Like wine for chocolate – another WBW non-contribution

by Jeanne on September 13, 2005

in Events - Wine Blogging Wednesday

Moscatel Mmmm, wine.  Mmmm, chocolate.  What can possibly go wrong?? Well, according to conventional wisdom, quite a lot.  The sweetness so overwhelms the palate that any wine tastes bitter by comparison; and the wine in turn dulls the palate to the sweetness of the chocolate and makes it taste vaguely greasy.  So chocolate is usually not seen as the ideal partner for wines!!  But this month for Wine Blogging Wednesday, Clotilde begged to differ and challenged us to find a wine that matches well with chocolate.

As usual, I was pressed for time (hence the fact that this post is too late to even feature in the round-up!!  I’m such a saddo.) and didn’t get to go shopping for some excellent chocolate as I’d planned.  But fortunately Johanna brought me two exotic-looking bars when she came to lunch recently, so I had a choice of Zotter ginger or "hot chick" chocolate.  You must check out the Zotter website.  If I though my two flavours were interesting (especially the Hot Chick one, the principal flavour of which turned out to be egg-flip rather than drumsticks and suchlike!), that was only because I hadn’t visited their site yet.  Pineapple and paprikaHempseed and mocha. Coffee plums with caramelized baconCrocus saffronCrushed pepper with mint oil.  And even one called Puss Puss (grapes and almonds in milk chocolate) which is said to be the suitable chocolate for wine! If only I’d known…

Anyhow, so that was the chocolate – how about the wine?  Since my two trips to Spain in July, I have been enamoured with all things Spanish.  So when we needed some sweet wine for a recipe the other day, it’s not surprising that I was attracted to a Spanish bottle.  OK, so it wasn’t exactly a boutique winery’s fine wine – it’s a Moscatel de Valencia selected for Tesco and it comes in a screw cap bottle.  But remember, it was originally bought as cooking wine!! Moscatel is made from Muscat d’Alexandrie grapes which belong to the Muscat family, varieties of which are found all over the world.  In fact, in South Africa, our Muscat d’Alexandrie grapes were called hanepoot (say harness-pwert), which literally translated means "cock’s foot", but is apparently more likely to be a corruption of the Dutch "hanekloot" or "cock’s testicles" which the berries are said to resemble.  Take that, sports fans.  Anyhow, we bought it to cook with and had loads left over after the dish was made, so we sampled a little – and it was surprisingly lovely!  It’s a dessert wine, but without the cloying sweetness of botrytised wines – there is enough fresh acid to offset the lush fruit flavours and leave a clean finish on the palate.  Mmmmm.

When I was deciding what wine to pair with the Zotter chocolate, this sweet frutiness combined with its balancing acid sprang to mind.  I did also consider trying to find a particularly chocolatey Merlot, or even to bend the rules and have the chocolate with a bottle of the utterly indulgent Young’s double chocolate stout (just do yourself a favour, people.  And I don’t even like stout!!).  But in the end, lack of time and my general unpreparedness dictated that I go with the Moscatel.  And it turned out to be a great combo!  In fact, for a lighter style of dessert wine, you would have to look hard to find a better wine at the price (I do believe it was under £4!  Wine snobs be damned!!)

Here are the tasting notes, plus some notes after I’d eaten some of the chocolate:

Moscatel de Valencia (Tesco selection) 15% NV

C – pale gold and sparkling

N – sultanas, honey, litchis

P – honey, sultanas, apricots, balanced by enough acid not to be sickly sweet. Long, clean finish, not cloying at all

After the chocolate – tastes more muted, but the frutiness still comes through.  The finish is shorter but the sharp edges are completely taken off the acid.  Still delicious.  A great palate cleanser between bites of chocolate!

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

johanna September 15, 2005 at 10:09 pm

i am really glad you enjoyed the zotter chocolates – i’ve just received their new brochure for 2005/06 and there are soooo many things i must try! my favourite so far has been grammelnussn, nuts paired with pork scratchings… sounds vile, tastes delicious! let me know if you want some, i am going to order some soon via my mum or a colleague who imports them to germany, i’ve got a good supply chain going, believe me!

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Beth - The Zen Foodist September 16, 2005 at 12:39 am

Thanks for the WBW report. Better late than never! :)

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anthony September 20, 2005 at 1:52 am

Ahh packed full of informatibe goodness Jeanne. I think one of my first experiments in drinking was a glass of sweet sherry and some raisin chocolate.

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Meenakshi September 21, 2005 at 5:27 pm

Hi!
I would like to invite you to participate in “I Like ‘em Spicy!”, a fortnightly food event, where all participants have to come up with a spicy recipe using the Star Ingredient (which id different every fortnight)!
The rules are simple:
1. The recipe has to use the Star Ingredient as the base of the dish
2. It has to be SPICY!!
3. Dishes can be of any form you can imagine, appertizers, mains, desserts, drinks…whatever you can come up with!
On the 1st and 15th of every month, I will the post the Star Ingredient and you are expected to email your entries to hookedonheat@gmail.com by the next two weeks.
At the end of the two weeks, I will post all the recipes on a special blog built especially for “I Like ‘em Spicy!” so you can all view the fabulous entries!
For further details do drop in “Hooked on Heat”, at http://www.hookedonheat.blogspot.com and join in on the fun!
- Meena
(www.hookedonheat.blogspot.com)

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Jeanne September 26, 2005 at 7:30 pm

Hi Johanna
Thanks again – I loved the chocolate! And yes, I definitely would like to order a few bars! Maybe you can bring along the catalogue next time we meet up. Very keen to try the grammelnussn – I’m not scared!! ;-)
Hi Beth
My words exactly…! I figured I bought the wine, I drank it and phtographed it – why the hell not post it? I did draw the line at expecting Clotilde to accept my pathetically late entry!!
Hi Spicey
Mmmm, don’t knock sweet sherry & raisin chocolate! Food of kings. Glad you enjoyed the post – will have to get a supply chain of Zotter chocolate going to Oz…
Hi Meenakshi
Thanks for the invite. I’ll certainly pop around to your blog and take a look – everyone else, feel free to join me!

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