Raaka's Bourbon Cask Aged Chocolate, where the cacao beans used to make the chocolate were aged in barrels that once held Bourbon, giving the chocolate a distinct flavour, I wondered when a chocolate maker would try this with wine barrels. As it turns out, that chocolate maker is Toronto-based Soma.
Soma Chocolatemaker has paired up with Stratus Vineyards of Niagara-on-the-Lake, to create a new chocolate sensation. They roasted some Chuao cacao nibs and placed them in one of Stratus Vineyards' oak barrels that was "partially filled with residual yeast cells from the winemaking process (known as "lees")." Then Soma sealed the barrel and let the nibs rest for 3 months, occasionally turning it to maximize the flavour. The result? A very smooth and wonderfully textured chocolate bar that has a strong hint of wine flavour. This 70% dark chocolate really is divine and it evokes luxury with every bite.
This is a great way to enjoy wine and chocolate together, without consuming alcohol and without the tedious task of searching for the right wine and chocolate pairing. I have a funny feeling that this is just the beginning of a wonderful artisan chocolate trend. Who will be the next chocolate maker to partner with a vineyard? What other alcohol can be infused in chocolate? Only time will tell.
If you like wine and chocolate, like I do, check out my Red Wine Truffles recipe: http://ultimatechocolateblog.blogspot.ca/2012/10/red-wine-truffles-perfect-chocolate-and.html
or see this great Soma chocolate and wine pairing: http://ultimatechocolateblog.blogspot.ca/2012/03/great-canadian-pair-wine-and-chocolate.html.
Soma sells the Stratus Bar in their two Toronto locations and online (via e-mail orders), and it is also sold at the Stratus winery.
Here are the package details of the Soma Stratus Bar:
Soma Chocolatemaker "Stratus Bar, Batch 2"
32 Tank House Lane and 443 King Street West, Toronto, ON CANADA
red wine lees from Stratus Vineyards, Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON CANADA (www.stratuswines.com)
Ingredients: cacao beans, organic cane sugar, lees. May contain trace amounts of nuts, dairy, soy and wheat.