Chocolate and wine, two of my favorite foods, plus Boule, one of my favorite pastry shops = one yummy tasting! Perfectly timed for Valentines Day weekend, Boules Chocolate and Wine Pairing was a great event that introduced me to some creative new flavors. For the record, Im addicted to Boules macaroons (esp. the rose petal, passion fruit, and gingerbread apple butter ones), so I dont usually make it over to the chocolate display case. But after this event, I will definitely be sampling the chocolates more often.
For the tasting, they moved the cases that normally take up the middle of the room and laid everything out on one long table. The tasting consisted of 7 courses, progressing from lighter/fruity flavors to rich and dark. The folks at Boule were kind enough to provide a printout of their pairing notes, which are listed above my comments in parentheses.
**I am in the process of uploading photos that accompany this review - I should have them up in a couple days**
(This 70% dark Valrhona chocolate ganache is infused with heat from the habanero pepper. The heat has a delayed reaction)
Wine: Mumm Joyesse Demi-Sec, Reims, France
(This sweet champagne has a nose of candied quince with red fruits on the lingering finish)
Wow, that is one spicy chocolate! About 3 or 4 seconds after the first bite, a strong peppery taste fills your mouth much spicier than expected, but in a good way. It wakes your mouth up, and fortunately, you have a nice sweet champagne to cool it off.
(A sweet Valrhona ivoire ganache with passion fruit. The fruits high acidity balances the sweetness of the chocolate)
Wine: Chateau La Rame Reserve du Chateau, Sainte Croix du Mont, France
(This late harvest Semillon & Sauvignon Blanc wine has mango, peach and passion fruit notes and a medium body)
I didnt think I liked white chocolate until I tried this. The super-fruity passion fruit was the perfect flavor to soften the white chocolate. A delicious and beautiful chocolate, and the wine was nice and fruity to match.
(A dark chocolate ganache that is infused with star anise. The finish in the wine will heighten the chocolate as there is a layering effect)
Wine: 2003 Charles Hours Clos Uroulat, Jurancon, France
(The grapes are Gros Mesange and Petite Mesange which is a vibrant mix of peach and apricots, with a star anise finish)
This is where things started to get really interesting. The star anise flavor in the chocolate was distinct and delicious. Then, paired with the wine, it became even more intense. I couldnt imagine two things that were more perfectly paired this may have been my favorite course of the evening.
(This is the heaviest of the chocolates with a smoky tea infusion of Lapsang Souchoung tea and citrus. The citrus balances the smokiness from the tea)
Wine: 2003 Nigl Eiswein Gruner Veltliner, Kremstal, Austria
(Smoky white peaches and pears, but not super sweet, finishing with solid acid)
The smoky flavor in the chocolate was really intense. My husband Brian commented that it was like the smoked sausage of chocolate I agree! The flavor was so unusual, that it grew on you with every bite. Although the above course was my favorite pairing, this was my favorite single chocolate. And I absolutely love ice wine, and this one was excellent.
(A white chocolate ganache enrobed in a dark 70% chocolate. This is complex with fruit, nut and bitter dark chocolate)
Wine: 2003 Alois Kracher Cuvee Beerenauslese, Burgenland, Austria
(A late harvest Welschriesling & Chardonnay wine with a nutty note, white peaches and a slight spice)
The chocolate had a nice nutty pistachio flavor and paired nicely with the wine. This was Brians favorite chocolate. The wine was very tasty and reminded me a lot of the Aszu dessert wine we had in Hungary.
(The ganache is white chocolate with Banyuls and Banyuls vinegar adding acidity to the truffle. The 70% dark chocolate outer shell balances the acid)
Wine: 2003 Domaine de la Tour Vielles, Banyuls, France
(The wine is a fortified Grenache-Syrah with sweet black fruits and a hint of spice)
At this point, I was a little chocolate-d out. I remember the last two chocolates seeming quite similar. Both tasty, both dark and rich flavors.
Chocolate: Aster Truffle
(This truffle starts with a white chocolate ganache that is infused with tonka beans. The bitterness of the 70% dark chocolate balances the sweet, floral tonka bean)
Wine: 1995 Ramos Pintos Vintage Port, Portugal
(This port is dark and inky, with deep black fruit notes and a hint of a coffee note)
Wow, I almost didnt think I would make it! That is a lot of chocolate and sweet wine and they gave generous pours, about a half glass each. We hadnt eaten dinner yet, and I was almost full!
Of course, you cant leave Boule empty handed. The parting gift was a packet of Korova Sable cookies, which are delicious crumbly dark chocolate cookies crusted with coarse granulated sugar.
I also picked up a couple of my favorites: a purse of fleur de sel caramels (which made the latest Saveur 100 list, congrats!), and a big fluffy lemon chiffon marshmallow. The caramels really are to die for I have been on a salt caramel hunt lately and these are the best Ive had, followed by the ones in the plywood box at Juliennes in San Marino.
Overall, it was a really fun and eye-opening tasting, well worth the $50pp.
420 N. La Cienega Blvd.,
Los Angeles, CA 90048