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ASHVILLE, N.C. -- Earth Fare here celebrated Valentine's Day with a three-day Wine & Chocolate Festival in stores that paired wines and chocolates. The 13-store chain held the festival from Feb. 8-10, featuring recipes, chocolate samples, and wine tastings.
"Come experience the decadent world of wine and chocolate during our weekend taste celebration," the chain said on its Web site. "In honor of Valentine's Day, we will showcase some of the finest fair trade, single origin, and local chocolate offerings as well as the perfect wine to pair with your treat of choice.
"On their own, wine and chocolate are a nice indulgence but put them together and they create an elevated taste experience," Earth Fare continued. "Chocolate is often compared to a fine wine with multiple flavor notes, surprising undertones and smooth finishes. It seems only natural to put these two taste sensations together and celebrate all things wine and chocolate."
The natural supermarket chain also informed customers about chocolate's links to health. "You've heard of the many health benefits of red wine," it said. "But did you know that chocolate may have similar benefits? Cocoa beans contain flavonoids (similar to those found in wine and green tea) with healthy antioxidant properties. These antioxidant flavonoids reduce the blood's ability to clot, and thus reduces the risk of stroke and heart attacks. In fact, in a USDA study at Tufts University, researchers measuring the anti-oxidant power of foods discovered that cocoa powder beat out green tea and blueberries!"
Earth Fare also said the saturated fats found in chocolate are mainly stearic acid, which has a neutral effect on cholesterol levels.
Headquartered in Asheville, N.C., Earth Fare operates 13 stores in the Southeast.