Chocolate Indulgence in St. Helena

Chocolate and love go hand in hand…..or hand to mouth? The stimulating sensuality of the cocoa bean has led it to play a major part on Valentine’s Day. Journal of Sexual Medicine reveals that eating a square of dark chocolate every day makes you more inclined towards feelings of love. Is it true? Chocolate enhances the sensual mood by raising the production of endorphins, natural opioids linked to good feelings, and of serotonin, which promotes relaxation and well-being. Sign us up!

Chocolate, wine, and all the decadent things in life can be found in St. Helena. While they are on the menu any time of year, there is something especially indulgent during the month of love! If you find yourself jonesing for the sweet treat that is chocolate, look no further than St. Helena.

So, what to do? Do not restrict your chocolate consumption only to Valentine’s Day; here are a few ways to enjoy this delectable delight in St. Helena this month.

Where to stay is the first stop in your indulgent in love itinerary. Book yourself a romantic stay at one of St. Helena’s lodging properties. Let them satiate your romance with one of these specials:

The Très Romantique Package at Auberge du Soleil includes an evening with an outdoor candlelit bath for two, followed by a sensuous couples massage and dessert paired with wine. Then, under the stars, couples may enjoy a private soak in the three temperate pools and a restorative herbal Hamman steam. The next morning, indulge in the guilty pleasure of uninterrupted sleep and linger over breakfast for two served in-room or on the terrace of the resort’s Michelin Star Restaurant.

Rekindle the Romance at The Wine Country Inn where you can relax, take a break and let romance blossom. Set the mood with a bottle of Schramsberg Sparkling and chocolates from local Chocolatier Woodhouse Chocolates. You’ll have the ultimate relaxation experience with two 60-minute Classic Swedish Spa Treatments. Your stay includes complimentary breakfast and wine tasting.

Stay in the heart of downtown St. Helena at Southbridge Napa Valley for a little extra romance. Pamper yourselves with this Couples Romantic getaway and enjoy a welcome bottle of Merryvale Winery Cabernet Sauvignon, a box of chocolate truffles, and a fifty-dollar hotel credit.

After you check in, stroll down St. Helena’s famous Main Street to take in the seasonal window displays at Woodhouse Chocolates and then stock up! Appearing in magazines such as Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, InStyle and several times on Oprah’s O list, Woodhouse has also been named first in the country by Consumer Reports and the best chocolate shop in America by the Huffington Post. Most recently, our S’mores were honored on The Best Thing I Ever Ate.

But the Woodhouse Chocolates are for digging in at home; you have some chocolate and wine tasting to do:

Throughout the month of February, Merryvale Vineyards is excited to partner with Micaela Boreyko chocolates to offer a special Wine and Chocolate Pairing. Each piece of Micaela Boreyko chocolate is hand-painted and crafted in The Napa Valley through a four-day process, using only the finest ingredients. The flight includes six of their most popular wines and a special selection of six chocolate truffles and confections that have been specifically paired, and in some cases, custom made to complement each wine.  Advanced reservations required. Surprise your sweetheart with a sweet treat and book your tasting today!

This month and every month VGS Chateau Potelle welcomes you to enjoy their Signature VGS Wine & Food Tasting Experience. Known as the premier Food & Wine Tasting Experience in the Napa Valley, they offer a seated Private Tasting of 6 wines, expertly paired with exquisite food bites from the famed Michelin-starred La Toque Restaurant and La Foret Chocolatier. Elegant yet restrained, with every detail tailored to you!  Lighthearted, easygoing and (though sometimes irreverent) certainly never pretentious. 

Yao Family Wines has received critical acclaim from Robert Parker of The Wine Advocate, Steve Heimoff of the Wine Enthusiast and many of the world’s most respected wine critics. Parker awarded 95 points to the Company’s 2010 YAO MING Family Reserve Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon and 90 points to the Company’s 2010 YAO MING Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. This is a perfect time to visit and taste for yourself and during the month of February you can add some gooey goodness with their Chocolate Pairing Tasting. A selection of four red wines, paired with locally made Kollar Chocolates crafted specifically to pair with Yao Family Wines. This is a Tasting Room favorite and a fun, delicious tasting!

Ready for some caffeine with your chocolate? Coffee and chocolate have a natural synergy and make for a very harmonious pairing. St. Helena is the perfect stop to caffeinate with our Bakeries and Coffee Shops.  Here are a few to enjoy the brew.

Delicious choices await you at The Bakery Café by illy. Whether you stop by for a refreshing beverage, a specialty salad or sandwich, or freshly baked breads, handmade chocolates, pastries, cookies, and tarts to take home, it will be a visit to remember.

Make sure you peek into their state-of-the-art Ghirardelli Chocolate Discovery Center, where the fabulous Greystone chocolates are handcrafted from premium, single-source chocolate.

Ready for dinner but not ready to give up your search for chocolate? St. Helena restaurants have you covered. Try one…or more of these during your stay.

Archetype’s downtown restaurant exemplifies the belief that thoughtful design and the power of a shared meal can elevate the human spirit. Their dessert menu reflects this in the construction of this heavenly CHOCOLATE MAGIC BALLOON.  Coffee ice cream & marshmallow, white chocolate, covered in port-chocolate sauce. Yum!

Roadhouse 29 is the work of Top Chef Masters talent Douglas Keane, who previously owned the high-end, two Michelin Star Cyrus in Healdsburg. He has created the perfect casual ‘cue roadhouse.

Casual doesn’t mean cutting corners. As with his earlier restaurants, Keane still focuses on premium ingredients, such as Journeyman Meat Co. handcrafted bacon and hot dogs, Berkwood Farms Berkshire pork, American Wagyu steak, Akaushi beef, Sonoma Brinery pickles, Napa Valley heirloom beans and Straus Family Creamery dairy.

And at the end, as you’ve licked your fingers clean and wiped a final napkin across your sauce-stained lips, they’ve got some pretty perfect desserts to look forward to. No fancy foams, curious concoctions or gold leaf gaudiness, just a really delicious sweet like a big, gooey warm Mom’s Skillet Baked Chocolate Chip Cookie topped with chocolate or vanilla soft serve.

Cindy Pawlcyn’s Mustards Grill was named for the wild mustard flowers that bloom in the vineyards every spring, which help to nourish the soil. Mustard is an integral part of Napa Valley’s wine growing diversity, makes for one heck of a condiment, and doesn’t look too shabby in the springtime either! Alternately known as the fancy rib joint with way too many wines, Mustards is still the place to go for a heaping plate of honest American fare with worldly sophistication, washed down with a glass of the valley’s finest.

They’re famous for their ridiculously tall brown sugar meringue Lemon-Lime Tart but if you want to complete the mission go for the Warm Chocolate Hazelnut Truffle Tart with caramel sauce, espresso ice cream, and praline.

Skip the heart-shaped box and, instead, find yourself a cocoa adventure that you’ll remember for a lifetime, see you in St. Helena!