HERSHEY - It's obvious that chocolate inspires just about everything that happens in Hershey, but in February the sweet confection plays the main stage all month long in family and couple events during "Chocolate-Covered February," which is in its 10th year.
Guests to the area can experience some pretty sweet festivities - literally.
"Chocolate-covered month is in February and it's around Valentine's Day, which everyone associates with roses and chocolate we just take it to a whole new level here," said Reilly Fies, communications specialist at Hershey Entertainment and Resorts. "We are in Hershey and chocolate comes to mind and we just want to celebrate chocolate all month long."
The delectable sweet treat of chocolate hits the tastebuds in a variety of ways.
To kick off the monthlong happenings, The Hotel Hershey will have a Chocolate Dinner Extraordinaire at 6:30 p.m. Friday. The five-course meal will play off the talented chefs and their chocolate-infused creations. A wine pairing is offered with the meal.
That's just the beginning. Guests can come to The Hotel Hershey or Hershey Lodge and learn from one of the skilled chefs during the Complimentary Chef's Demo, held every Saturday.
"The chef will make something sweet or savory. If savory, they infuse the dish with chocolate. They will run through all the steps and show you how to do it. Infusing savory with chocolate most people didn't realize you could do that," Fies said. "Our chefs get so creative."
The demos are both creative and educational, and the chefs show guests the step-by-step process of infusing dishes with chocolate so they can go home and try their own recipes.
Pairing wine and chocolate can be easily learned and enjoyed at Wine and Chocolate Pairing events Saturdays at The Hotel Hershey.
The pairings give guests the chance to sample different flavors and types of chocolate in conjunction with wine, Fies said. And, guests will learn about the properties of both the chocolate they eat and the wine they drink.
"And what makes that specific chocolate and that specific wine pair well together," she said.
When tasting both, guests are encouraged to let the samples sit in their mouths so they can taste the properties each has to offer.
"Chocolate seems so simple, but there is a lot behind it and these events show you (that). It's very educational, showing what chocolate has to offer and all its different aspects," she said.
If beer is what gets your mouth watering, why not try chocolate and beer together at the Hershey Lodge's Beer and Chocolate Pairing on Fridays?
"You think that is weird and doesn't make sense, but you will learn about the different properties of the chocolate and the beers," Fies said.
Guests will see how to pull different tastes of chocolate that may have not been evident, and then how to pair a good beer with the chocolate.
"You mind is blown, and you think, 'How is that is even possible,' " Fies said.
Shaken or stirred, mixology is something that has been on a trendy radar and, at Hershey, chocolate drinks are at the forefront at Martini Mixology Fridays at the Hershey Lodge.
"The Hershey Kiss martini is the signature drink, with a Hershey kiss in the bottom of the glass. You will learn how to make one in that class," Fies said. "Guests get to take the shaker, martini glass, as well as the recipes, home with them."
Other drinks shown in the class are a special dark chocolate martini and a Reese's, and the ingredients for both can be found at any wine and spirits store.
This month isn't just for couples. Some events are geared toward families.
A Children's Chocolate Tea, every Saturday in February at The Hotel Hershey and Hershey Lodge, invites families to sit down and try delectable chocolate treats.
"Not only do they have different chocolate-flavored teas and treats, they read 'the chocolate story' with them and do fun activities," Fies said. "Its a nice afternoon for mom and child or even a dad and child."
The Dessert Buffet at The Hotel Hershey has what Fies said is "everything you can think of and everything you couldn't."
The pastry team at the hotel uses their vast talents and creativeness to design an array of edible offerings, some of which Fies said people wouldn't think could exist together.
"All of our restaurants at The Hotel Hershey and Hershey Lodge are resort casual; jeans are allowed," Fies said, addressing appropriate attire for diners.
During afternoons in February, the Hersheypark Chocolate Parade will march through Hershey's Chocolate World attraction, playing music to dance and sing along to. Guests are encouraged to join in with the band. This event is complimentary to those visiting.
Even The Spa at The Hotel Hershey has found a way to infuse chocolate into their treatments.
Dark chocolate is known for its antioxidant benefits, and one of the services the spa offers is the edible Cocoa Facial Experience.
"They will actually paint it (dark chocolate) on your lips and prompt you to lick it off, and then paint it on your face," Fies said.
Other events run throughout the month and can be found at www.chocolatecoveredfebruary.com. Events can be sorted by venue, dates and whether they are designed for couples or families.
Both hotels offer packages for families and couples. For more information, visit www.HersheyPA.com or call 1-800-437-7439.