Friday, June 14, 2013


So when Mark and Melissa told us to bring a bottle of wine that would pair with chocolate, I questioned them. “So you want a dessert wine?” But no . . . they were preparing a four course meal, each made with the ingredient of cocoa in it. I've honestly had little experience with cocoa in regular food, other than Mole Negro.

The first course was the cheese platter. The one that knocked my socks off was the Mt. Tam triple cream brie with dark chocolate balsamic glaze drizzled over it. I really dug into the orange spiced cocoa glazed mixed nuts. Okay Heidi stop eating. Gotta save room for dinner.

The spinach and pecan salad was gorgeous. I think salad can be gorgeous, but then again I love food. This was tossed in a chocolate-based vinaigrette. I bet they got the balsamic at the olive oil store up in Murphy’s, in Calaveras County. I use a chocolate balsamic mixed with espresso balsamic and chipotle olive oil to marinate filet mignon. They placed fresh thinly-sliced pears around the plate. Perfect.
Dinner was so pretty I forgot to take a picture! Asparagus tossed with prosciutto and cocoa nibs, mushroom cocoa ragout on crostini, and a little mountain of Italian Dolce Forte over Casarecce Pasta. Talk about an all-out assault on the senses. Not only did I not know what to think of the food flavors, but I couldn’t settle on a wine.
Then dessert. By then I was stuffed, but I managed to eat most of it anyway. They’d made this really dense low-flour brownie and stored it the freezer. According to Mark, they had taken a bite of the brownie while was still frozen, and loved it! So voila, that’s how they served it, with chocolate sorbet and fresh raspberries.

Each carafe of wine changed with each course, and with each portion. I changed my mind several times and ended up adding up the winning vote from each course for a grand total. The  2010 Klinker Brick Zinfandel held its ground through each course and Mark and Melissa took the Gold. Gamba Zinfandel 2010 came in second, and Bjorn Barbera came in third. Each wine was outstanding in its own right, but paring with the food was the competition.
Next Wine Tribe event is at our house. Based on our recent visit to Italy you can guess what it will be J

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