and non-alcoholic drinks, and are discounted. The wineries have a range of different juices and drinks available so that designated drivers are not left out and have new things to sample as well.
The best part of the festival is that the touring passes can be used at each winery over any of the weekends offered. In other words, you don’t have to visit all the wineries in one day or over one weekend. Instead you can spread it out over several days or weekends if you choose, but are entitled to only 1 sample per winery, for a total of 26 samples.
The hosts and hostesses at the wineries were all very pleasant. helpful, and knowledgeable. We were able to make it to 17 out of 26 wineries in one afternoon and enjoyed the wine and food pairings immensely as they complemented each other so well. Some of our favourite samples included the Chocolate Chicken Tortilla Soup, Lobster Bisque with White Chocolate Shavings, the Pineapple Infused White Chocolate (or Pineapple Bark), and the Nutella Crunch Cream Cake.
Check Out the Video Featuring the Wines and Gourmet Chocolate-Infused Dishes That We Tried!
Between the Lines
2013 Cabernet Franc
Luscious Raspberry Filled Chocolate Truffle
Catttail Creek Estate Winery
2008 Select Late Harvest Cabernet Sauvignon
Nutella Crunch Cream Cake
Château des Charmes
2011 Cabernet Franc, Estate Bottled
Spicy Double Chocolate Cookie Bar Topped with Cassis Dark Chocolate Truffle & Dried Berries
Coyote’s Run Estate Winery
2012 Cabernet Merlot
Chocolate Espresso Cheesecake
2008 Lakeview Cellars GMR Sparkling
Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies
2012 Cabernet Franc
Cabernet Franc Chocolate Cake
2012 Cabernet Franc Icewine
Chocolate Soba Noodle Salad with Cocoa and Soy Cured Duck
Jackson-Triggs Niagara Estate Winery
2012 Grand Reserve Shiraz
Red Wine Chocolate Cake with Smoked Almond Cream
Joseph’s Estate Wines
2010 Late Harvest Vidal
White Chocolate Almond Biscotti
Konzelmann Estate Winery
Flourless Chocolate Brownie
Niagara College Teaching Winery
2011 Barrel Fermented Chardonnay
Roasted Butternut Squash with Chocolate Mole
Palatine Hills Estate Winery
2011 Lakeshore Red
Peller Estates Winery
Ice Cuvée Classic
Sea Salt Caramel & Valrhona Dark Chocolate Truffles
Pillitteri Estates Winery
Dark Chocolate Pecan Bark Topped with Caramel & Sea Salt
Pondview Estate Winery
2012 Cabernet Merlot Rerserve
Milk & Dark Chocolate Dipped Strawberry Drizzled with Caramel and Sea Salt
2013 Chardonnay Reserve
Lobster Bisque with White Chocolate Shavings
Ravine Vineyard Estate Winery
2012 Sand & Gravel Cabernet Franc
Chocolate Mint Opera Cake
Reif Estate Winery
Chocolate Chicken Tortilla Soup
Riverview Cellars Estate Winery
2012 Rosso Cabernet Merlot
Small Talk Vineyards
2011 Riesling Icewine Cocktail
Pineapple Infused White Chocolate
Triomphe Cabernet Franc
Bresaola dusted in thyme and cacao nibs
2010 Tollgate Fume Blanc
Roasted Fennel, Beet, & Dark Chocolate Salad
2010 Merlot Terroir
Herb & Pepper Crusted Pork Tenderloin on Crostini with Red Currant & Chocolate Glaze
Trius Winery at Hillebrand
Trius Brut Rosé
Dark Chocolate and Bacon Truffle
2011 Eleventh Post
Roasted Mushroom Crostini with Gorgonzola, Arugula and Agrodulce sauce
Days of Wine & Chocolate was a very fun social event to do as a couple on a double date with friends. I would definitely recommend it to any wine and food lover!
Other Niagara-on-the-Lake Festivals
Other festivals in the Niagara-on-the-Lake Region are: Sip & Sizzle in May (wine and gourmet grill pairings), Taste the Season in November (wine and hearty winter food pairings), and the Icewine Festival in January (includes an Icewine Village, an Icewine cocktail competition, special dinners with an Icewine inspired menu paired with wines, the Icebreakers Comedy Festival, and Icewine tastings accompanied by culinary samples).
Furthermore, there are several year-round events, such as Savour the Sights (on a specific Saturday every month Jackson-Triggs Winery offers 5 courses of fine regional cuisine, each featured in a different location of the winery), the Peller Estates Kitchen Table Dinner on Saturday nights, and the Winemakers’Selections Tasting Pass (entitles you to one tasting of a Winemaker’s Selection wine at each of the 25 Wineries of Niagara-on-the-Lake any day of the year). For more information on tours and events check the Wineries of Niagara-on-the Lake website’s Tours & Events drop-down menu. Niagara-on-the-Lake is a must for summer!
Map of Where Niagara-on-the-Lake is Located in Ontario, Canada
What is your favourite food event?
The festival passes were complimentary courtesy of jankelley. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.