It is time again for Salem So Sweet, the weekend created with chocoholics in mind!
On February 5, 2010, Salem will become a haven of chocolate, wine, and ice. The weekend kicks off with the annual Chocolate & Wine Tasting at historic Hamilton Hall (tickets are $20 each, available from the Salem Chamber of Commerce). This event is always crowded, so get there early - and remember to eat some protein before you go, because the samplings are decadent. Chocolate truffles, chocolate-dipped strawberries, chocolate cheesecake, chocolate mousse, hot chocolate, cold chocolate, iced chocolate... last year some of the wine was chocolate, as well as red, white, and sparkling.
I like to make a night of it and go out for dinner (Calories? What calories?!) after the Chocolate & Wine tasting, I'm not alone in this, however, so you may want to make a reservation if your heart is set on a particular restaurant. Check out your options on Salem.org.
Come back downtown on Saturday for the ice sculptures. Organizers at Salem Main Streets expect more than 12 ice sculptures to be on display around town. Keep an eye on the weather forecast - if it warms up (like it did last year) you want to come out on Saturday to walk around and see the ice. If it's very cold, the ice will be around throughout the weekend and into the week.
I wouldn't be doing my job if I didn't mention how easy it would be to make a weekend out of Salem So Sweet! Check out the off-season hotel rates on Salem.org and find some cozy quarters, walking distance from everything, that will make your weekend a perfect escape.
Locations of the sculptures will be posted here and at SalemMainStreets.org, and it's a lot of fun to wander from Town House Square to Pickering Wharf looking at the sculptures. There is also going to be a mixed media sculpture (ice is one of the media!) at the Phillips House on Chestnut Street, so be prepared to wander that way, too!
Most of Salem's stores and restaurants run Salem So Sweet promotions, which range from sale pricing to chocolate infused menu items to chocolate samples, so be sure to browse a bit while you wander. You'll need to warm your fingers and toes, anyway. No better way to do that than with chocolate!
Also worth noting: February 7 is the last day of the Iris Apfel: Rare Bird of Fashion exhibit at the Peabody Essex Museum. If you haven't seen it, make time to do so. It is a fabulous and fun exhibition of fashion and personality.
There is no better way to kick-off the Valentine's Season in Salem then with chocolate and ice, so mark your calendars and make your plans!