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Spirits And Sweets Are A Perfect Pair

Published: February 14, 2017

Why is chocolate a popular Valentine’s Day gift? The sweet treat contains a chemical “that makes you feel in love,” said Castle Hill Chocolate shop owner Erica Sullivan. She and Yankee Wine & Spirits Manager Brian Hutcheson prepared a few samples of chocolate and wine for guests Tuesday, February 7, during a Friends of Newtown Seniors private Wine & Chocolate Pairing Party at the chocolate shop. Both businesses are located within the Queen Street Shopping Plaza.

Wine, bubbly, and chocolate are “perfect complements to each other,” Mr Hutcheson said. He and Ms Sullivan had several wine and chocolate pairings for tasting that evening.

Guests received three selected chocolates coupled with three wines. Mr Hutcheson and Ms Sullivan noted that a ruby port and nutty chocolate “go nicely together,” and that tawny wines and fruity flavors also make a nice pair.

Guests, all seated before a sparkling wine glass and small plate of heart-shaped chocolates, learned that a rosé wine, dry with a hint of raspberry, works well with a nutty praline chocolate.

As Mr Hutchison popped another cork free and Ms Sullivan sipped, they agreed that pairing could be an “adventure.”

Friends of Newtown Seniors Chairman John Boccuzzi, Sr, and his wife, Vicki, were seated side by side. He asked if a pairing could go wrong. Some flavors do compete, his hosts told him. Ms Boccuzzi enjoyed another sip of white. A wine’s acidity can make a difference in how it paired, and depending on a vineyard’s location, Mr Hutcheson said, “Grapes from different regions take on different flavors.”

Other pairing with chocolate could include certain beers, or coffee.

“So many things can be paired; it’s just a matter of flavors,” Mr Hutcheson said.

Mr Boccuzzi asked, “Is Kahlua and chocolate too obvious?”

As Valentine’s Day approaches, the chocolate shop’s walls, decorated with shiny red heart decorations and candies ready for the holiday, beckoned to guests. Residents with the holiday in mind might consider a stop for chocolate and another stop for wine to make a pairing of their own.

For more information about Castle Hill Chocolate visit; for information on Yankee Wine & Spirits visit

Learn more about the Friends of Newtown Seniors at According to the site, “Friends of Newtown Seniors is an all-volunteer nonprofit group dedicated to helping the Newtown community address issues that affect the lives and well-being of seniors.”

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