There is not much middle ground when it comes to the topic of pairing wine and chocolate.
Some sommeliers completely dismiss the idea that the two can even co-exist, let alone make beautiful music together. Others sing the pairing’s praises to the high heavens—sometimes prompting me to think, “Get a room… for yourself, your wine and your chocolate.”
Me? I’m one of the few that inhabits that middle ground. As one who is willing to try any food-and-wine combination with no preconceived notions, I can tell you that I’ve had some amazing (in a good way) experiences, some “what were they thinking?” experiences, and a whole lot of so-so experiences.
To those stuffy sommeliers, I would say: “You should at least try a pairing before condemning it.”
To those who like all kinds of chocolates with all kinds of wines, I would say: “Good for you!”
And to those who are on the fence, wondering whether chocolate and wine can be simpatico, I would say: “Check out the Madera Wine Trail Wine & Chocolate Weekend.”
The 2013 edition is scheduled, appropriately, very close to Valentine’s Day, on the weekend of February 9-10.
For $30, you get a wine glass and access to special tastings and special events at a dozen local wineries all weekend. Some will have live music, some will be offering gourmet lunches, some will be displaying the work of local artists, and all will be offering some form of chocolate indulgence.
At Chateau Lasgoity, the Sierra Lions Club will be on hand to offer strawberries, nuts and pretzels, all covered in dark chocolate. At Papagni Wines, one of the items featured on the dessert bar will be a Belgian Chocolate Orange Truffle from Jonathan’s. Quady Winery’s special treat will be spiked hot chocolate.
And then there’s Sumner Peck Ranch Winery, where “we are always about wine and chocolate—so let’s kick it up a notch for Wine Trail weekend!”
Now that sounds like a plan.
And for those who stick up their noses at wine-and-chocolate pairing, well, that just leaves more for the rest of us.