The chefs and staff of Pechanga Resort and Casino in Temecula CA always have a ‘sneak peak’ of the enticing culinary treats they create for the annual Chocolate Decadence and Wine Festivals. This year, I was fortunate to join them to sample their tasty creations along with a selection of wines from South Coast and Carter Estates Wineries, one of over seventy vintners participating in both events on February 26 and 27.
So, without further ado, here are my top 5 reasons why you shouldn’t miss this years edition.
1 A World of Wine
Whether you love your wine with sweet, chocolaty confections or savory bites you’re going to find yourself spoilt for choice on both days. Local Temecula and Southern California wines will be well represented but don’t stop there! Tasting events like this provide the perfect opportunity to expand your wine-horizons, thanks to the un-limited , two ounce samples that are included with your ticket, so check out other regions of California or classic offerings from France, Italy and around the world.
2) Fabulous Food;
Pechanga Resort is home to a dizzying array of cuisines and culinary experiences and at this event, all their chefs are pulling out the stops to show you what they can do! Great Oak Steakhouse, renowned throughout Southern California for it’s high-end cuisine and first class service, will have small bites of their famous Fillet Mignon with mushroom and shallot confit and mini versions of their signature Lump Crab Cakes with creamy chipotle aioli.
If Asian food is your pleasure, how about some Peking duck from Blazing Noodles, Sugarcane Shrimp form Bamboo or Salmon Tartar on a succulent sesame seed encrusted California Roll from Umi Sushi and Oyster Bar?
Jouney’s End showed off their fun take on a classic Shrimp cocktail with Mandarin orange and a white cocktail sauce, while the Pechanga Café offered up a hard to choose from selection of Street tacos (carne asada, chicken, vegetable and more). Not to be outdone, Pechanga’s versatile Catering and Banquet team dazzled with sweet and spicy Cava and Cantaloupe Lollipops with Saffron and Jamon Serano alongside stuffed mini sweet peppers.
Classic Aroncino de Riso with Fontina cheese served alongside tender Lobster Ravioli, accented with a Butternut Squash puree, served as prime examples of why Paisano’s is a local favorite. And sports fans need never go hungry if Kelsey’s Chipotle Maple glazed Pork Belly or BBQ Short ribs are served for the big game.
Really, just saying the word ‘chocolate’ may very well be enough, but not for the chefs from Blends. It was obvious they had lots of fun creating a colorful table laden with a myriad of chocolaty treats! Willy Wonka would have been impressed.
Forty-four wineries will be on hand for Chocolate Decadence which takes place on the evening of Friday, February 26, many of whom will be showcasing the perfect pairings for these sweet, sinful samples.
Wine is all about friends, fun and fabulous food. Both events offer a chance to meet the talented people usually hidden in the ‘back of the house’; winemakers, winery representative, and all those Pechanga chefs! Andrew Harris of the SoCal Restaurant Show, heard on AM 830 KLAA, will be broadcasting from Saturday’s event as well.
5) The Feel Good Factor
While all that vino may put a rosy glow in your cheeks, there’s an equally wonderful reason to feel a glow in your heart. Proceeds from both Chocolate Decadence and the Pechanga Wine Festival will go to Habitat for Humanity’s ‘Brush with Kindness’ program that helps seniors and others with much needed home repair help. Jackpot!
Tickets for both events are available at the Pechanga Box Office or on their website, www.pechanga.com.
Chocolate Decadence takes place on Friday, February 26 from 7:00 -10:00 pm. Tickets are $55 per person and include a souvenir glass, unlimited, 2 ounce wine samples, tastings of all chocolate delights, live music and a silent auction. For those who want to really treat themselves, VIP tickets are available for $75 per person and include early entry at 5:30 pm, an upgraded glass, fruit and cheese plates and passed hors d’oeurves in addition to everything offered with regular tickets.
The Pechanga Wine Festival follows on Saturday, February 27th, from 1:00 – 5:00pm. Tickets are $65.00 per person and include a souvenir wine glass, unlimited,, 2 ounce wine samples plus food and dessert items, live music and a silent auction. Attendees who purchase VIP tickets at $85.00 per person, will enjoy an upgraded wine glass and early entry at 12:00pm
If you’d like to attend both days, there are discounted tickets available for $100.00/$140.00 VIP. And those valiant Designated Drivers are not forgotten with a special ticket price – $30.00!