Flashback: Australia wine and chocolate

My mother-in-law recently returned from G’Day USA – an event that brings influencers from Australia together with influencers from the USA to continue to build a relationship between the two countries. There are speakers from business, tourism, academia, and other areas to strengthen economic and political ties. I have to admit I really miss events like these since I left the travel industry, but I still got a goodie out of it all.

Margaret River Valley

This beautiful Hazelnut chocolate bar from the Margaret River Valley in Australia made it’s way to me – thank you Rhonda! It was so delicious and reminded me of a little wine and chocolate pairing I took part in during a trip to Australia’s Adelaide Hills wine region a few years back.

I love chocolate and always have, but my palate has evolved from the M&Ms I ate as a kid to single source and gourmet dark chocolate bars. I’ve eaten a lot of chocolate so I figured I know what it tastes like and how to truly enjoy it . . . I was so wrong! The ChocoVino Experience at South Australia’s Hahndorf Hills Winery set me straight and provided a soothing and wonderful experience.

This isn’t your do it yourself chocolate and wine indulgence. They don’t just pick up a Hershey bar (or a Cadbury since we’re in Australia) and throw it on the plate with a glass of wine. This is an experience that takes months to build and has to be redesigned every year when the new wine blends come out to create the ultimate tasting pairings. Before you even pick your wines the chocolate has been vetted by the trained staff to create the specific pairing. Trained by the experts in this type of tasting, staff from South Africa’s Waterford Estates, the crew at Hahndorf Hills spends six months training on chocolate prior to even tasting anything. Then they spend several weeks tasting one to two wines per week with around twenty chocolates. After voting and eliminating pairings only eight to ten will make it on the final menu.

Wine and chocolate

Some of the most exclusive chocolates in the world are on this menu – Chuao, Dolfin, Valrhona single- origin. These aren’t chocolates you just scarf down which is why they go perfectly with this relaxed and unhurried experience. You will experience chocolate in a whole new way as you use all five senses to enjoy the full range of flavors.

See the different colors of each chocolate. Listen to the snap as you break off a piece with your teeth. Feel the texture on your tongue as you move it around your mouth. Taste the flavors as the components of the chocolate melt apart. Smell the chocolate and the wine as you sip each pairing.

Chocolate then wine. Wine then chocolate. Each creates a completely different flavor, but how when it is the same wine and chocolate?!? I guess I’ll just have to keep coming back to try all the new flavors 🙂


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