18 April 2010

Wine & chocolate & extraordinary women

G here again . . . feeling the need to share on the nibblies front.

Last week I was invited by a law firm to it's "5th annual extraordinary women's wine and chocolate extravaganza." I'm supposing it's because I'm so extraordinary that I made it on to the invite list . . . hmm.

Anywho, walked in the door and was met with a glass of champagne with a little raspberry in the bottom and really, that's the way to start off any event. In fact, I think each workday should begin in that fashion and it would all just be so much more pleasant.

The chocolates on offer were from Stubbe Chocolates and choclatier Daniel Stubbe was on hand to chat about his creations. There were six chocolates paired with wines. Now I will say that I tried all the chocolates but not all the wines, although I did give a couple a go.

First up (and I did not take any photos) and because I may have mentioned that I'm on a chili binge, I had the rasampatti chili with bittersweet chocolate. This was a ganache filled offering made with a not-too-hot Indian chili that gave a sweet first taste then gradually left you with a bit of the chili heat. It was paired with Ricossa Moscato D'Asti, a sweet dessert wine that really added a depth and roundness to the chocolate. I had a few tastes of this one! It was my favourite. Daniel said he had spent quite a lot of time using different chilis to get one that worked with this and that it's always a bit of a challenge using chilis which get spicier as the days go by. This was still fairly mild as he said they'd only been made a few days before.

Secondly I tried the solid pink peppercorns on dark semisweet chocolate, which was also delicious. It was paired with the Muskoka Lakes Windery Red Maple, a dessert wine made with cranberries and maple syrup. Again a nice sweet wine against the spicy chocolate. Liked this one as well. The chocolatier again said he'd experimented with different types of peppercorns and finds the pink ones to be the best for the chocolate as it is more delicate than black or white.

The most unusual one I tried was the hard lemongrass in bittersweet chocolate, which actually had a really refreshing taste to it, just as you would imagine lemongrass would. Nice and light. The third and last of the hard chocolates was a wild fennel in semisweet chocolate, which was not too licorice-tasting and really quite pleasant.

There were two other ganache-filled options: Tanzania dark chocolate, which was a straight-up deliciously deep chocolate and balsamic vinegar in dark chocolate, a taste sensation. The trick to the balsamic filling is using a vinegar that's about 5 years old, nothing to dense or fancy, apparently. You need to have a bit of the tartness and if you use well-aged balsamic it's too sweet and often too viscous.

All in all a really fun evening chatting about chocolate and ingredients. And we got a little box of treats to take home.

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