CANTON  It was a chocolate lovers weekend on March 16, 17 and 18 at Gervasi Vineyard where several special events were held specifically to celebrate chocolate. It started off with the Gervasi Chocolate Strollacross the Gervasi estate with participants stopping at multiple venues for chocolate treats.

Next was the Gervasi Vineyard Chocolate and Wine Pairing on Saturday where Gervasi’s wine steward at the Villa Grande explored a selection of Gervasi wines paired with Waggoner’s chocolates. Plus, Chef Julianna Wilmoth held a Divine Chocolate cooking class on Saturday afternoon. On Sunday, there were two cooking events including Gervasi Vineyard Truffle Making Party where participants made their own chocolate truffles.

There was also a Chocolate for Dinner cooking party starting at 11 a.m. with 16 guests all cooking a full menu for a late lunch. The menu included recipes that used some type of chocolate in some form.

"We have trayed up all the ingredients needed for two or three recipes per station," Culinary Director and Chef Julianna Wilmoth said. "Students are cooking appetizers, the main course items and desserts. All foods have chocolate as one of the ingredients."

The menu included Devils on Horseback and Chocolaty Red Mole as appetizers, Chocolate Stout braised beef and a pumpkin or squash ravioli with a milk chocolate butter sauce as part of the main course and white chocolate-macadamia nut parfaits and savory herb French toast with white chocolate sabayon on top.

"Our students don’t have to have any cooking experience to join one of our classes. All of our cooking classes are conducted by an instructor chef who shows participants how fun and easy cooking can be. Many people are intimidated by cooking and our classes are meant to show students they shouldn’t be afraid of cooking," Wilmoth said.

The instructor chef for the day was Chef Bob Sferra. Many of the students had been to Gervasi cooking classes before and some were there for the first time. Trisha Williams was there for the first time while her cooking mates Barb Palumbo who was there for the fourth time and Joel Fox was taking his 12th class. The three of them were part of the team cooking the main course on Sunday.

Tim and Val Norfolk from Atwater were making the chocolaty red mole and devils on horseback together.

"We’ve eaten here at Gervasi many times, but this is our first cooking class," Tim said.

Wilmoth said the complex flavors of chocolate and cocoa are an amazing addition to many dishes. The menu for Sunday was proof that it can added to any part of a meal. The chocolate lovers weekend is an annual event that covers multiple days and is held at Gervasi every spring.