When I open a new bottle of wine, my first thought is always: "What chocolate shall I pair with this wine?" And when I find one that tastes really good with it, I wonder: "What would happen if I melted this wine and chocolate together to make a wine-infused chocolate truffle?" So this week, I finally did it. I opened a 2008 vintage bottle of Shiraz Voignier, then found just the perfect chocolate to pair with it and made some rich, red wine-infused dark chocolate truffles.
My chocolate of choice was a mix of Camino's organic and fair trade couverture. I found Camino's 70% Bittersweet chocolate drops a little too bitter to pair with the Shiraz, and their 56% Semi-Sweet couverture a little too sweet for the full-bodied wine, but they both had the right flavour profile. So what did I do? I mixed the two chocolates together to create a...hmmm...I guess a 60-something percent dark chocolate.
As it turned out, the chocolate was a perfect match for the Oscar's Estate Shiraz Voignier, because the truffles turned out smooth, rich and delectable, with low acidity and a subtle red wine flavour. The best part is that I created a chocolate that pairs very well to other Shiraz wines, which is a nice finish to any dinner party.
I recommend trying this at home. Since it might be difficult to find the same brands of chocolate and wine that I used, be sure that you taste the chocolate and the wine together in your mouth before you go ahead and melt them together! If it is too strong, acidic, or just plain bad tasting, try a different wine or different chocolate.
Recipe for Red Wine-Infused Chocolate Truffles
-1/2 cup red wine (Shiraz)
-8 ounces 60-70% dark chocolate
-Additional 8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate (anywhere between 50-70% - I used a 56%) for coating the truffles and/or 1/2 cup cocoa powder
Step 1: Place the chocolate in a stainless steel or a microwave-safe bowl. If the chocolate is in a large slab or bars, chop it into 1/2-inch pieces.
Step 2: Heat the wine in a small saucepan on medium-high heat. Bring it just to the boiling point, then pour half of it over the chocolate and stir until it becomes somewhat melted. Reheat the remaining wine (if it has cooled) and pour over the chocolate mixture. Stir until it is smooth. If you are using a stainless steel bowl, you may need to have a double boiler on hand to finish melting the chocolate, if it won't fully melt. If you are using a microwavable bowl and the chocolate is not fully melted after you have stirred for a few minutes, you can place in the microwave for just five seconds, take it out, stir and repeat until you have a smooth mixture.
Step 3: Seal with an airtight lid or plastic wrap. Let set on the counter for 8 hours or overnight.
Step 4: Scoop out spoonfuls of the truffle mix and roll between the palm of your hand to make balls.
Place on wax paper until ready to roll in chocolate. Tip: Use gloves to prevent your hands from melting the chocolate.
Step 5: Melt and temper 50-70% dark chocolate.
Step 6: With a spoon, pick up each truffle and roll in the chocolate mixture. Lift out on a fork and let chocolate drip off a little. Now you can do one of two things: 1. Turn over onto a fresh piece of waxed paper and dab fork lightly on top to create a swirl. 2. Immediately toss coated truffle into a bowl of cocoa powder. Sprinkle some on top and let rest for a minute to harden slightly before lifting out.
Freeze as is in an airtight container or eat immediately (once the chocolate shell hardens). For good presentation and easy handling, place each truffle in a candy paper or mini cupcake paper.
The wine was Oscar's Estate Vineyard, Shiraz Voignier 2008 Barossa Valley with a 96% Shiraz and 4% Viognier mix. Produced by B&B Wines, Roennfeldt Road, Marananga South Australia and imported by Kylix Wines in Toronto, Canada. 15.9%alc./vol., 750ml.
The chocolate, as mentioned above, was Camino brand of couverture chocolate: 56% Semi-Sweet drops and 70% Bittersweet drops, both organic and Fair Trade certified. Go to www.tasteofcamino.com for more information on their chocolate.