Pairing 101

Our friends have graciously been helping us come up with some excellent pairing selections for our current line of chocolate bars and barks. Just like wine, chocolate has “terroir” meaning each chocolate takes on certain flavors and nuances that are linked back to both the place it is grown and the variety of cacao that was used to make it. Terroir can make chocolate taste smoky with tobacco notes, or bright a fruity with flavors of red barriers. It’s amazing! It is this terroir that informs our ingredient choices for bars, barks and truffles. One chocolate paired with honey might be heaven on earth, while another chocolate with honey might make a downright, lousy combination. Each chocolate that we select pairs the right chocolate with the right ingredients to create a fuller chocolate experience that you won’t soon forget. So how can we improve on THAT? Just add wine. Or cheese. Or other delicious and complimentary foods. But today we’re talking about wine (mostly). Now, wine can be tricky to pair with chocolate but after hours of painstaking research (ok, it wasn’t that painstaking, except for the hangover the next day) we have come up with some really exceptional pairings that we highly recommend, and here they are:

The Latte + Pinot Noir. Our friend Jes at Sage Wine and Spirits in Ballston Spa recommended this gem of a pairing. Specifically, we really liked our white chocolate and coffee bar paired with Underwood Pinot Noir, a well-balanced and fresh tasting Pinot Noir from Oregon. This wine is light and fresh on the palette with notes of dried currents and red berries throughout. And in a glass, this wine is equally beautiful – emitting a stunning burgundy glow that is as refreshing to the eyes as it is to the nose and palette. Now, one does not normally think white chocolate and coffee plus Pinot Noir. But shockingly this works! And what’s more? It works well! But don’t take our word for it, be adventurous, go buy a bottle (or can!) and try it out!

The Toasted Sesame + hard cider! Yes, you read that right, hard cider, not wine in this case – and specifically Nine Pin ginger cider, (or 1911 Ginger Cider). This lovely cider is crisp and spicy yet balanced, and infused with ginger and orange peel. Equally delicious on their own, this combination knocks it out of the park. To tone down the sweetness of both the chocolate and cider, and compliment the savory toasted sesame, add a nice sharp cheddar. We love the 9 year old cheddar from Quebec that you can pick up at Putnam Market in Saratoga Springs.

The Hawaiian + Prosecco, Mmmm, prosecco. Again, Jes at Sage Wine and Spirits to the rescue! We loved the fresh taste of Zonin Prosecco paired with our tropical Hawaiian bar. But this fabulous wine’s pairing capability didn’t stop there! This prosecco also made the perfect complement with our Georgia Peach Pistachio bark, and our Strawberry + Hazelnut milk chocolate bark. Given how well it pairs with multiple chocolates we recommend it as a great place to start with pairing our bars with wine. If you’re planning a tasting party and want to mix it up a little, and add some flare; you can drop in some frozen fruit to augment the pairing experience and heighten the pretty factor. Add frozen pineapple with a splash of pineapple juice to a glass of prosecco make a tropical mimosa to compliment the Hawaiian bar. Add a frozen strawberry to keep your prosecco cool and beautifully pair with the Strawberry + Hazelnut milk chocolate bark. Or add a frozen peach and a splash of peach nectar to make the perfect Bellini to pair with the Georgia Peach Pistachio bark. You really can’t go wrong with this very affordable and pleasing prosecco; no matter how you pair it with light and sweet chocolate options, you’re always going to get a great match.

The Fleur de Sel or The Velvet + Maury. Similar to Port, a Maury is a fortified wine that is sweet and complex, and pairs wonderfully with chocolate – particularly dark chocolate. Our favorite was the 2014 Le Roc des Anges, 10 ans D’age, Maury Tuile that we found with help from William at Putnam Market in downtown Saratoga. But William also has some other fabulous options that pair divinely with dark chocolate. Just go talk to him. We guarantee you’ll learn something and walk away with an exceptional pairing. While not usually cheap, a little bit of Maury or Port goes a long way. So sip, savor, enjoy and repeat!

There you have it. Grab your chocolate bars, and go try some pairings. Maybe plan a tasting party for you and some friends. Take notes, and drop us a line to let us know what your favorite pairings are. Love and chocolate, Alli