Friday, March 16, 2012

A Great Canadian Pair: Wine and Chocolate

Wine and chocolate pairing can be difficult.  Sure, you can follow some advice that you find online, like to "pair sweet with sweet and dry with bitter", but then what?  There are thousands of brands and types of wine to choose from and an equal number of chocolate bars.  It takes a lot of time and many taste tests to find a chocolate that pairs perfectly with a specific wine.

So I thought, "Why not share some of my better pairings?" I am in no way a wine expert, but I have been to enough wine tasting workshops and tours to have a basic knowledge.  And I have a lot of experience pairing chocolate with just about any flavour. But most often, I find myself enjoying a glass of wine and then heading to my chocolate tasting cabinet to taste three or four chocolates to see which pairs best.  So I decided that every now and then I will share my more successful wine and chocolate pairings here on this blog.

Last night's pairing was all Canadian.  I opened a bottle of Mission Hill 2008 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon from the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia.  After trying a few Theo chocolate bars, which were okay with the wine, and a single-origin 66% Mexican chocolate (by Cacao Barry), which also paired well with the wine, I tried a Soma Black Science Microbatch Madagascar 70% chocolate bar.  Although the Theo 84% Dominican bar paired well with the wine, the slightly sweeter Soma Madagascar bar offset the dryness of the wine.  The bold, citrus and smoky flavour that is common to Madagascar chocolate went well with the bold, thick and dry  flavour of the Mission Hill Cabernet.

I am quickly learning how amazing Soma chocolatemaker's chocolate is and I have not yet been disappointed.  Each time I taste Soma against other brands, Soma's chocolate texture and flavour has won against the competition. Their chocolate is wonderfully smooth, and their dark chocolate is bitter, rich and flavourful.  I also love that they are so transparent in their labelling: the package states the bean type (in this case an organic criollo, which to me, is about the best you can get!) and the batch number (M19) along with the origin (Madagascar).  What's more, Soma will tell you if the chocolate bar is made of a mixture of beans, or made with forrastero-type beans instead of criollo.  Since they know they use the best batch of beans from each type, they have no problem stating it on the package. I wish commercial brand chocolate manufacturers would be as transparent as Soma.

Since I love Soma so much, I have decided to have a contest!  Sign up as a "follower" on the right side of this blog by the end of March, 2012 or follow me on Twitter or Facebook and I will enter your name for a draw for a Soma chocolate bar.  If you are already a follower, don't worry, you will be entered too!  I will draw randomly and will announce the winner at the end of March 2012! And stay tuned in April, I am having another contest for a bean-to-bar gift basket that will include another Soma chocolate bar!

Here are the package details from the Soma chocolate bar that I tasted today:

Microbatch Madagascar 70%, 80g
SOMA chocolatemaker, Toronto, ON CANADA
Ingredients:  organic cacao beans, organic cane sugar, cocoa butter, all natural ingredients, may contain trace amounts of dairy, soy, and gluten.
Batch: M19. Bean type: Organic Criollo. Bean Origin: Madagascar. Batch size: 45kg.

1 comment:

  1. Chocolate and wine is just a great combination. Love the information you have and hope to hear some more!