I’m a big fan of chocolate in pretty much any form. I love eating it, drinking it, smelling it and if it wasn’t for these old Victorian drains, I might even have bathed in it. Can you imagine, then, how I felt about an evening of pairing decadent, delicious and unusual chocolate flavours from my favourite chocolatery, The Melange, with everyday wines available in my local supermarket?
A few weeks ago my girl friends and I attended a chocolate and wine tasting evening in Peckham, London. Hosted by the owner, Isabelle Alaya, the evening was relaxed, laid back and eye opening.
We bought a few bottles of standard red wines, and Isabelle prepared taster packs of 8 delicious flavours of her special hand made Belgian chocolates. To start with, we let our noses do the tasting, inhaling deeply of the chocolates one at a time with the first wine. We separated them into those we thought would work well with it, and those we did not.
Then it was time for the taste test. We broke off a piece of the first chocolate, and let it melt in our mouths, then swirled a sip of the wine around. It tasted good, and with some flavours the wine would enhance one of the flavours in the chocolate, and with others it would enhance the wines.
For example, with the Rosso de Puglio, the Orange and Chilli flavour chocolate really brought out the Chilli flavour, but that of both the wine and the Orange were completely lost. When pairing Bergamot and Cinnamon, the cinnamon became very strong, but the Bergamot was totally lost.
Don’t get me wrong â€“ very few combinations didn’t work at all, but it was only when we found the ‘perfect’ match, that we understood what wine matching was all about, and what Isabelle meant when she said that we need to experience the taste in layers.
Upon melting the Coffee and Aniseed and sipping the wine, the initial coffee taste gave way to the wine which gave way to the lingering aniseed. It was really amazing to experience this fantastic ‘layering’ of flavours.
We repeated this process with the remaining wines.
Isabelle says that our noses really only have the capacity for a few pairings before our taste buds give up and everything smells and tastes the same, so when we had paired the wines and chocolates, we simply sat back and enjoyed the rest of the wine and were able to take the left over bars of chocolate home.
Not a bad night, at all, for Â£10 per person.
If you’re in the London area, I cannot recommend this evening more highly. In addition to the chocolate painting and chocolate making events, a wine-pairing evening would be perfectly suited to corporate events, hen parties and girly nights alike. And I’m sure the guys would enjoy it too!
The Melange sells these fantastic handmade chocolates in store, but also online with UK and International shipping options available.
Now for the fun part, where I get to share!
Isabelle has agreed to send one very fortunate reader a taster pack of 8 bars of chocolate.
HOW TO ENTER:
Visit The Melange website then leave a comment below letting me know what your favourite flavour combination would be.
For additional entries:
Leave one comment for each entry you submit.
- Become a Subscriber to Diary of a First Child using the RSS option on the right.
- Follow on Google Friend Connect in the sidebar
- Follow @diaryfirstchild on twitter. Leave your twittername in a separate comment.
- Become a Fan of Diary of a First Child on Facebook. Post this giveaway as an update, leave your FB Name or Name with a copy of your update in a separate comment. One entry for each.
- Tweet this giveaway. Copy and paste â€œWIN hand made Belgian Chocolates, http://www.diaryofafirstchild.com/2010/04/18/the-melange-chocolate-giveaway/â€. Leave a comment below (Once per 24hrs)
- Write a post on your blog linking to my blog and to this post â€“ Good for five entries. Leave this comment five times so you get all your entries!
This giveaway will run through midnight on April 26th, 2010, noon GMT, with winner being announced April 27th 2010 on the blog. (I will also try to contact you by email, so make sure to leave a traceable comment!) The winner will be chosen using Random.org from all valid entries.
This giveaway is open to residents of the United Kingdom.
And the winner is:
Hazel, @beachrambler on Twitter, you are our winner!
(If for any reason I cannot get hold of you, I will redraw on Friday, 30 April)
Thank you to Isabelle for sponsoring the giveawayand toÂ everyone who entered – remember, you can still order chocolates online from The Melange