The 2012 New Jersey Wine and Food Festival at the luxurious Grand Cascades Lodge at Crystal Springs Resort in Hamburg, NJ was - even on a cloudy rainy day - a fabulous event.
There is much to share about the festival, and we will get to that, but let me start with perhaps the best, a Wine and Chocolate pairing entitled "Terroir in Chocolate & Wine."
Presented by the knowledgeable Lisa Petrucco of world renowned French chocolatier Valrhona and savvy Alex Guarachi of the fine international wine importer TGIC; along with, from the prestigious restaurant The Modern in NYC, famous pastry chef Marc Aumont and appluaded wine director Ehren Ashkenazi.
I love chocolate and I love wine but have never had the real opportunity to explore them together so intensely.
We tasted a fabulous array of chocolate from Valrhona's distinctive line and many made by Marc Aumont.
The wines included three straight up reds, a Merlot from Santa Ema vineyard in Chile, a Syrah by Pascual Toso and a Malbec from Kaiken vineyards of Argentina. It is remarkable how the combined flavors excite and satisfy the palate.
We also paired with sweet white wines, a late harvest Chardonnay by Norton Vineyards and a late harvest Gewurztraminer from Montes of Chile.
Marc and Ehren's impassioned dialogue helped us explore the chocolates and wines and how they changed and transformed in a delicate dance as we savored them that delighted us all.
Wine and Chocolate pairing is a fun adventure that you will enjoy. Suggestions can be found here: Wine and Chocolate Pairings from Valrhona. You might also like to taste some of Marc Aumont fabulous desserts at The Modern's Bar Dessert Menu. As you correctly imagine The Modern has an amazing Wine List