Culinary calendar for the week: Chocolate, stouts and Valentine's Day alternatives

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Celebrate the days leading up to Valentine's Day (and Fat Tuesday) with an array of chocolate-centric events, wine dinners and much more. Here's a taste of what's ahead:

Monday, February 8:

The Tattered Cover LoDo, 1628 16th Street, presents Say It With Chocolate from 4 to 7 p.m., an all-you-can-eat chocolate festival with live music and a silent auction. Tickets are $20 and benefit the Third Way Center. Visit www.tatteredcover.com or call 303-436-1070.

Terroir, 246 Main Street in Longmont, will donate 15 percent of the evening's sales to the Boulder County AIDS Project; make reservations at 303-651-0630 or www.bcap.org.

Tuesday, February 9:

As part of its Stout Month, Mountain Sun is sponsoring a vertical tasting of Avery Brewing's "The Czar," 2005-2009, from 4:30 to 6 p.m. at Southern Sun Brewery, 627 South Broadway in Boulder. For info, call 303-543-0886 or visit www.mountainsunpub.com.

An array of courses, including wine pairings from Eagle Vale winery in Margaret River, Australia, will be served up at Venue, 3609 West 32nd Avenue, starting at 6:30 p.m. It's $50 to attend; call 303-477-0477 or visit www.venuebistro.com for more details.

Importer John Salamanski will be present at an evening of food and wine at Mizuna, 225 East Seventh Avenue. Limited-production wines from Sonoma and Anderson Valley will be paired with a five-course meal that starts at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $100; visit www.mizunadenver.com or call 303-832-4778.

The Mercury Café, 2199 California Street, hosts "Conscious Eating: Food Choices and the Natural World," a discussion of food choices with panelists Kate Lawrence, Keith Akers, Adam Brock and Larry Weiss. Admission is a $5 suggested donation, and the discussion goes down from 7 to 9 p.m. Call 303-294-9281 or visit www.mercurycafe.com.

Thursday, February 11:

Get in the mood for Fat Tuesday at a Mardi Gras Warm-Up Rum Dinner, featuring cocktails and daiquiris made with a variety of rums, a four-course dinner, a sneak-peek at Big Easy Lager and a New Orleans jazz trio. The dinner starts at 6:30 p.m. at Wynkoop Brewing Company, 1634 18th Street, and costs $40; call 303-297-2700 or visit www.wynkoop.com.

The Infinite Monkey Theorem and Opus are teaming up for a Characteristic Wine Dinner, which mirrors common characteristics found in many wines. It starts at 6:30 p.m. at Opus, 2575 West Main Street in Littleton, and costs $65; call 303-703-6787 or visit www.opusdine.com.

Peaks Lounge in the Hyatt Regency Denver, 650 15th Street, is hosting a Chocolate Lounge today through Valentine's Day, with four wine stations paired with nineteen different chocolates. Admission is $15 per station or $45 for all four. Reservations are recommended; call 303-486-4433.

Friday, February 12:

Bring a $5 bill to Randolph's Restaurant and Bar, 1776 Grant Street, today for a Lincoln's Birthday special; a large cheese pizza and soda for five bucks. Call 303-318-7272 or visit www.randolphsdenver.com.

Saturday, February 13:

Avery IPA, White Rascal and Ellie's Brown Ale will be pouring on the decks at Eldora Mountain Resort's Brews BBQ, alongside tunes and tasty BBQ. For details, 303-440-8700 or visit www.eldora.com.

The Culinary Connectors Top Restaurant Tour will run from Z Cuisine (2245 West 30th Avenue) and stop at Vesta Dipping Grill and Jonesy's on a chef-led, chauffeured tour. The tour runs from 1 to 4 p.m. and costs $99; call 303-495-5487.

Sunday, February 14:

Super Star Asian, 2200 West Alameda Avenue, offers a Traditional Lion Dance to celebrate the Chinese New Year; for more info, call 303-727-9889.

The Blue Pig Gallery, 119 West Third Street in Palisade, presents Pig Tails & Wine Trails, free art-and-vineyard tours running from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.. For more info, call 970-464-4819 or visit www.thebluepiggallery.com.

And yes, it's also Valentine's Day -- and there are dozens of romantic ways to mark the holiday. For some sweet suggestions, look at our online Food & Drink listings.

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