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Zentangle from my Waiting Sketchbook

Zentangle from my Waiting Sketchbook

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Chocolate and Wine, Tar Heel Style

February 13, 2014

Wilmington, North Carolina - I haven't thought much about Valentine's Day since elementary school. But with signs for a wine and chocolate festival up all over town, old awkward memories came flooding back.

Chocolate and WineBack in the 1950s, the week before the big day was rife with giggles and mysterious smiles as we each dropped our lacy heart creations for our special friends into a large cardboard box decorated with cut-out red hearts and white lace paper doilies.

On the afternoon of February 14th, the class mothers would bring in fruit juice, paper cups and "store-bought," heart-shaped cookies for a sweet party. As we sat in straight rows at our solitary little desks, the designated "postman" would deliver the cards to us as he called out our names. It was humiliating agony and at the end there I would sit with my three little cards and Carolle (she was so cool, that she was probably the first kid ever to have an exotically spelled name) would be tittering and shaking her curly blonde hair while stacking her 30-40 cards to make room for her juice and cookies.

"Oh, there are just so many!"

"There's no room for my cookies."

The best part of the party, was escaping and going home. As we passed through the door the teacher held out a box of Russell Stover Assorted Chocolates and allowed us to each pick a piece.

Fast forward to February, 2014. Shut in for too long, we decided to man-up and attend the Wilmington Wine & Chocolate Festival.

Chocolate and WineIt was not to be my first chocolate show. Back when we lived in New York City, I frequently attended the glitzy Manhattan Chocolate Show with my best friend and her two kids. It was a fantasy of hand-crafted chocolate gowns and A-List chocolatiers. We could even watch Jaques Torres hold court surrounded by TV cameras.

The Chocolate and Wine show here in Wilmington was a hearts and flowers extravaganza promoting Sweets for your Sweetheart!  A Busby Berkeley dream sequence of watermelon wine, dripping chocolate, line dancing, sweet bon bons, sugary cakes, chocolate smeared toddlers and fun, wine drinking women. Opening at 11 AM the aisles were gridlocked with sugar-high revelers by noon.

It was lIke a great bar scene with much more wine happening than chocolate. People were walking around with their promotional glasses and receiving very generous pours of the various fruit and flower flavored wines.

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"Oh, this definitely carries more than a hint of strawberries. Mmmmmmm..."

Peach Fantasy Wine"Do you prefer Hidden Cellars Blueberry Midnight wine or Southern Dreams Blackberry Magic wine?"

"I'm taking home some of this Peach Fantasy."

Suffering from sugar and alcohol overload, I found my husband waiting for me - holding a bottle of Honeysuckle wine and a pink ribbon festooned box of chocolate rum cakes.

I'm not that easy. (Yes I am.)

We're on the same wavelength. For our Valentine's Day, Bob is baking a Chocolate Cake with Red Wine Glaze! Happy V-Day to you both.


Being a Nordic type, I am pigging out on the Olympic Games. The weather favors me -- it is too awful to go outside.,,I have always yearned for the Southern states. These have a kind of charm that one simply cannot describe. I have always told my Estonian relatives who want to go West that there is so much on the East Coast that is totally awesome! I hope you go through the swamps and wetland before you get to Florida.


NOT FAIR. I just spent two hours plowing wet, heavy snow off of my driveway. You haven't had the best of weather in N.C. either but surely nothing to plow. We were invited to North Myrtle for the weekend but opted to wait for warmer weather.


Happy Valentines to you and Bernie,


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