Two thoughts on Valentine's gift-giving:
The first: As the Organic Consumers Association (whom I mentioned in a blog post yesterday) recommends, make sure to go fair-trade and organic when buying chocolates and flowers for Valentine's Day. Here's what they say about them:
Now is the time of year when more than 20 million Americans are buying sweets and flowers for their loved ones on Valentine's Day. Unfortunately, these tokens of love aren't as sweet or pure as they may appear. Over 40 percent of the world's conventional chocolate (i.e. non-organic and non-Fair Trade) comes from Africa's Ivory Coast, where the International Labor Organization and US State Department have reported widespread instances of child slavery. Meanwhile, commercial flowers, most of which are produced in countries such as Colombia, are the most toxic and heavily sprayed agricultural crops on Earth. Supplying the global market, poorly paid workers in Third World countries put in up to 18 hour work days for poverty wages during peak flower buying times such as Valentine's Day. But don't let the bad news squelch your Valentine's plans. Show your love by choosing Fair Trade and organic flowers and chocolate for your Valentine's Day gifts.
The second: Since wine and chocolate tend to be common (and appreciated) V-day gifts, consider purchasing both from local sources. An easy way to do this, aside from shopping online, is to attend Cañon City's Eighth annual Chocolate Lover's Walk, which leaves from the town clock tower at Third and Main streets at 11 a.m. Along the way, stop into Pizza Madness (509 Main St., 719/276-3088) to sample Boulder-based Chocolove products and the Winery at Holy Cross Abbey's newly released Colorado Merlot Divinity.
You can also stop into the Abbey's tasting room (3011 E. U.S. Hwy. 50) Feb. 13 (10 a.m. to 5 p.m.) and 14 (noon to 5 p.m.) to sample and purchase the dessert wine, which is limited to 250 cases retailing at $25 per bottle. Those purchasing in-store those days will receive a 15 percent discount.
According to winemaker Matt Cookson's wife Sally, marketing person for the winery:
The 2008 Colorado Merlot Divinity is made in the traditional Portuguese style, and has hints of raspberry and chocolate in the nose and on the palate. Winemaker Matt Cookson recommends this dessert wine after dinner with chocolate. The winery chose Chocolove, a socially and environmentally responsible chocolatier from Boulder Colorado, to pair with the wine. Their chocolates are made in small batches, featuring premium Belgium chocolate. Each bar resembles a love letter, complete with a romantic poem printed on the inside of each wrapper.
You will also be able to find the Divinity Merlot in select local liquor stores after V-Day. Call 719/276-5191 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for more.