A year ago I attended my first chocolate + wine pairing with Estelle Tracy of 37 Chocolates at Galer Estate Vineyard & Winery. You can read my blog post about my first experience here! Estelle is a chocolate educator and freelance writer - make sure you follow her on Instagram!
I was extremely excited when Estelle reached out and asked if I would like to attend and photograph her chocolate tasting at Harvest Ridge Winery located in Toughkenamon, Pennsylvania. These pairing events are relaxed and surrounded with good company. Oh and trying delicious chocolates paired with local wines is never a bad way to spend an afternoon. Estelle was joined by Harvest Ridge Winery’s sales rep, Anna, who told us a little bit about each wine.
1) Harvest Ridge Winery Merlot + Akesson's 75% Dark Chocolate - Madagascar
2) Harvest Ridge Winery Red 47 Blend + Milk & Nibs 65% Dark Milk Chocolate with Cacao Nibs
3) Harvest Ridge Winery Viognier + Dos Rios 70% Dark Chocolate Bar
4) Harvest Ridge Winery Blue Hen Blue + Castronovo Chocolate Honduras Dark Milk with Fleur de Sel 60%
You can buy the wines online here.
My personal thoughts:
My favorite maker of chocolate, between this tasting and the previous one I attended, is Akesson’s. If you’re looking for a good dark chocolate bar to try, I recommend this!
1) Dark chocolate paired with Merlot. A classic pairing. The merlot is dry, yet smooth, and it paired beautifully with the 75% dark chocolate.
2) The Red 47 Blend definitely has a bite at the beginning because of the hint of peppercorn. The dark milk chocolate helped to sweeten up this blend. I enjoyed the cacao nibs on this bar for an extra little crunch of flavor.
3) Wine isn’t my go to drink of choice, so I’m constantly learning what I do and don’t like about wine. Personally, I find that white wine is harder for me to drink; however, this might have been my favorite pairing. The Viognier was paired with a chocolate that tasted of orange bergamot and lavender. What I didn’t know was that the flavor comes from the cacao beans themselves! There’s actually no added fruit or flavorings.
4) Okay, this might also be my favorite pairing because it was so interesting. The Blue Hen Blue tastes like grape juice! Anna called it “adult grape juice” and I agree. I love grape juice, so I was sold on this wine. Actually sold, because I bought a bottle after the tasting. The chocolate that was paired with the Blue Hen Blue tasted like salted caramel. There were so many flavors and they surprisingly worked well together.
Thanks Estelle for having me and turning me into a “chocolate connoisseur” - no complaints here!
Below are a few photos from the event.