Host a Wine and Chocolate Tasting
It’s officially the month of love. Yup, Valentine’s Day is coming up next week. We’re not over the top about it, but we also love a good excuse to celebrate. Given we already had the perfect gift wrapped up nice for our honeys, we thought we’d share a fun activity perfect for Valentine’s Day and Galentine’s Day alike. If you’ve never heard of Galentine’s Day then you’re not watching Parks and Recreation, which is something you need to reconsider ASAP. In the meantime, here’s a quickie explanation: Galentine’s Day is just like Valentine’s Day, only instead of celebrating the love you have for your significant other, you honour the love you have for your lady BFFs. In Parks and Rec, Leslie Knope does this with a thoughtful brunch for her gal pals, but you know we love any excuse for a themed wine tasting (see our New Years bubbly tasting as a prime example). So, we created an epic wine and chocolate pairing party worthy of any girl’s night in.
We chose six different bottles of wine for this tasting ranging from dry to sweet and white to red. Now, the key to wine pairing is about taking the notes from the wine and accompanying it with similar and/or complementary flavours. For example, if you have a wine that is high in acidity with notes of citrus and stone fruit it will probably taste even better when paired with lemon zest or peach puree or something creamy/buttery to offset the acidity. So we pulled notes from each of our wines and paired them with a chocolate medallion we made that had complimentary flavours. Now, I know the idea of making your own chocolate medallions sounds like a lot of work but trust us, it’s not nearly as much as you think it is and it’s so so worth it. It’s what took the wine tasting party to the next level.
Plus, we made it easier for you in other ways. Enter our downloadable PDF to illustrate the flavour profiles of each wine and what we chose to pair it. This will immediately help you to see the connections between the chocolate and the wines. We included a link to download it below. This was truly a beautiful tasting – perhaps our favourite one thus far. We especially enjoyed tasting the sweet wines with the chocolate because we wouldn’t normally have them on their own (we’re not just crushing bottles of port on the regular, though no judgement if you are), but the chocolate really balanced their intense flavours.
First you’ll need to download our pairing PDF, which you can download by signing up for our mailing list below.
You’ll also need both wine and chocolate:
- Rich White Wine (we used Sterling Chardonnay from California but anything from a warmer climate and oak influence would work)
- Sweet White Wine (we used a Sauternes but you can use anything labelled semi-dry, off-dry or sweet)
- A Rose Wine (we used Masi but any rose works )
- A Light Red (we used Crusher Pinot Noir but you could use any Pinot Noir or Gamay)
- A Bold Red (we used El Abuelo Tempranillo/Mourvedre but you can choose your favourite bold red)
- A Tawny Port (we used Dona Antonia Reserva Tawny but any port would do)
The Chocolate Medallions
- Double boiler (or a makeshift double boiler which we used – here’s a great tutorial).
- Baking tray
- Parchment paper
- Ingredients listed below:
- Rich white wine pairing: white chocolate, dried pineapple, salted cashews and toffee pieces
- Sweet white wine pairing: white chocolate, dried apricots, dried ginger, chilli flakes
- Rose wine pairing: milk chocolate, dried strawberries, rose petals, lemon zest
- Light red pairing: milk chocolate, dried cherries, dried cranberries, pistachios
- Bold red pairing: dark chocolate, raisins, walnuts, pecans
- Tawny port pairing: dark chocolate, candied orange peel. dried fig, hazelnuts
To make the chocolate medallions:
- Start by laying out a sheet of parchment paper on a baking tray.
- Next, set up your double boiler and melt the white chocolate (we used molding wafers), stirring frequently with a spatula.
- Once the chocolate is melted use your teaspoon to scoop equal sized dollops of white chocolate on to the parchment paper. You’ll want to move quickly and sprinkle the toppings on before the chocolate dries.
- Pop the baking sheet in the fridge for at least 10 minutes to help the chocolate set faster.
- Remove the chocolate from the parchment paper and set aside.
- Repeat the above process with the milk and dark chocolate.
For the tasting:
- Start with your lightest white and work your way through to the tawny port.
- Pour a small amount of wine into each glass and swirl it around.
- Put your whole nose into the glass and smell the different notes that come out.
- Take a small sip and coat your whole mouth.
- Now take another sip and notice the same notes on your palette.
- Try a little bit of the chocolate pairing followed by another sip of wine.
- Different notes will come out in both the chocolate and wine as you continue to sip and nibble…
Wine & Chocolate
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