Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Wine O’Choc

I’m stealing the cute and clever hashtag for this fun event as the title for this blog post – I couldn’t resist because it was just too good. Yes, once again I’ve found myself indulging in wine and chocolate, making this post the perfect ending to my unintentional three-part wine and chocolate series.

I was thrilled to be invited to this evening of pairings at SOMA Chocolatemaker’s King Street location to check out some of Inniskillin’s newest wines alongside SOMA’s always delicious chocolate. To make the evening even more interesting, Inniskillin Estate Chef David Penny was also showcasing some of his appetizers and their respective wine pairings.

This event was more about the fun and fabulousness of wine, rather than a serious wine tasting, but that was very in keeping with this hip, King Street West location. SOMA is one of my favourite places for chocolate in the city and I thought it was a great idea to bring a VQA twist to their products.

The party was set up so that guests could visit 5 different stations, each showcasing a different wine and chocolate pairing:

Inniskillin Oak Aged Chardonnay with SOMA Costa Rican Milk Chocolate 32%

This was my second favourite station – I loved how the Chardonnay made the chocolate’s flavour pop. I bit into the chocolate after the wine and immediately understood this pairing. On it’s own I found the Chardonnay just OK, but as a pairing this was very successful. The fact that I love milk chocolate surely didn’t hurt.

Inniskillin Late Autumn Riesling and SOMA Dark Fire 66%

A good wine with great spicy flavour, this was surprisingly my least favourite of all the pairings. I enjoyed each of the components on their own far more than I enjoyed them together. I think the spiciness of the chocolate might have overpowered the wine a little. Still, I hope to have both again in the future.

Inniskillin Pinot Noir and SOMA Dark Blend 64% Peruvian Dark Chocolate

A delicious, smooth red with a touch of spice, this paired very well with SOMA’s dark Peruvian chocolate. A very good match.

Inniskillin Cabernet Franc and SOMA Madagascar 70%

This full-bodied Cabernet Franc was so good that I went back for a second sample. It was a nice companion for this deep, dark chocolate and, while I liked the Pinot Noir/Peruvian pairing more, I preferred the Cabernet Franc overall.

Inniskillin Vidal Icewine and SOMA Caramel Cream Kiss

The pairing that stole my heart – this was my overall favourite and the best flavour match of the night. The Caramel Cream Kiss is a milk chocolate gananche and the icewine is decadent and sweet with tropical flavour notes. I thought that it would be sweetness overload, but it was actually quite balanced.

After all that chocolate, it was time for Inniskillin Estate Chef David Penny to bring out his appetizers. Each came with a pairing suggestion, but it was difficult to get around to do a proper pairing with each one. Plus, I found it challenging to hold my food, wine glass, tasting notes, camera etc., so I was concentrating on eating and not spilling!

The first dish had duck, so I had to pass (but my companions assured me it was the best of the three). I tried the Pulled Chicken Slider with Red Wine Chocolate BBQ Sauce and, while I enjoyed it, I thought the bun was too thick and chewy. It was hard to really taste the chicken and chocolate, which is a shame. The sauce was so good.

The Celeriac Soup with Porcini Mayan Chocolate Dust was absolutely delicious. I could have easily eaten an entire bowl. The chocolate wasn’t overly noticeable, but this was a delicious soup and went quite well with the Cab Franc (I didn’t get back to the front of the room to pair it with the Chard as suggested).

Overall, I had a really good time at this event. It was nice to chat with fellow wine and food lovers and to explore some interesting wine and chocolate combinations. The team at Narrative PR did a great job putting together an event that brought fabuous VQA and wonderful local chocolate to a new audience.

A few more photos from the event:

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