Seasonality is a big buzz word in food at the moment (which to my mind is in some ways a great shame. Shouldn’t using fresh, local produce be assumed as the normal state of affairs?) and as well as the arrival of parsnips, sprouts and leeks, one of the great signs of the arrival of Christmas is the sighting of the first Davidoff and Old Spice advertisements on television. This also means that it’s the opening of the box of chocolates season, which runs until the day after Valentine’s day.
Lots of chocolate begs the question as to what to drink while absent mindedly scoffing half a box of your favourite moreish little treats. To help with exactly that conundrum, Ferrero Rocher suggested three chocolate and wine matches that they sent to us to try.
The first was Croix Milhas Rivesaltes Ambré, a sweet fortified wine from Roussillon, France. We found that we actually preferred this with the white Rafaello chocolates, where the coconut and almond flavours of the chocolate went very well with the fruitiness of the wine, and really emphasised the its nutty flavours. The actual recommendation was for this wine to pair with the classic milk chocolate Ferrero Rocher, but we found that while that combination worked, we preferred the Raffaellos.
Second, we tried the Rond Noir, which consists of dark chocolate, wafer, and chocolate cream. This was paired with Dows Finest Reserve Port; another successful match, with the richness of the port working well with the chocolates. We do have to admit, though that these were our least favourite of the three chocolates.
Finally, we had the great surprise of the test, the white Raffaello chocolates mentioned above. These were teamed with sparkling Martini Asti NV, and whilst again we found this combination interesting – our overwhelming thought was “light”, we didn’t think that it beat our preferred pair of the Raffaello with the Croix Milhas. We were surprised that we liked this chocolate at all, as desiccated coconut isn’t really something we like all that much.
The two things we took away from the experiment was first, that it is in fact quite possible to match a wine to a chocolate; something that hitherto we hadn’t really tried as it has the reputation of being a tricky task, and second, there’s plenty of fun to be had with experimenting with combinations of chocolate and wine, so why not give it a go?
Fuss Free Flavours received a chocolate and wine hamper from Ferrero. Many thanks for several fun evenings of tasting.