Do you love Chocolate? Do you love Port? Then this post is made for you! I was invited to attend an event hosted by Liberty Wine Merchants. Called the Port & Chocolate event, it's one in a series of their "Tastings in the Park" events with proceeds going to benefit Amateur Sports.
First table I arrived at was the on from Vintage Corks. They were pouring the Niepoort from Portugal. On the far left is the Ruby, is aged in large wood vats and has a strong cherry note. The Tawny ages in smaller old oak casks and seemed a bit just a bit smoother. They also had their LBV, which stands for Late Bottled Vintage, from 2005. Instead of younger ports which are aged 2-3 years and older ports aged 15-20 years, this bridges the gap after being aged for 4-6 years. This was really good and paired best with the chocolates we had.
Ah, yes, the chocolate. I arrived at the Valrhona Chocolate (France) table practically drooling! They were serving up a Manjari Orange bar from Madasgascar, as well as the Abinao from African cocoa beans. Both were very rich but the better of the two was the Abinao in my books, with 85% cocoa. Also at the table was Dolfin (Belgium) whose chocolate can keep up to a year with any preserving agents! The one we tried was a milk chocolate with Masala Spice, very different! We also sampled items from Bonnat Chocolatier (France), who brought their Bonnat Asfarth, a 65% Dark Milk Chocolate. At the far end was samples from Francois Pralus (France), with what I think was the Fortissima and the Le 100%, yes, 100% cocoa.
And here we have the offerings from Hagensborg Chocolates, based in Burnaby, BC. Perhaps better know for their Truffle Pigs line, they brought their bars for us to try.
I started off with the lightest cocoa percentage, at just 39% a milk chocolate from Ecuador. This was creamy but very mild in chocolate flavour and didn't quite hold up against the ports I was drinking.
An improvement was the 64% bar from Madagascar. This had a richer flavour and was very smooth as well.
As a fan of Dark Chocolate, I was delighted by the 70% offering from Santa Domingo. This was intense chocolate, rich with cocoa and definitely my favourite.
This had me doing a double take! From Vino Cacao, we have the Noir. It's a marriage made in heaven, a Bordeaux red wine blended with dark chocolate, it's sheer genius! And a great way to end any meal! You can taste the fruitiness of the wine, but the chocolate flavours follow quickly after!
And as the evening went on, I found myself irresistibly drawn to the Chocolate Fountain! They had an assortment of dippers, but for me, the vanilla wafers were the best! And yes, it can get a little messy! (Last photo is courtesy of Brian K. Smith)