We’re very well known for our exceptional wine and cheese flights here at Le Vigne, so we decided that it was time to take our expert skills to the next level and presented ourselves with a new challenge: pairing wine and chocolate! We carefully selected some of the most high quality, decadent, and rare chocolates that we could find from a variety of companies all over the world, and picked our favorite five chocolates to pair with our most special wines. Finding the perfect match was a little challenging at times, but the experience was exciting and rewarding when the ending result turned out to be every bit as delicious as we hoped. Our current chocolate flight features a variety of special chocolates from two of our favorite companies, Chocolove and Pakal Chocolates.
We choose our chocolates based on quality, ingredients, and rarity. We chose Chocolove chocolates because they carry a wide variety of unique flavors, including Peaches & Almonds, Chilies & Cherries, and Chocolate Orange Peel. The idea behind these chocolate bars is simple: to pair premium yet affordable chocolate bars with the notion of love and romance. Based in Boulder, Colorado, the company includes a love note in every bar- a classic, romantic poem considered to be from a distant land. The chocolatiers use traditional European chocolate-making techniques and handcraft these bars in small batches using all natural ingredients. It’s a real treat that we have the opportunity to feature them in our tasting room.
The other company featured on our flight is Pakal Chocolates, a small, family-owned business based in Ecuador. This company’s purpose is to provide a sensory experience in the chocolate, bringing together feelings of pleasure and well-being in every bite. They focus on maintaining original roots and traditions, providing ancient traditional products that have been revived and modernized. They make their products by carefully cultivating and harvesting cocoa pods, fermenting them in wooden crates, and drying them slowly in the sun under rigorous traditional techniques. Chocolates are infused with a variety of 100% Ecuadorian products, ranging from coconut and tangerine to ginger, amaranth, and even chamomile. Each bar can be eaten normally or grated into warm milk for a traditional South American treat!
After selecting our favorite chocolates, the next step was to pair them with our wines. Before we got down to the dirty work, however, we were able to come up with a few hypothetical pairings before we even started. To point us in the right direction, we followed a few guidelines that apply to pairing wine with foods. The main goal was to find chocolates and wines that balanced each other harmoniously throughout the entirety of the tasting experience. A sweeter wine pairs much more effectively with sweeter chocolates, where a darker chocolate will contrast with the wine and make it taste bitter. We also look for a similar balance in the overall body and intensity of both factors. Milk chocolates tend to pair well with lighter red or even white wines, whereas dark or bittersweet chocolates with a higher percentage of cacao will pair nicely with a full-bodied red or even a port. Considering similar ingredients or notes that compliment each other can be a helpful trick as well. For example, an orange muscat would pair nicely with a chocolate infused with bits of orange peel. Finally, here’s a bonus tip: a sparkling wine will pair with almost any chocolate, regardless of its sweetness.
As is traditional for a wine flight, we start with the lightest pairings and work our way down to the heaviest and most intense. Here’s a look at what we have featured on our current chocolate flight!
Chocolove Peach and Pecan in Milk Chocolate
Freeze dried peaches for natural flavor and fancy pecans in creamy Belgian milk chocolate with 33% cacao. The light fruitiness and a nutty crunch from the chocolate allows it pair perfectly with our Kiara Bella Sparkling Wine.
Chocolove Almonds and Sea Salt in Dark Chocolate
Whole dry roasted almonds and sea salt are infused into dark, semisweet Belgian chocolate with 55% cacao. This tantalizing combination pairs with the next lightest red wine on our flight, our 2013 Le Vigne Malbec.
This bar is full of unexpected ingredients, including tangerine, coconut, stevia, and amaranth. The 70% dark Belgian chocolate requires a more full-bodied wine, so we paired it with our 2013 Le Vigne Coure della Vigna.
Pakal Cacao Arriba 70%
In the beginnings of the sixteenth century, in the shipyards of Guayaqul Ecuador, traders wondered the origins of cacao and were told: “de rÍos arriba,” which was the slang of the time for “upstream.” From then on, “arriba” was the name for Ecuador’s fine chocolates, as is exemplified in the name of this 70% cacao bar. We reserved this special chocolate to pair with one of our most tannic and special red blend, our 2013 Le Vigne Nikiara.
Chocolove Chilies and Cherries in Dark Chocolate
Dark semisweet Belgian chocolate with 55% cocoa, infused with chilies and cherries. Initial spiciness from the chilies will transition to a sweet cherry finish, making it the perfect pairing with the sweetest wine on our flight, our 2005 Sylvester Syrah port.
So there you have it! Stop by our tasting room today and enjoy a chocolate flight and see if our pairings live up the hype. You’ll even get to keep your bamboo logo board as a special memory of your time with us. All of these chocolates (as well as many, many more) are available for purchase in our tasting room as well, so that you can try out your own pairing skills at home!