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.