So this is the time of year, on Valentines Day we are bombarded with the usual canonical line-up about the romantic pairings of wine and chocolate. Even by now you may have just attended a Valentine's Wine and Chocolate event.
However, this year is the first time I have read articles actually telling their readers that wine and chocolate do NOT pair well. Huh?
To these keyboard-terrorist-anti-grape-cacao-minglers I say, "Boo! You suck!"
These articles may have proposed one less way to enjoy a glass of red wine or for the potential red wine lover, you may have possibly challenged a new palate to quit being adventurous. To you haters, wine retailers and marketers won't be sending you a Valentine.
To those of you who actually enjoy red wine and chocolate together, keep doing what you are enjoying. To the curious and possible newbie of this pairing, keep sampling until you find a red wine and a chocolate pairing that you enjoy. If you enjoy red wine and you love chocolate, you will find that perfect pairing.
In the late 70's and early 80's, when I was learning to "love" red wines, it was suggested to me the best way to learn about dry red wines, was to pair them with food. And it was even suggested to pair a dry red wine with a rich chocolate dessert - - and it was all about how I drank the wine. It was suggested to first take a bite of the dessert, savor it on the tongue and take a sip of the wine. Bite, savor, and sip. Bite, savor, and sip ...
It was explained by a cook book author/chef that a rich creamy chocolate would lay heavy on the palate, while the juicy acids from the wine would "clean" and balance it. We would eventually discover the perfect dessert to enjoy red wines with - a "Chocolate Elephant."
"Chocolate Elephant?" Yes, think 100 times richer than a Chocolate Mousse. Try it. Pair it with a California Zinfandel or a bold, yet smooth Syrah with bacon, coffee and blueberry notes. Experiment and try a domestic Mourvedre. Better yet, pair it with a Washington State Merlot, especially one from Walla Walla.
- 12 eggs, separated
- 2 sticks butter (1/2 lb)
- 1 lb German semi sweet chocolate (example: Ghiradelli's 60% cacao chips)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla (the good stuff)
- 2 Tablespoons Amaretto liquor
Beat egg yolks with vanilla and butter and when thoroughly blended, add the Amaretto. Melt chocolate in a double boiler, and set aside to cool a bit. Beat egg whites with 4 Tablespoons white sugar until whites are stiff. Combine butter/yolk mixture and the melted chocolate, adding the chocolate a little at a time. Finally, gently fold in the stiff egg whites, and easing up when the whites are just incorporated. Spoon into wine or sherbert glasses and chill. May be served with dollops of whipped cream - - or not. But don't forget the glass of red wine.
Happy Valentine's Day.