At Cocoa Runners we aspire to, and look enviously at, the way in which fine wine has become part of daily life. Thanks to a host of great enthusiasts such as Hugh Johnson, Oz Clarke and Jancis Robinson, we’ve all become far more comfortable with, and interested in, wine. Now even the supermarkets sell great wines. Artisan chocolate is on the same path. Whenever we taste chocolate they immediately cite similarities between wine and chocolate – breadth of flavour, the importance of high quality ingredients, the skill and craftsmanship involved. So we asked Tom Harrow Wine Director of Honest Grapes (@honestgrapes on Twitter) and founder of Wine Chap (@winechapUK), columnist for the Financial Times blogger, buyer, presenter and much else to curate a selection of chocolates for us. And next week we’re joining him at his festival – Honest Grapes “Big day out” – to showcase this box.
In Tom’s words “Chocolate, like wine is all about flavours, tastes and “noses”. And sometimes these flavour notes overlap.” But he also notes that, “few wines pair naturally with chocolate, Mas Amiels from the Pyrenees, Banyuls and particularly Recioto di Valpolicella being notable exceptions.” And he was at pains to note that his selection is “very much NOT a pairing guide” instead it is “based on the belief that if you prefer certain wine styles and grapes then you will be drawn towards certain chocolates.” So here is his selection – with the whole selection available in this £29.95 gift box.
This bar has delightful lime and citrus notes making it a natural comparison to very dry, zesty wines with strong citrus elements. So if you’re a fan of Sauvignon Blanc, Albarinho, Gavi di Gavi or Gruner Veltliner we think this will be the bar for you.
The delicious creaminess and smooth texture of this bar, created by the founders of wired magazine, make it ideal for individuals that enjoy richer, softer whites. Ones with a little depth and creaminess and some hints of the spice cupboard. An ideal chocolate for lovers of whites ranging from sensitively oaked Chardonnay to Chenin, Semillon and Viogner.
With powerful fruity notes typical of Bertil Akesson’s Madagascan beans, from which it is made, this bar will appeal to supporters of vibrant mid-weight, elegant reds with gentle tanins redolent of wild strawberries. A bar for lovers of Pinot Noir, Gamay or the aforementioned Recioto di Valpolicela.
Marou classify their chocolates by the regions of Vietnam the beans were grown in, believing that like with wine, the terroir has a huge effect on the taste of the bar. This rich and fruity bar is a sublime taste experience, perfect if you enjoy pungent reds bursting with forest fruits and pepper. It’s wine comparisons would, in ours and Tom’s opinion, be the likes of Syrah, Touriga Nacional, Sangiovese, Carmenere and Tempranillio.
Rounding out this delicious experiment is the Belize bar by Brooklyn’s own Mast Brothers. Its complex fruity and citrus flavour with notes of blood orange and banana make it an exciting chocolate to enjoy. One that will appeal to lovers of Cabernet, Merlot or Malbec with their various fruity and flavoursome notes of cassis, black cherries and cedar.
Now, individual palates can be unpredictable and contrary things. This means that whilst we figure lovers of certain wine styles and grapes will find certain chocolates appealing it might not be exactly as we, and Tom, have suggested. However, one thing we are certain of is you will enjoy the experiment…so check out the box today and we look forward to your feedback. And next week we’re joining him at his festival – Honest Grapes “Big day out” – to showcase this box. Why not join us and get your tickets today.