Pairing great wines with fine chocolate desserts? According to M.J. Essenmacher of Tucson Creative Catering, “They say it can never be done.”
But she set out to prove them wrong, combining her efforts with Slow Foods Tucson and Yvonne K Foucher, owner of CataVinos Wine Shoppe & Tasting Room, to pair wines and sweet treats as a prelude to Valentine’s Day. Nearly 20 curious guests enjoyed the delicacies, served on the patio at CataVinos last Sunday, February 13.
Essenmacher and Foucher explained that there are two manners of proper pairing. The first is to combine similar tastes in food with similar characteristics of the wine. An example of this was pairing Cara Mia Pinot Noir 2009, an elegant wine with strawberry, raspberry, and peppery spice flavors and a lush texture, with Creative Catering’s melt-in-your mouth dark chocolate raspberry truffle. To die for!
The other pairing option is to match directly opposite characteristics of the wine with the food. Essenmacher chose her delectable mini chocolate chili cupcake topped with a chocolate chili ganache with Foucher’s choice of Santa Digna Torres Vina Esmeralda 2009. This off-dry wine has a strong floral aroma with delicate flavors of white peaches, melon, apricots and ginger spice. The combination with the chili kick of the cupcake caused explosions of joy in my mouth.
Other pairings included the Gruet Sparkling Brut-Rosé with a chocolate covered strawberry; Darby & Joan Cabernet 2008 with chocolate-covered espresso bean hearts; McManis Zinfandel 2008 with a chocolate mousse shot; and Viho Madeira with a chocolate hazelnut torte square.
I’d say that Essenmacher has proven whoever ‘they’ are wrong. I think back to the afternoon and it brings a sweet smile to my face. Well done, Slow Foods, on yet another fantastic event showcasing what Tucson’s finest have to offer.