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09wine When people think of North Carolina, wine and chocolate aren’t always the first things that come to mind, but there are plenty of vintners, chocolatiers and other specialty vendors with big flavors to share. Big Dog Events and Galaxy Events present the Wine and Chocolate Festival Saturday, Feb. 16, from 1-4 p.m. and 5-8 p.m. at the Crown Complex.

“The purpose of the event is to educate the consumer on the different local wines and chocolates that are available within North Carolina,” said Amanda Knepp, general manager and event producer for Big Dog Events. “The event is a taste of wines from across the Carolinas — and there will be chocolatiers, sauces, jams, jellies, spreads, gourmet treats and honey.”

Knepp added that Fayetteville Technical Community College’s culinary students and instructors will have an interactive display featuring premiere chocolate.

A representative from the Chocolate Monkey will walk participants through a chocolate tasting that includes several different types of delectables. She will explain the different hints of flavors that are in the chocolate.

There will also be boutiques, shopping, jewelry, makeup and more. Jewelry and artisans will sell their wares. “This is a festival for men and women,” said Knepp. “We are working with our friends at the Center for Empowerment and Economic Development, and they will talk with patrons about what (their organization does) in the community.”

Knepp added that CEED’s goal is to raise funds for a shared commissary and kitchen space in Fayetteville for local chefs, growers and farmers. One dollar from every bottle of wine sold at the festival will be donated to CEED.

“Fayetteville has been so welcoming, supportive and friendly. We are looking forward to the festival on the 16th,” said Knepp.

Advanced tickets cost $35 until Feb. 15 and $40 the day of the show. There is a 10 percent military discount. The ticket includes all wine and food samples and a complimentary tasting glass. 

For more information, visit www.wineandchocolatefestivals.com.

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