Me? Scott and I keep it quiet on Valentine’s Day because we celebrate our anniversary the following week.
This year, we’ll be checking out the new Die Hard movie and then picking up a dinner for home. After last week’s Ohio Blogging Meetup at Whole Foods Cedar Center, we have some inspiration.
This was Ohio Blogging’s 3rd annual trip to Whole Foods. And as last year demonstrated with a pizza making contest, they always have something delicious up their sleeve.
This time around the theme was “Chocolate Three-Way” featuring a selection of chocolate-infused tastings.
First up, a chicken enchilada with traditional mole sauce. Whole Foods Chef Sarah Schoenberger hit this right on the nose. While the enchiladas were excellent, the slight burn of the mole with a hint of chocolate was what won me over.
And the corn and black bean salad they paired with the dish was so great I snagged a to-go box for lunch the next day.
Then it was time for something sweet. Whole Foods brought in Ines Rehner from Lakewood’s Sweet Designs.
After moving from Croatia to pursue her dream of opening a chocolate store, Ines taught herself how to make chocolate blends in her kitchen at night.
Since opening Sweet Designs’ doors in 1995, she has expanded to her current location on Detroit Ave. There she makes more than 100 different artisanal chocolates. truffles, hand-dipped fruits, nut clusters, and caramels.
At the meetup, we tried a variety of selections including chocolate covered strawberries, truffle-stuffed chocolate figs, and a few of her signature chocolate bars. My favorite was the pumpkin-seed-covered chocolate bar.
Ines even shared a bit of professional advice on how to eat chocolate-covered strawberries: After dipping the strawberry, cut off the stems, than halve the strawberries long-ways. Useful knowledge in time for Valentine’s Day!
Whole Foods’ Market Wine Buyer Audree Sinnett played matchmaker with wine and beer pairings. We enjoyed a selection of Iron Horse Wedding Cuvee, Sam Smith Chocolate Stout, Sexual Chocolate and a bonus chocolate liqueur.
Honestly, I couldn’t pick a favorite from Audree’s choices. The Iron Horse was a delicious sparkling Blanc de Noirs. The Chocolate Stout when mixed with Framboise resulted in a rich fruity combination I need to keep on hand at home. And the chocolate liquer proved a very unique treat – chocolate melted in vodka, aged in oak barrels. Thick, creamy and luxurious.
While I couldn’t try the Sexual Chocolate because of my red wine allergy, Scott did grab a bottle for its awesome label:
This excellent evening was put together by Whole Foods Community Manager Lisa who plans events and outreach efforts like these:
Every Thursday from 4-6pm, the Cedar Center Whole Foods hosts a Whole Deal with Morag! cooking demo. Tomorrow is a wine pairings dinner featuring Argentinian wines. And on Feb. 27, stop by for an Italian Cheese class at 7pm.
More events can be found on the Whole Foods Cedar Center calendar.
While the food was a nice bonus, the real reason I enjoy going to the Blogger Meetup each month is to catch up with old friends and meet new ones. At this month’s Meetup:
- Always JAM in CLE – Jessica’s Recap
- @BeautyNewzFlash (+ husband)
- Clue Into Cleveland (That’s me! + Scott)
- Cooker Girl
- It’s a Hero (+ husband Chad and baby Ari)
- Lake County Visitors Bureau (+ boyfriend Steve)
- Lane Baldwin Photography
- Life Lyn Style (safe travels in Seattle, Lyn!)
- Our Journey
- Poise in Parma (+ Hans and Aunt Kathy) – Alicia’s Recap
- Rust Belt Runner – Holly’s Recap
- Smitten in Cleveland (+ Mr. Smitten, aka Chris)
- Wearing Mascara
- WhyCLE – Jen’s Recap
If you’re a blogger, want to start a blog, or a blog supporter, check out one of the Ohio Blogging Association’s upcoming events.