I genuinely thought we were going to get slabs of chocolate paired with a few glasses of Bubbly. However, I should know by now that the Galvin Brasserie Masterclasses are never this basic and they always put a spin on it, giving the topic much love and attention and devising a more elegant way in which to showcase, in this instance the chocolate.
Pairing Champagne with chocolate is a tricky business. Typically champagne is dry which fights almost with the sweet, fatty profile of white and milk chocolate but will also make dark chocolate taste more bitter.
Head Chef Jamie Knox and Sommelier Damien Trinckquel put together three fabulous champagnes and chocolate desserts for us to taste.
CHAMPAGNE 1 : Perrier-Jouet, Blanc de Blancs
DESSERT 1 : White Chocolate mousse with poached rhubarb and rhubarb meringue kisses.
This champagne is made by selecting and blending Chardonnays. It is an elegant and fresh Champagne with notes of elderberry, acacia and honeysuckle.
They pair well because the subtle, creamy character of white chocolate calls for a champagne with a delicate body and bubbles, which work wonders on the cocoa butter content and sweet essences of the chocolate itself.
CHAMPAGNE 2 : Galvin Grande Reserve
DESSERT 2 : Caramelia Chocolate with pear (hidden underneath) with popcorn
This is Galvin’s restaurants own Champagne which is sourced from Beaumont des Crayeres, a group of small growers who farm small vineyard plots around Epernay in the heart of the Champagne region. It is made from a high proportion of the fruity Pinot Meunier together with the freshness of Chardonnay and the rounded fruit weight of Pinot Noir. Refreshing and fruity in style. Elegantly styled with citrus scented aromas leading to a fine mousse, ripe white fruit flavours and a fresh long, dry finish.
This paired well because milk chocolate holds higher sugar levels and lower tannins than its dark chocolate cousins making it easier to access with a wider range of champagnes and wines. The caramel and the chocolate here shows a delicious palate contrast with the champagne, but it’s the pear that really helps marry this food and drink pairing.
CHAMPAGNE 3 : Perrier-Jouët Blason Rosé
DESSERT 3 : Dark Chocolate Pannacotta with poached cherries
This Champagne is a beautiful salmon-pink champagne with red berry, blood orange and pomegranate aromas over honeysuckle and brioche notes. Rich and seductive it offers lively bubbles, excellent complexity and a long, lingering finish.
This was paired so well because the dry tannin profile of dark chocolate partners remarkably well with the sweet, fruit-forward style of the champagne that can mask as sweet on the palate. The red fruits in the wine, highlighted the cherries.
The Galvin Brasserie De Luxe masterclasses occur monthly. These are informal and relaxed events and are great fun! The next masterclass coming up on the 28th February is Wine Tasting in the Dark in honour of WWF Earth Hour.
Galvin Brasserie De Luxe, Waldorf Astoria, Rutland Street, Edinburgh
Tel : 0131 2228988 www.galvinedinburgh.com