Sunday, January 13, 2013

Chocolate and Wine Party!

By Madeleine Dee

Looking for a fun excuse to invite your girlfriends over?

Have a Chocolate and Wine Party! :)

I had one this past weekend.

Here's what to do:

1. Invite your ladies! (6-8 is a great number) 

Ask each gal to bring a different type of wine and/or a funky chocolate bar. I told my guests to feel free to cap their spending at $10, and some ladies brought a homemade snack or another type of candy instead of wine.

If you want to assign different types of wine and chocolate to each girl, that is fine. However, it's neat to see the exciting and unique choices that each lady will make based on her own taste! 

Ask your guests to claim what they plan to bring in order to
 prevent everyone showing up with red wine and dark chocolate!
(Facebook, Twitter, e-mail, and Google+ are great 
places to create a group for this.)

Not every lady needs to bring a bottle of wine (unless you want to have a PARRRRTY), but be sure everyone brings chocolate!

2. On the day of the party, pick up some cheese (I found some with a Merlot rind), great bread, and a raw vegetable platter or two. Be sure to have another option for any non-wine drinkers, like juice, lemonade, or soda.

I picked up 5 of the quirkiest chocolate bars I could find and some crystallized fruit, then laid it out on a pretty cloth. As each of my guests arrived, I clipped off the label from each bar and laid out the chocolate in a pretty display. 

As you chat and perhaps watch a film (we watched Chocolat), you ladies can casually sample the wine and the chocolate at your own pace.

Here's a list of the neato bars we managed to collect:

Milk chocolate with Indian sweet curry and sea salt
Dark chocolate with crystallized ginger
Milk chocolate with coconut crisps
Dark chocolate with dried strawberry and sea salt
Dark chocolate with pear and almonds
Dark chocolate with hot chili
Vanilla bean white chocolate
Dark chocolate with marzipan
Dark chocolate with lemon and black pepper
Milk and dark chocolate coins
White chocolate shells filled with dark chocolate mousse

3. If you don't know that certain pairings will work, be prepared for some "interesting" taste combinations. To help prevent ruined chocolate, eat it BEFORE you drink the wine. That way, if something tastes bad, it will be the wine. :)

Chocolate and wine can be difficult to pair, 
but here are two partnerships that really worked well at my party:

+ Dry, citrusy, crisp Riesling 
w/ vanilla bean white chocolate and milk chocolate with coconut 

+ A red, robust, spicy Zinfandel with berry notes went well 
with raspberry and strawberry dark chocolates

One tip is to make sure that there are similar undertones in both the chocolate and the wine. For example, an especially fruity red wine with notes of cherry or raspberry will typically go well with a dark chocolate laced with bits of the same fruit.

4. At the end of the evening, I sent each lady home with a take-out box filled with a delicious assortment of the uneaten chocolate! 

Any leftover wine can be used for cooking or go towards a romantic evening with your handsome guy. That will make up for him not being allowed to attend your party. Hopefully. :)

Friends are important and life is short. 
Now you have an excuse to throw a party!

Have fun. :)

About Me

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Executive Chef and Owner of No Place Like Home in Louisville, KY. Writer, actress, chef, professional cook and professional eater.