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Chocolate and Wine... The Perfect Pair!

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Chocolate and Wine... The Perfect Pair!

Sandra Abballe

I had the pleasure of being asked to develop some chocolates for two prestigious Gallo Wines that were to be featured in a chocolate and wine tasting event at York Downs Golf Club last week. I worked with The Wine Sisters (yes they are actually sisters) who are professionally trained sommeliers with a combined 15 years experience in the industry. They were continuously pouring glasses of  red and one white throughout the evening. Now here's where I came in. I handcrafted speciality chocolates to enhance the flavour of these wines. I paired the  2009 (Red) Cabernet Sauvignon with "pure chocolate" because I really wanted the flavour of the chocolate to accentuate the complexity of the wine. I paired the (White) Chardonnay with my hand-painted bonbons... in this case it is ganache filling that compliments the flavour of the Chardonnay. 

Louis M. Martini 2009 Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon

65% Plantation Madirofolo Chocolate Squares - This is a plantation chocolate, so all of the cocoa beans are grown and harvested on one farm in Madagascar. Even though this chocolate only has 65% cocoa solids, it has a very pronounced cocoa flavour. This flavour is attributed to the environment of Madagascar; the soil, the humidity, the trees and the way the beans are farmed. 

75% Tanzanie Cranberry & Rosemary Sticks - This is an origin chocolate, so all of the cocoa beans are grown throughout Tanzanie. The terrior of Tanzanie really brings out balanced chocolate. It starts with a strong acidic cacao flavour and finishes with a sweet berry flavour. I decided to pair this with cranberries and rosemary to enhance the berry and oak flavour in the wine.  The rosemary is meant to be present yet subtle and provides a surprising uplift at the finish. 

Ghost Pines Vineyard 2010 Sonoma/Monterey/Napa County Chardonnay

Vanilla Bean Bonbon - This is a classic vanilla bean ganache made from white chocolate, and it has a dark chocolate (54%) shell. This was paired with the white to bring out the sweetness and vanilla undertones in the wine. 

The Crunchy Apple (Winning Bonbon) - This bonbon was awarded Canada's best bonbon at the World Chocolate Masters Canada. It is composed of two layers caramelized apples with peanuts and a salted peanut butter ganache. The shell of this bonbon is a combination of Alto el Sole Plantation chocolate and Ghana Origin Chocolate. It works really well with the white wine as it complements the apple and pear flavours in the wine. 

Vanilla Bean Bonbon

The Crunchy Apple