Update: Oct 5 - I don't know why, but Bernard Callebraut's site is down. Or "under redesign". Which seems to me to be a poor marketing choice just 10 days after you promoted your URL to a roomful of likely chocolate buyers. In any case, picture references have been removed and click the link at your own risk.
Last week, Roro and I attended a wine and chocolate tasting -- one of the "Lifestyle Events" put on by the LCBO (unfortunately, their calendar seems to remove an event once it has occured, so there isn't a current description). The session was jointly taught by Ray Perchaluk, the LCBO Product Consultant and Sue DeGrandis from Chocolaterie Bernard Callebraut. First, DeGrandis gave a presentation on the history and manufacturing of chocolate. Then, after some giftbox giveaways (I won one!) and witty banter, we tasted six wines and chocolate pairings:
Jackson Triggs Okanagan Sauvignon Blanc 2004 with a Mint & Milk Chocolate Ganache Chocolate ~ This was one of the most surprising tastings of the evening. The Sauvignon Blanc really made the mint sparkle. And the mint brought out the lemon tones in the wine. Really fresh and re-freshing. Perfect for the end of a light Sunday Brunch or afternoon tea.
Malivoire Estate Bottled Gewurztraminer 2004 VQA with a Cinnamon Nutmeg and Ginger Bittersweet Ganache ~ I love the Malivoire Gewurtz and have been buying it since 2001, but this was not a great pairing. I think it would have been except for the cinnamon which was WAY too overpowering for the Gewurtz. And it really didn't allow for the modestly oily mouthfeel to shine through. The tannins in the bittersweet chocolate pretty much killed it. A better pairing with this wine was the White Chocolate with the Marionberry Creme Fraiche. Actually .. just white chocolate would have worked well. The texture of the white chocolate enhances the mouthfeel of the Gewurtz. And even though it is white chocolate, it is still only 5% sugar ... so the honey and the rose in the wine came out (more so than the lychee).
Yellow Tail Reserve Shiraz 2003 from Casella Wines (New South Wales) with Leaf (Milk Chocolate Ganache with Blackcurrent) ~ I didn't really like this wine on its own. High tannin and a funny acidity. However, this was a pretty good pairing. The milk chocolate ganache balanced out the high tannin and the blackcurrent helped to find the cassis in the wine itself.
Luigi Righetti "Capitel de'Roari" 2000 Amarone (Veneto, Italy) and an Espresso Truffle with Dark Chocolate Ganache ~ Generally speaking, I don't like Amarones. This one was quite nice ... a little lighter style but still has the characteristic barnyard. Good structure -- would be great with food. Unfortunately, the pairing with the espresso truffle was dismal. It *enhanced* the barnyard and killed all the fruit in the wine. This truffle would have been better paired with a medium Zinfandel or Shiraz, something with some good tannin but bigger fruit. This Amarone was, however, quite nice with the Cinnamon, Ginger and Nutmeg truffle mentioned above. That truffle balanced the tannins but didn't kill the light fruit in the Amarone.
Williams and Humbert "Dry Sack" medium dry Sherry (Spain) with the Celeste Truffle (plain dark chocolate ganache) ~ Really nice sherry .. very nutty, on the nose and palatte. Strong finish as well. Good pairing with this truffle. The plain chocolate brings out even more nuttiness as well as some caramel notes in the sherry. Have to be careful about balance. The sherry is quite hot and that alcoholiness on the finish can overpower the chocolate.
Southbrook Farms Framboise (NV) and a White Chocolate with a Marionberry Creme Fraiche ~ I've had Southbrook's Framboise before and it is *amazing*. Pair it with white chocolate ... pure heaven. The texture of the white chocolate balanced the potentially cloying mouthfeel of the framboise and the marionberry creme fraiche was a perfect foil to the strong fruit. No pic of this chocolate ... Bernard Callebraut only makes this one special order for weddings and is not on their general list.
This was a great tasting put on by the LCBO. One of the neat things was that most of these were not dessert wines. They all had a sugar content of at least 1, but on the sherry (3) and framboise (29) exceeded it. All of the chocolates only have 5% sugar content. So, for the most part, you're really not trying to match sweet for sweet.I really hope they do a Wine and Chocolate, Part 2. I will definitely be there.
Clotilde, over at amazing Chocolate and Zucchini, recently hosted the 13th Wine Blogging Wednesday (an event conceived by Lenndevours); her theme - Like Wine for Chocolate. Clotilde provided a chocolate cake recipe to pair a wine with; she posted her pairing notes and some tips, in general, about pairing wine and chocolate. 56 folks participated and blogged their notes.
Photo by flickrite Eric Rolph