This Friday marks the 8th annual Pechanga Wine Festival and Chocolate Decadence. While the focus Saturday is on wine and food, this Friday evening chocolate takes center stage. I recently visited with Pechanga’s Executive Pastry Chef, Jean-Jacques Granet, whose one-year anniversary at Pechanga comes up at the end of March. His love of pastries began when he was 16 in a neighborhood pastry shop in Marseille, France. After graduating from the Culinary Arts School of Nice, he joined the military and then found work in some of France’s most prestigious kitchens. From France he moved to renowned kitchens in Argentina and Venezuela and finally to the MGM Grand in Las Vegas before joining Pechanga. He told me he loves it here.
There’s going to be a “lot of chocolate”, chef assured me. Live stations will feature a chocolate fountain with fresh fruit, rice krispies and other items to dip. Another will offer cupcakes and a crepe station with chocolate, caramel sauce, ice cream and more. Look for a fondue station as well as a table full of truffles including raspberry, white and dark chocolate with Grand Marnier. There will be tartlets, macarons of Oreo, lemon, nutella, strawberry and vanilla. He’s not quite done with you yet. Guests will also be able to indulge in mini-cakes like opera, cheesecake on a stick, flourless chocolate and wafer baskets. If you’re not familiar with verrines, they are a small glass with a course inside. Chef’s verrines will have pears in red wine, chocolate cheesecake, dark velvet mousse and tiramisu.
The star of the show just might be “fire and ice”, an ice sculpture with flambéed crepes being prepared behind the ice. Trust me, I’m just scratching the surface of what you will find Friday night at Pechanga. Chef was so excited about what he’s preparing I wasn’t able to keep up with everything he told me. I suggest you go find out for yourself. Doors open at 7pm. General admission is $55 and VIP tickets are $75. Tickets are available by clicking here – Pechanga Chocolate Decadence tickets.
Tom Plant launched WINEormous in 2009 and is a member of the International Food Wine and Travel Writers Association. Based in Temecula, California, he offers intimate winery tours for no more than seven people. Tour details and pricing are available at www.temecula-tours.com. Call now to book your Temecula Winery Tour at (951) 907-9701. Ask about special discounts.