An Evening of Chocolate and Wine with Boston Chocolate Tours

Glenn and I were absolutely delighted to have been invited to join other Boston food and wine bloggers on March 1 for an Evening of Chocolate and Wine. Unfortunately, Glenn had a last minute unavoidable conflict. I really missed having him there. I not only look to him for insight on food and wine pairing, but being a former pastry chef himself, I am certain he would have enjoyed it. Organized by Boston Chocolate Tours, the tasting explored how combining chocolate and wine could lead to unexpected and flavorful pleasures. I have to admit that this is not exactly my area of expertise; I am much more likely to skip a plated dessert and enjoy a port or dessert wine on its own. My previous attempts at pairing desserts and wine have been lackluster at best, but I was eager to learn how I could break out of my mental restraints when it comes to pairing wine and chocolate.

Twenty-two Boston-area bloggers gathered in the beautiful and elegant Percy Dauber Drawing Room at the College Club of Boston. Our instructors were Harry Silverstein and Dorian McCarron, aficionados and experts in wine and chocolate respectively. Harry owns Red, White & Bleu, a Falls Church, Virginia wine shop and is planning to open a shop on Clarendon Street in Boston called Recipe. Dorian is one of Boston Chocolate Tours’ Executive Pastry Chefs and Chocolatiers.

Harry started with a very basic “Wine 101” on how to taste wine. He led us through his five “S”s: See, Swirl, Smell, Sip, Savor. Dorian then explained that, just like with wine, there are things to look for when tasting chocolate. Is it smooth? Does it have a crunch when you break a piece off? Does it have a shiny appearance? Chocolate, he told the group, is full of antioxidants and is both nature’s Prozac and Lipitor. There are only five ingredients in chocolate: cocoa liqueur, cocoa butter, sugar, soy lecithin, and vanilla. Anything beyond this is not real chocolate. Aside from the first chocolate, all of the samples were made by Dorian’s favorite producer, El Rey Chocolates from Venezuela.

But enough of the talking. Let’s get to the tasting the six pairings!

2009 La Serra Moscato d’Asti (Piedmont)
White chocolate from Lindt

I was definitely skeptical of this combination, but it was a sweet and pleasant combination of two delicate tastes.

2009 Alasia Brachetto d’Acqui (Tuscany)
El Rey Caoba Chocolate Con Leche (41% cacao)

This was a surprisingly good combination. Harry described the wine as being “made for pairing with chocolate.”

2009 Jam Jar Sweet Shiraz (South Africa)
El Rey Bucare Chocolate Oscuro (58.5% cacao)

The Bucare was my favorite chocolate of the tasting: very smooth and a good middle ground between the sweeter milk chocolate and the drier dark chocolates. It, too, went well with the wine, which was off-dry, earthy, with blueberry and pepper flavors and, as the name suggests, jammy.

2007 Luc Pirlet Merlot (Languedoc)
El Rey Mijao Chocolate Oscuro (61% cacao)

The Luc Pirlet was the first of the two dry wines in the flight. A bit hot and spicy on its own, the chocolate highlighted the wine’s tannins. While the chocolate was good on its own, the pairing didn’t do anything for me.

2007 Cameron Hughes Lot 184 Cabernet Sauvignon (Alexander Valley)
El Rey Gran Saman Chocolate Oscuro (70% cacao)

The wine was good by itself: lots of cassis, bramble, and chocolate on the nose. Dorian described this chocolate as “burly.” It was dark and dry. Tasted with the Cabernet, the pairing became tight in my mouth, as if the chocolate had intensified the wine’s tannins.

NV Fonseca Bin 27 Ruby Port (Douro)
El Rey Apamate Chocolate Oscuro (73.5% cacao)

By far, this was my favorite pairing, in which the chocolate and wine complemented each other, making the combination better than the separate parts. The flavor combination is intense and a perfect way to end the tasting and a meal.

A fun and educational way to spend an evening, I would certainly recommend this tasting to anyone interested in chocolate and wine. And if you are like me and have doubts about pairing chocolate and wine, it is also a very good way to start expanding your palate!

An Evening of Chocolate and Wine is held every other week at the College Club of Boston at 44 Commonwealth Avenue.

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Author:katrin

Katrin is one of the co-founders of Wine Dine With Us. She enjoys sharing her love of wine on the blog, and is particularly fond of wines from Argentine, Alto Adige, and Germany. A lifelong environmentalist, Katrin has become increasingly interested in issues of sustainability in wine and food, local food production, biodynamics, and organic agriculture. When not drinking wine and writing about it, she is a nonprofit professional, specializing in fundraising and special events.

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