This past Saturday, twenty-seven people gathered at the Pindar Wine Shop in Port Jefferson to sample the latest collection of fine wines, accompanied by an array of decadent Chocology Chocolates and award winning Fat Ass Fudge. Chocolate and wine! What more could you ask for on a Saturday afternoon?
The event, of course, was a great success. The Pindar Wine Shop is cozy, intimate and comfortable: the perfect venue for wine and chocolate pairing. Our guests had a fondness for both fine wine and fine chocolate, making the event both tasty and educational.
Before the tasting began, we discussed the key points of similarity in wine and chocolate.
- Both are made from fruit (the cocoa nibs from which chocolate is made are the seeds of the fruit of the cacao tree).
- The flavor and aroma yielded by both cacao pod and grape are a function of not only their rootstock, but of their soil, climate, and the weather conditions affecting any single harvest.
- Both are made from a blend of beans or grapes, each with distinct flavor profiles; and when the product is made from a blend, it adds to the complexity of tastes.
- As with foods, there are many kinds of chocolate preparations with different flavor profiles; so no one wine is a universal match. While that creates a challenge to find the perfect suitor for a box of assorted chocolates; it also makes it fun to seek your favorite pairings, and test on an ongoing basis which combinations you prefer.
Melissa Martin Director of marketing and hospitality at Pindar organized the event and Jenna and Jenny at Pindar, then presented the wines to be tasted. Linda Johnson, owner of Chocology, served truffles and fudge (on a frozen salt block). (What is a salt block? We’ll tell you more about that next week).
Since no two people’s taste buds are exactly the same, discerning which wine will go with which chocolate can feel like a daunting task. There really is no wrong way to do a tasting though. If the flavor pairings work for you, then we say go for it! There are, however, a few guidelines that can help you get the most out of your pairings.
- When pairing wine with chocolate, you can use wines that have the same flavor notes as the chocolate (nutty, cherry, hazelnuts, mint); or look for contrasts. As with food and wine matches, only you decide what works best!
- Pair chocolate to wines with similar weight – so heavy flavored chocolates with heavy wines; more delicately flavored chocolate with lighter wines.
Most everyone agreed that the favorite pairing on Saturday was the Pythagoras Merlot along with our 88% dark chocolate ganache. We also had great success with these:
- 2013 Sunflower Chardonnay —Milk Chocolate Ganache or Shangr- La
- 2014 Moscato (dry white with floral aromas and flavors of orange, peach & apple) —Mimosa Peacock Chardonnay (hints of apple and pear) —5th Avenue
- Merlot, Pythagoras, —Dark Chocolate Fudge, Heart of the Agean or 88%
- Cabernet Sauvignon —Raspberry or Dark
- Spring Splendor (light blush off-dry Rose of Merlot) —CherryTart
The whole experience of pairing fine wines with fine chocolate was exhilarating. We look forward to more pairings at the Pindar Wine Shop! Thank you Pindar for providing a wonderful venue as well as the beautiful wines.
p.s. We are also excited to mention that Melissa Martin is also an author. Her book, Harvest Road, captures the beauty of the Long Island wine country and the intensity of a mysterious love affair. We loved it and can’t wait to read her next novel!