Just before the great snow of 2018 I ventured out on a Monday night to Edinburgh Academy for a really fab night pairing wine and chocolate with Diana Thompson from Wine Events Scotland and Juan Santelices from Pacari Chocolate.
Pacari Chocolate is a Ecuadorian family-owned company which aims to make the highest quality fine flavour chocolate in the world. Made from tree to bar in Ecuador, this fair trade, sustainable, socially responsible, certified organic dark chocolate has won over 180 International Chocolate Awards since 2012. So we were very much in good chocolatey hands.
The name Pacari means “nature” in the Quechua, the local indigenous language. They are fair trade, sustainable, socially responsible, organic and free from soy, gluten, dairy, nuts, palm oil and perfect for vegans.
Wine Events Scotland is based in Edinburgh and organises wine workshops, tastings, wine festivals and certified Wine & Spirit Education Trust courses for consumers and the trade. The Company is owned and managed exclusively by Diana Thompson a qualified WSET tutor who has over 25 years’ experience within the drinks and hospitality industry.
Diana holds Wine Workshops once a month usually on a Monday evening in Edinburgh. These are fun informal but informative workshops for the enthusiastic consumer. No prior wine knowledge is required just a healthy interest in wine.
We tasted 7 wines in total, 2 sparkling, 2 white, 2 red and a dessert wine.
Firstly we started with Sparkling Prosecco, Zonin Dress Code Black Edition and paired it with Pacari Lemon Verbena Chocolate. The chocolate is made from the Aribba Nationale bean with an infusion of organic lemon verbena. It’s 60% cacao and 40% unrefined sugars. The prosecco is made from the Glera grapes blended with Pinot Noir to create a sparkling wine. Together they both enhance the citrus notes in each other. The notes on the palate are soft, subtle and the chocolate makes the wine ever so slightly sweeter.
Second Sparkling wine we tasted was the Greyfriars Vineyard Rose and the Chilli Chocolate. This Chilli chocolate is 60% cacao. The chillis used are soft chillis, which are then dried and smoked. The chocolate starts off sweet and then the heat kicks in at the end. The wine is an English sparkling wine, Greyfriars Reserve Brut Rose made up of 90% Pinot Noir. Notes are delicate with a slight bitterness.
The third wine was my favourite and this is now my must drink white wine. Combined with the Passionfruit Pacari Chocolate, this is a match made in heaven. The wine is the Goldwater Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand. It rings of passionfruit, gooseberries and limes which only enhances the Passionfruit essence in the chocolate.
The fourth pairing was Ginger and Chia Chocolate with Domaine Viticole de la Ville de Colmar CLose Saint-Jacques Riesling. This chocolate needed an aromatic pairing and this wine is delicate, aromatic and full of expression. The wine really enhances the ginger in the chocolate and you get a soft warming effect.
Moving onto the Red Wines, we enjoyed the Domaine Les Hautes Cances Cairanne Cotes du Rhone Villages and the Pink Salt Chocolate. This wine is from the Rhone Valley and has to have 20% Syrah, and 50% Grenache.
The Pink Salt is absolutely my favourite – packed with pink salt chunks and dark chocolate.
The last red is South African, the Original Series 1 Stellenbosch Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot with the Tangara Chocolate. It’s 70% cacao and is very limited, it’s a chocolate that wont be around next year. This wine is very dry and heavy on the tanins.
Lastly we finished with a delicious Dessert wine, the Vin Santo del Chianti, Corbellicce from Italy paired with the Physallis/Golderberry chocolate. The wine is rich and tastes like Christmas Pudding in a glass.
This is genuinely lovely way to spend an evening – a group of friends, as a couple, or even on your own. The night is extremely relaxed and friendly and besides drinking some fabulous wines and eating amazing chocolate, you leave knowing that little bit more.
Thank you to Juan from Pacari and Diana from Wine Events Scotland for asking me along. I loved it!
The next Wine event workshop is Exploring Portugal on the 26th March. For more information contact www.wineeventsscotland.co.uk
Pacari Chocolates – www.home.pacarichocolates.uk