In September, I was approached by Lindt about hosting a Chocolate R.S.V.P. party at my home. Being a chocolate lover, I jumped at this opportunity, and I was shocked/thrilled when a huge box of chocolates was delivered to my doorstep in preparation for the party.
I was given the option to host a Chocolate & Wine Pairing Party, a Chocolate Brownie Sundae Party, a Chocolate Drink Creation Party or a Five Senses Chocolate Tasting. After polling some friends in town and another friend who was coming in town for the weekend of the party, we decided the Chocolate & Wine Pairing Party sounded fabulous.
And then last weekend, we hosted friends for the Lindt Chocolate and Wine Pairing Party at our home. Not surprisingly we all felt crazy grown up (in a good way!) and had a blast.
Yes, Lindt even sent me an awesome apron! And y’all better believe I will be wearing this as I begin my holiday baking spree in less than two months!
Not only did Lindt send chocolates for tasting, but they also sent along some other goodies, like their fabulous Lindor truffles and European Specialty chocolates for us all to taste after our chocolate and wine pairings. I never knew the truffles came in so many different flavors, and oh my goodness, the Raspberry Dark Chocolate ones, y’all. Heaven.
I was sent specific chocolates to pair with wines for the party, and I was excited to try them all.
Never having paired chocolate with wine before, I was relieved to see Lindt sent suggestions for pairings for each different chocolate. For the Excellence White Coconut Bar, Lindt suggested a riesling, sparkling pink or red wine or a muscato. For the Excellence Extra Creamy Milk Chocolate Bar, Lindt advised to pair the chocolate with a buttery chardonnay, a pinot noir or a merlot. And for the Excellence 70% Cocoa Bar, Lindt recommended a cabernet sauvignon, a merlot or a syrah.
The wines? After some major help by a wine associate at the liquor store, we paired the Excellence White Coconut Bar with the Charles Smith Kung Fu Girl Riesling from Washington State, the Excellence Extra Creamy Milk Chocolate Bar with California’s Clos du Bois Chardonnay (and a pinot noir whose name I cannot remember since I didn’t take a photo of it), and the Excellence 70% Cocoa Bar with Bliss Vineyard’s Merlot from California.
Lucky for us, Lindt also provided us with a great guide on how to use the five senses in a chocolate and wine tasting with the following steps:
- Examine the wine’s color, shade and clarity.
- Examine the chocolate: Is it smooth? Does it have a silky matte shine?
- Snap the chocolate and examine the break. There should be an audible snap and a clean break.
- Smell the wine.
- Smell the chocolate.
- Sip the wine.
- Taste the chocolate, letting it melt on your tongue.
- Sip more wine just as the chocolate is almost finished melting in your mouth.
- In between chocolates and wines, sip room temperature water and eat a bite of bread (or a cracker) to cleanse your palate before moving forward, then repeat the steps!
Our thoughts? As someone who generally eats dark chocolate, I was a little unsure how I was going to enjoy the Excellence White Coconut Bar and the Excellence Extra Creamy Milk Chocolate Bar simply because those chocolates have become a little too sweet with me. However, the chocolates paired with these wines were absolutely delicious. The Excellence White Coconut Bar melted in my mouth and went perfectly with the crisp riesling. The Excellence Extra Creamy Milk Chocolate Bar blended wonderfully with the buttery-ness of the chardonnay. And the Excellence 70% Cocoa Bar paired well with the merlot, though we did discuss how it could have been equally interesting with the smokiness of a syrah.
And then once we finished the Chocolate and Wine Pairings part of our party, we migrated to the kitchen to eat some Chocolate Dipped Strawberries that my friend Erica and I made earlier that evening. The recipe is beneath the photo:
- 3 bars [url href="http://www.lindtusa.com/product-exec/product_id/86/category_id/14/nm/Swiss_Bittersweet_Bar"]Lindt Swiss Bittersweet Chocolate[/url], chopped
- 12-14 medium-sized strawberries
- 1/2 bar [url href="http://www.lindtusa.com/product-exec/product_id/86/category_id/14/nm/Swiss_Bittersweet_Bar"]Lindt Swiss Bittersweet[/url] and/or [url href="http://www.lindtusa.com/product-exec/product_id/433/category_id//nm/Classic_Recipe_White_Chocolate_Bar"]Classic Recipe White Chocolate[/url], chopped (for garnish)
- Wipe the strawberries with a damp cloth and pat dry. Do not wash them.
- Tempter the chocolate using a water bath or a double boiler. (Per Lindt, the water bath process requires care to ensure that no moisture will get into the chocolate. If it does, the chocolate will seize or clump. You will need a medium-sized saucepan anda heat-proof bowl that fits tightly onto the rim of the saucepan. Place approximately 2 cups of water in the saucepan and bring to a gentle simmer, ensuring that the water never boils. Put the chopped chocolate in the bowl and place that on the saucepan. Frequently stir the chocolate until it is completely melted, then warm the chocolate to 118*F using a digital thermometer.)
- Hold the strawberry by its green cap, and dip into the tempered chocolate.
- Gently shake off the excess chocolate and place the strawberry on a tray lined with parchment paper. Repeat with the remaining strawberries.
- place the tray in the refrigerator for about 5 minutes to set the chocolate.
- Using a piping bag with a small tip, drizzle strawberries with the contrasting chocolate.
All in all, it’s safe to say we all had a great time at the Lindt Chocolate & Wine Pairing Party, and I cannot wait to do something like this again sometime soon!
Disclosure: Lindt sent me the chocolates and other supplies, as well as the means to purchase the wines we paired with them. All opinions are my own.