A Sweet Event - Ghirardelli Chocolate and Wine

Friday December 2, 2011 // By Kari Guddeck

Roses and ChocolateIt’s hard to go wrong hosting an event that focuses on chocolate.  Throw some wine/spirit and chocolate pairings in the mix and you’re pretty much golden.  Our presenters, Grant from Gourmet Source and Rick from Ghirardelli, were a wealth of chocolaty knowledge.  That’s right; we didn’t just eat chocolate and drink wine/spirits all afternoon, we learned stuff too!

For example, did you know:

 Chocolate 101

Ø  Cocoa is grown within 20 degrees of the equator.  The cocoa tree can live outside of this region but it won’t produce cocoa due to the fly that pollinates its flowers not living outside this region.

Ø  Once the beans and pulp are harvested from the cocoa tree pods, they are allowed to sit for 5-7 days to ferment which creates cocoa flavor precursors. 

Ø  The sound a chocolate makes is important!  Break the chocolate and note the sound: is it soft, hard, dull, quick? Fine chocolate breaks cleanly, creating crisp edges without crumbling, and makes a sharp sound.

Ø  Ghirardelli is one of the few remaining U.S. chocolate manufacturers to control the entire manufacturing process including bean procurement, processing and packaging.Gift bags and door prizes

We started our tastings with a comparison between Ghirardelli 60% Cocoa, 72% Cocoa, and 80% Cocoa.  The group was pretty split on a favorite, with 72% garnishing a few more votes than the others.  From there we moved on to a short discussion about menu development.  Grant made a dark chocolate peppermint mocha using Ghirardelli Barista Dark Mini Chips (one of this author’s favorite products).  BPS’s Tia mixed up some chocolate whipped cream using Ghirardelli Chocolate Sauce an iSi dispenser and cartridges. 

We wrapped up the day with a Wine/Spirit and Chocolate Pairing:


Ø  Ghirardelli Espresso Escape Bar w/ Grayson Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon (California) 2010 – A young cab with a bit of sweetness that was nicely offset by the bitterness of the espresso.

Ø  Ghirardelli Toffee Interlude Bar w/ Rosenblum Zinfandel Cuvée XXXIII (California) – Raspberries and raisin notes mixed with the caramel nuttiness of toffee in this pairing.

Ø  Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate with Orange Bar w/ Grand Marnier – What else can I say?  The classic pairing of chocolate and orange.

Ø  Ghirardelli Sea Salt Soiree w/ Bailey’s Irish Cream – The salt of the bar was a surprisingly nice counterpoint to the sweetness of the drink.

Want to try out a wine and chocolate pairing at home?  Here are some pointers to get you starteWine Glassesd:

  1. Wine should be as sweet, if not sweeter, than the chocolate that you are serving with it. Match the wine’s sweetness to the chocolate’s sweetness.
  2. Pick wines that are rich and youthful.
  3. Pick a wine that emphasizes fruit.
  4. Don’t pick mature, complex, or spicy red wines.
  5. Red wine needs chocolate with > 60% Cacao.   ( higher Cacao % = lower Sugar % )
  6. Dessert wines and chocolate are a natural match.
  7. To be safe, try to stick with High Quality Dark Chocolates!
  8. If you do use Milk Chocolate, try to use higher quality Milk Chocolates.
  9. Wine Order is Important:  Light   >>>   Heavy   >>>   Sweet
  10. Chocolate Order Is Important:  Light   >>>   Dark   >>>   Sweet /Fruity

Yum and cheers!  If this sounds like fun, make sure to check out our facebook page and this blog for upcoming events.

Welcome ! Remember that any order of $1750 or more qualifies for free shipping, and that you will receive at least a $50 rebate towards freight if you spend more than $750.