The Hydrator’s Guide to: Chocolate and Wine Tasting
Twisted Cellar’s WSET Accredited Wine Expert, Lucy Wood, shares her top pairings for some irresistible chocolates sourced from a local independent . chocolatier.
Chocolate. Wine. Name a better combo. I recently carried out a chocolate and wine tasting here, at Twisted Cellar, Bishop’s Stortford. Pairing up with Stortford local artisan Chocolatier, Coco’s, run by Katie Bradshaw, we worked together to create the best pairing menu.
Sharpen your taste buds with a bit of zing
To start off with a ‘refreshing aperitif’, take our Italian iPrandi, a sparkling wine made with 85% Durello Grape, 10% Chardonnay and 5% Pinot Noir. Unlike the dryness and acidity you get from Prosecco, these bubbles are mellowed out with help from the Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, adding body, creaminess and depth to the flute. A creamy yet citrusy bouquet lends itself to being paired with Coco’s deliciously moussy lemon chocolate.
Alternatively, take that same lemon chocolate and pair it with something rather different… Somerset’s Burrow Hill has recently taken a page from Canada’s book, turning the delicious Iced Wine into an English creation – Enter Iced Cider. By freezing the apple juice before fermentation, they take out the white ice which holds no flavour, leaving behind a highly concentrated, sugar intensive liquid. Similarly to cider, it contains a refreshing level of appley sharpness making it a perfect match for a citrus chocolate.
The key to a coffee lover’s heart
When it comes to mocha, nothing quite beats an aged Chateauneuf-du-pape rich in flavours of tobacco, coffee and chocolate. But for those of us more careful with the purse strings, we have found other options. Plonking ourselves on the west coast of America, California is home to some of the biggest, juiciest red wines. The scorching heat turns even the most austere reds like Cabernet Sauvignon into a riper, easy drinking wine.
The Zinfandel variety, a clone of the Italian Primitivo, develops beautifully under the sun into smooth flavours of blackberry, ripe cherry and sweet liquorice. Have a taste of Coco’s Mocha chocolate and a sip of Brownstones Zinfandel to experience a feast of complementary flavours coming alive on your tongue.
Alternatively, if big and bold isn’t your calling, try our Californian Pinot Noir from Grace Bridge. With a body as smooth and light as this it presents an irresistible charm, even to my mother who is strictly a white wine drinker…
The darker the chocolate the sweeter the wine…
As an area long thought of as quantity over quality, Cote de Roussillon has struggled with mass over production and bad politics. In recent years however, wine fanatics and masters have taken an interest in the jagged mountains and rocky terrain of this South Western part of France, contributing to a huge change in its wine popularity.
Using vines over 100 years old, Master of wine, Liam Steevenson created the Immortelle Rivesaltes Grenat; A fortified red with lush flavours of deep blackcurrant, brandied cherries and spices. Now imagine this, a dark praline melting on your tongue, releasing its sweet silky liquor and then take a sip of the Grenat, feeling the sweet cherry spice envelop your taste buds.
Caramel chocolate and Mad Tokaji
Speaking of caramel, you have two ways to go: Tokaji or Sauternes.
When you talk about sweet wine, people tend to think of France and Germany, but rarely is Tokaji mentioned. Located in the North Eastern corner of Hungary, hidden from the rest of the world, is the gem of sweet wine. As once only a nobleman’s drink, Tokaji produces from the sweet nectar of Eszencia to the crisp and mineral dry whites. Our Ma’d Tokaji is a late harvest dessert wine made with grapes that have been left on the vine until reaching the peak of ripeness. At this point they will have dehydrated slightly, losing water yet maintaining that deliciously lush sugar and flavour content. Being slightly floral with orange blossom and honeysuckle