The Week in Food Events: Mardi Gras, Valentine’s Day, and Extended Restaurant Week

Plus: Piedmontese wines paired with Roberto Donna desserts.

By: Anna Spiegel

Gourmet gala: The 15th annual St. Jude Gourmet Gala comes to the National Building Museum on Tuesday with a host of top-tier restaurants offering tastes. Tickets are $350 per person and can be purchased online. Proceeds from the event benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Chocolate through the ages: You’ll consume plenty of cocoa-based bonbons around Valentine’s Day, so get schooled in the fascinating history of chocolate during a Tuesday talk at Dumbarton House with food historian Joyce White. Beginning at 7 PM, White will cover chocolatey milestones from Meso-America to the present. Best of all, there will be edible samples of treats such as an 18th-century chocolate tart or 19th-century pudding. Tickets are $12 and available online.

Bubbly 101: Vinoteca continues its wine class series this Tuesday from 7 to 9 with a seminar on sparkling wines that are perfect for your Valentine’s Day. There are only 20 slots available per class ($40 per person), so reserve right away by calling 202-332-9463.

Mardi Gras: Thursday may be devoted to lovers, but admirers of New Orleans-style drinks, eats, and general revelry will fall for the roster of events happening on Fat Tuesday. Consult our guide to where to celebrate around Washington—events include a big bash hosted by New Orleans native and Bayou Bakery owner David Guas in Clarendon. There will be Rappahannock River Oysters, drinks from bartender Gina Chersevani, and more. Prefer to celebrate at home? We have five Louisiana recipes to try, as well as a list of bakeries for all your king cake needs.

Carnevale: Washington restaurants celebrate “carnevale di Venezia” on Tuesday with special menus. Fiola chef-owner Fabio Trabocchi offers a four-course menu ($60 per person) that includes wine pairings and dishes like Venetian-style artichokes and bigoli pasta with duck ragu. Over at Assaggi Mozzarella Bar, another four-course menu ($49 per person) is available at both lunch an dinner. Dishes include stewed mini meatballs and red wine pappardelle with braised-octopus ragu.

Winter restaurant continued: If you didn’t make it out for a $20.13 set lunch or $35.13 dinner during Washington Restaurant Week, fear not. A few restaurants are extending the promotion, including Zaytinya (one of the many 100 Very Best Restaurants participating), Smith Commons, Jaleo, and more.

Valentine’s Day: Love it or hate it, V-Day goes down on Thursday. Check out our complete Valentine’s Day in Washington guide for where to eat, buy gourmet chocolates, find unusual activities, and more. Not committed? There are still tickets left for Washingtonian’s Singles Soiree, where you can sip and play the night away at Penn Social with other eligible bachelors and bachelorettes.

Sweets and wines: Al Dente chef Roberto Donna and winemaker Giorgio Forno of Piedmont winery Il Falchetto preside over a dessert and wine demonstration and tasting on Sunday at 2:30. You’ll sample the likes of Alba hazelnut cake and moscato wine cake with zabaglione; each dessert will be paired with a different varietal. Reservations are $30, and requests should be e-mailed to