Thursday, December 11, 2008

Red, red wine

Christmas has indeed arrived early.

The good people at Cocoa Farm have kindly sent me a box of their beautiful, wholly-organic wine chocolates to sample. The package arrived in the form of 8 individually wrapped samples of 36%-cocoa chocolate studded with petite, shiraz-infused raisins. For once, I thought I’ll try to do these little babies justice and educate myself a little on chocolate appreciation.

Chocolate appreciation is quite a lot like wine-tasting. Needless to say, the chocolate needs to be at room temperature. I have always preferred my chocolate that way (or even a little on the slightly melted side) to a cold, rock-hard piece straight out from the fridge. Now if you are one of those who enjoy stashing your chocolate in the frigo, you’re seriously missing out on a lot of the subtler nuances that your chocolate bar can bring. The heat brings out the aromatic intensity and flavour of the chocolate which can be further released by taking a bit of chocolate and rubbing it between your fingers. The most apparent aromas that came out were those of rosy red cherries and a slight almond fragrance. Mmm.

Taste-wise, I tried it two-ways: one source recommends that you do not chew the chocolate at all and suck it using the roof of your mouth while the second method, which I found more effective, suggested chewing it to maximize the chocolate spread on your tongue and then letting it melt away into a rich, luscious paste. Velvety and milky, the chocolate was perfumed with light floral and juicy berry tones, reminding me of scented jasmine tea, cherries and ripe, ripe strawberries. Sublime. The slight tartness in the raisins cut through the sweetness of the chocolate, something which I was pleasantly surprised by and very much enjoyed. There was also a very slight hint of spiciness which frenchie and I detected too. What? You didn’t think I’ll share my chocolate?

All in all, I would say this is a very pleasant after-dinner chocolate which I suspect might even get on famously with a bit of dry red wine. Although I personally love strong, dark and slightly bitter varieties, this is a nice change which presents a lovely medley of flavours that do not overpower each other so much as complement each other, and can be appreciated by both wine and non-wine lovers alike. Chin!

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