Food

Chocolates and wines form the ultimate tandem at the Winter Festival of Wine

 | February 1, 2011

“Women love their chocolates,” said Gerrit van Staalduinen, our wine educator for Cadbury Chocolate and Okanagan Wines. The event was part of the Winter Festival of Wine at Sun Peaks, held at the Delta Sun Peaks Resort. He proved his point by doing a quick head count around the room. Indeed, the men were woefully outnumbered by women. The females in the room simply shared knowing smiles and chuckles. No argument there.

Nevertheless, it’s fair to assume that chocolate is one of the best loved desserts there is—spanning continents, cultures and yes, even gender. There’s a million ways to enjoy chocolates. Thankfully, the seminar provided yet another deliciously easy way to enjoy them—with wines.

Van Staalduinen said the secret in chocolate and wine pairing is in the contrast. Wine is acidic and chocolate is sweet. But together, the two work to create a harmonious taste experience, much like how the interplay between light and shadow create dimension in a photograph.

The seminar started off with the wine expert introducing each of the wines and giving pointers on how to properly taste them. Eight Okanagan varietals were introduced composed of four red wines, three white wines and an icewine.

This was followed by a background on chocolates that, in my opinion, was deliberately prolonged just to tease the seminar attendees. As the facilitator talked about the merits of chocolate, four bars of Cadbury chocolate—Dairy Milk, Hazelnut Dairy Milk, Burnt Almond Dark and Premium Dark—sat on the table waiting to be tasted. In this regard, this wasn’t a seminar for people with low self-control (unless you can keep up with the speaker while sneaking in a few bites).

After the preliminary introduction was done, participants heartily dived into tasting and pairing velvety smooth chocolate and fine wines. The pairing experience was definitely an eye-opener, as certain flavours in wine became more pronounced when paired with the right kind of chocolate. Senses were heightened with the smells, taste and texture of this heavenly tandem. The chocolate bars even gave a satisfying crack as participants broke pieces off for eating. Who knew that experimenting with food can be this good?

The Cadbury Chocolates and Okanagan Wines event revealed a great way to savour two of life’s greatest pleasures. It’s the perfect excuse to always have chocolate on hand when consuming wine, or vice-versa.

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