Last night I and a bunch of other Boston bloggers went back to school, Boston Chocolate School, that is, for an Evening of Wine and Chocolate. I almost missed this event, but after seeing Elizabeth the night before, I was able to get on the attendee list, and I am glad I did! After meeting Megan and Daisy for some pre-chocolate drinks and appetizers, we all headed to the College Club of Boston to meet our fellow bloggers who were already mingling in the club’s beautiful downstairs rooms.
While we were all chatting, we were told that two of the bed and breakfast rooms were open and available for us to view. Of course, our camera-wielding group headed upstairs to check them out. The above photos are taken in the upstairs bed and breakfast part of the building. The décor was so interesting, very old Boston with pieces of art and antique furniture just about everywhere. I was excited to attend the event just to get a glimpse inside such a well-kept piece of history.
After mingling for a little bit over passed bites and cheese, the doors were opened to the “classroom”, an absolutely stunning, grand room with a long table that was set with chocolate and filled wine glasses for all of us. I really hoped to grab a shot of the empty room, but we were ushered in very quickly.
Our teachers for the evening were Harry Silverstein, owner and President of Red, White & Bleu, a D.C.-area wine store, and Dorian McCarron, Executive Pastry Chef and Chocolatier.
While they introduced themselves, Harry and Dorian talked about wine tasting and the history of chocolate, respectively.
And I got a chance to take it all in, the chocolate and wine at our place settings, the beautiful mouldings and chandeliers. The room was definitely one of the highlights of the evening.
It was tempting to jump ahead to try some of the chocolate, but we were all good students.
Harry walked us through the 5 S’s of wine tasting, See, Smell, Swirl, Sip, and Savor.
And then we did just that with our first wine, 2009 La Serra Moscato D’Asti from the Piedmont in Italy. I had always learned NOT to swirl effervescent wines, so I skipped that step
With the wine, we learned to also taste the chocolate, starting with a square of white chocolate from Lindt. We looked at the chocolate to inspect its exterior, snapped it in half to hear that nice snap sound, smelled the chocolate, and then placed it on our tongue, allowing it to melt. I learned that the melting point of real chocolate is close to body temperature, so the chocolate should melt cleanly in your mouth. Anything that takes a long time to melt and leaves a coating in your mouth is likely filled with additives. Stay away!
I personally did not enjoy the first two wines, the Moscato or the 2009 Alasia Brachetto D’Acqui from Tuscany. Both lacked enough acidity for me to find them palatable, especially paired with the sweeter chocolates.
We worked our way through the wines and chocolates, next tasting the 2009 Jam Jar Sweet Shiraz from South Africa. I’ve seen this wine many times but never purchased it, thinking the label was a little too gimmicky for my tastes, but I enjoyed some of the smoky flavors in this wine. They definitely helped to balance the sweet.
We finished off the evening tasting a 2007 Luc Piret Merlot, a 2007 Cameron Hughes Lot 184 Cabernet Sauvignon from the Alexander Valley (I’ll be there this weekend!!!!), and finally a NV Fonseca Bin 27 Port.
Ultimately, I am a fan of really dark chocolate so the El Rey Apamate, with 73.5% chocolate was my favorite and the Cameron Hughes Lot 184 Cabernet Sauvignon was my favorite wine. I found just about everything else a little too sweet, but I guess I have a strange palate when it comes to sugar!
The evening was a lot of fun, but I felt there may have been a little too much instruction and not enough interaction between class attendees. Or maybe I was just excited to see so many fellow bloggers, and I really wanted to talk!
I would definitely recommend this event to anyone who loves chocolate and who has a very basic knowledge of wine tasting. It would make for a great first or early wine event for someone interested in a guided wine and food pairing.
In addition to Boston Chocolate School, Boston Chocolate Tours offers a variety of other events including tastings, tours, classes, and team building events.
Do you like chocolate? What is your favorite type/brand of chocolate or favorite way to eat chocolate?