The other night I attended a wine and chocolate pairing at Chocolate Therapy at Legacy Place in Dedham. I've been to Chocolate Therapy several times before -- it makes a great pit stop during an afternoon of shopping, whether for a bite of chocolate or a coffee -- and was excited to see how the chocolates paired with wine (let's be honest… wine and chocolate are two of my favorite things).
I met owners David and Pam Griffin when I walked in, and Pam quickly offered me a glass of wine and a sample of truffles. It was just the thing to set the mood for the event.
David kicked things off by telling us all about how chocolate becomes chocolate, from bean to bar. He gave us just enough information to keep us interested but not so much that we were overwhelmed -- though you could tell he's really passionate about chocolate and could probably talk about it all evening if you wanted him to.
He led us through tasting cocoa butter, cacao nibs, and white, milk, and dark chocolate callets, teaching us to let the chocolate melt on our tongues, so we could feel the texture and get all the flavor.
Then Pam took over for the wine pairing portion of the evening. She spends lots of time doing research, sampling wines and chocolates together to see what works well. (Tough job!) It isn't just have some red wine with some dark chocolate but rather how will the chocolate go with which wine and how will the flavors be affected. I was impressed at the time she puts into figuring out the combinations.
We started with the Pom Balm (a dark chocolate pomegranate truffle) and Pinot Grigio. Pam taught us to swish the wine and coat our mouths with it before trying the chocolate. I found that the chocolate mellowed the really citrusy flavor of the wine.
Next we tried a milk chocolate truffle with a Petite Syrah. The wine was really full-bodied and oaky and it nicely cut the rich creaminess of the chocolate.
The third combination was my favorite: the blueberry lemon basil truffle with Lambrusco. The truffle itself was amazing, with a layer of blueberry pate de fruit tucked inside. You got these nice sweet-savory, salty-peppery flavors from the combination.
And last, we tried the salted caramel truffle with a sherry (Pam says she usually pairs it with a port in the fall and winter). Both had these nice caramelly, butterscotchy notes, and the sherry added a little woodsiness. The sherry was a bit strong for me on its own, but it was nice with the chocolate.
After the event, I picked out some chocolates to bring home. One of the neat things about Chocolate Therapy is that they add therapeutic elements to the chocolates. These are all natural things, such as basil, cayenne, hops, and pomegranate. You can pick up a card at the store that tells you the different ingredients and what they do for you. I selected chocolates based on what sounded good to me but then looked them up when I got home. The Aristaeus is dark chocolate with olive oil and sea salt. The olive oil is listed as a therapeutic ingredient because it has antioxidants. I also got a blueberry lemon basil truffle, which offers a triple whammy of therapeutic ingredients. According to the card, the blueberry has antioxidants and is meant to help with weight loss and preserving vision; the lemon is an immunity booster, offers stress relief, and helps with weight loss and acne; and the basil supports anti-inflammatory and cardiovascular health.
It's fun to see what the chocolates are meant to do, but I buy them and eat them just because they're really good.
I truly enjoyed meeting Pam and David and learning more about what goes on at Chocolate Therapy, how to pair wine and chocolate, and where chocolate even comes from. These events happen on a pretty regular basis at both their Dedham and Framingham stores (head to their website or call for specifics). If you want to learn a bit more about chocolate and try some fun wine and chocolate pairings, I definitely recommend checking them out.
Have you been to Chocolate Therapy?
This event was complimentary, but as always, all opinions are my own.