Our TOP 3 chocolate and wine matches:
Not only do we support local wine producers in bringing their wines to the people, but where possible, we get behind our fellow West Australians in any capacity that we can. Check out these three local artisanal chocolatiers and chocolate makers:
- Harlequin Chocolates – Nadia Haskell, Margaret River
- Bahen & Co – Josh Bahen, Margaret River
- Sue Lewis Chocolatier – Sue Lewis, Treasury Building Perth
#1: Leeuwin Estate Art Series Shiraz + Harlequin Chocolates Colombian 70% cacao
We spoke to Nadia Haskell, chocolate maker at Harlequin Chocolates, and asked her for her wine and chocolate match. Nadia said, “If I was to match a red wine to chocolate, I would look for the white or pink pepper notes in the chocolates from South America, and search for those in wine. I would go for Leeuwin Art Series Shiraz, paired with a South American chocolate, looking for those pink peppercorn notes to match with the cool climate, elegant shiraz.”
The Leeuwin Estate Art Series Shiraz is made in a refined, sleek style, not at all reminiscent of the Shiraz from South Australia. It is a Rolls Royce of a wine and shows the ripe red fruits, white and pink pepper spice carried along by the rumble of refined tannins and firm structure. Like fresh tyres on new tarmac, this sails noiselessly through to a very long, creamy and lingering finish. Unmissable, and taken to new heights when paired with Nadia’s single-origin Colombian 70% cacao chocolate.
See Nadia’s website for ordering details HERE
#2: Woodlands ‘Margaret’ + Bahen & Co. Almond & Sea Salt
Bahen & Co chocolates are single estate, and both single-origin/ blended chocolates, that show that terroir is just as important in the cocoa world as it is in the wine world. The chocolates have an inherent honesty, texture and grip to them, which we attribute to the tannins from the cocoa beans, and the grinding process.
Josh Bahen controls each step of the chocolate making process, “from bean to bar”, so to complement the fuller body and texture of his chocolates, we are drinking the Woodlands Margaret, Cabernet / Merlot / Malbec. The spicy, complex, textured, and complex ‘Margaret’ showcases everything we love about Wilyabrup cabernet – it has ripe summer raspberries, star anise, freshly turned earth, cassis, freshly cracked black pepper, hints of eucalypt and “a cool, mineral finish”. The ripe fruit characters are foiled by the sea salt in the chocolate, and the toasty spices from the French oak match perfectly with the 70% cacao and almonds.
See Josh’s website for stockists HERE
#3: Amelia Park Cabernet Merlot + Sue Lewis Raspberry Madagascan Dark Chocolate
Sue Lewis creates creamy, expressive single chocolates that can be mix-and-matched into take-home boxes. Just walking into her store in the Treasury Building in Perth takes you back to a time when chocolates were a luxury item, purchased one-by-one. Sue Lewis’ raspberry ganache is made with a sharp and fruity Madagascan dark chocolate, finished with a sprinkling of raspberry powder. The sweetness of the raspberries matches perfectly well with the bright summer raspberry of the Amelia Park Cabernet Merlot. As a young wine, this is so bright and exciting; with age it softens and opens up.
During the winemaking process, the wine is put to barrel using a mixture of aged oak. Only one-third of the barrels are new, which means that the new oak flavours are dialled down, allowing the young fruit to shine through. It is these fruit characters and soft tannin profile (encouraged by the use of Merlot in the blend, and higher component of third-year oak) that we look to match to the raspberry ganache.
See Sue’s website for location and stockists HERE