We’re all going to be looking for activities to keep us entertained over the next few weeks, so why not put a twist on the usual “chocolate and wine” night?
We had the pleasure of attending a virtual event, hosted by Lindt, in which Lindt Master Chocolatier Stefan Bruderer walked us a tasting of Lindt dark chocolate with a selection of expertly-paired drinks.
Stefan explained how good-quality chocolate should appeal to all the senses — how it should look, smell, feel, sound and (of course) taste. The chocolates we tasted were divine, and the drinks chosen complemented the flavor profiles of the selected bars. It was one of the most fun (and surprisingly educational) ways to enjoy chocolate!
Here’s how you can create the same evening at home; we recommend inviting a few friends and making a virtual night of it!
“Most of us enjoy eating chocolate, but the appreciation of fine dark chocolate is an art: an acquired taste that can be refined, it’s an experience to be savoured, not rushed. Just like a sommelier considers the complementary elements of a fine wine, you can follow the journey of the five senses with Lindt EXCELLENCE to help immerse yourself in the occasion and focus on the exquisite symphony of flavours you’re about to experience.” — Lindt Master Chocolatier Stefan Bruderer
The chocolate you’ll need:
EXCELLENCE 70% Dark Chocolate
EXCELLENCE 85% Dark Chocolate
EXCELLENCE Caramel with a Touch of Sea Salt
A red wine glass
A champagne flute or coupe
A whiskey tumbler
SIGHT: Appreciate the chocolate colour. Noting the premium silky sheen with an even texture.
TOUCH: Feel the velvety, smooth surface of chocolate – never rough or grainy.
SOUND: Hear the crisp, clear snap as you break the chocolate.
SCENT: Cherish the rich and intense aromas of the chocolate before you taste it.
TASTE: Let a piece melt on your tongue and experience the intense symphony of cocoa flavours.
ASSESS: Now the chocolate is nearing its finish. How has the flavour evolved? Is the chocolate bitter, heavy, light? Did any changes in texture and flavour occur? Take note of how the chocolate leaves the palate. Is there a strong reminder lingering in your mouth, or does it quickly vanish?
EXCELLENCE 70% is a full-bodied dark chocolate, masterfully balanced to be strong but not too intense. Its delicately fragrant, smooth cocoa flavour has subtle fruit and floral undertones and hints of natural vanilla.
Pair with a Cabernet Sauvignon which is aged in oak. This gives it warm and spicy notes of cinnamon and nutmeg that pair beautifully with the vanilla flavour profile and fruity notes of cherry and orange in the chocolate.
EXCELLENCE Caramel, with a Touch of Sea Salt
Excellence Caramel with a touch of Sea Salt is the perfect balance of smooth dark chocolate, crisp and deep flavoured caramel pieces, and a subtle, delicate undertone of sea salt. The most dramatic pairing with this is Prosecco.
The citrus and pear notes in the wine along with the refreshing sparkle makes this pairing luxurious and truly indulgent.
EXCELLENCE 85% is an intensely flavoured, fine dark chocolate which is perfectly balanced, being neither bitter nor overpowering. Aromas include dried fruit and liquorice as well as powerful earthy tones.
Look for New World cabernets (from Australia, California and Chile) which feature cassis and red cherry notes as their main markers. They also often feature hints of coconut and toasted nuts. This is an ideal partner for the robust flavours and intensity of a high percentage chocolate.
EXCELLENCE Chilli is a true taste sensation. The delicious dark chocolate gently melts away, providing a delicate sweetness and delectable cocoa flavour that subsides to a gentle warmth from the chilli, but the heat is well controlled and in harmony with the fine cocoa.
Whiskey and chocolate are an excellent match because their flavour profiles and common tasting notes such as honey and spice, are so similar. In order to get the most out of your tasting, be sure to enjoy both at room temperature, which helps maintain their “nose” (aroma).
Lindt EXCELLENCE bars are available from supermarkets and retailers nationwide.