Sunday, May 19, 2013

Day 7 - Wine and Chocolate Pairing

I have never been to a wine and chocolate pairing event. As luck would have it, the opportunity to attend such an event came my way this afternoon. After hearing about my "I have never..." idea, a friend of ours, Erin, let Rachael know she had tickets to attend a wine and chocolate pairing event.  The event included three of Erin's friends we had never had the chance to meet at a winery I had never been to in a town I had never visited.  That's a lot of new experiences, so I hopped on board for the pairing event at Northleaf Winery and we headed down to the small town of Milton, Wisconsin. How could I resist?  The event involved wine, after all...

We started the experience with a light lunch at the Northleaf Bistro, which included a surprise bonus "I have never..." of Sprecher beer kettle potato chips (one word... delicious). We chatted for awhile over our meal, sipping our drinks and nibbling at our food between words. Although we had not met the majority of the people in attendance until the day of the event, our conversations were full, the laughs were frequent, and our common interests were obvious. With anticipation, our group wrapped up our meal and proceeded across the property to the winery. We entered the building and found a table already set for our tasting. A small plate with five colorful, handmade chocolates in unique designs greeted us as we sat at each of our chairs.  Without hesitation, we geared up and waited for the event to begin.

A few minutes later an employee of the winery came to our table and began pouring a light white wine as she walked us through the outline of the tasting and the reason for each pairing. She was quick to explain the technique necessary to make sure we got the most out of the experience, stating concisely, "Sip the wine, eat the chocolate, then finish the glass."  They were easy rules to follow and the last one certainly appealed to me. I rubbed my hands together in anticipation as the employee finished her explanation and filled my glass.  First up, white chocolate covered pineapple and a wine that was new to me, Gewurztraminer.  The wine was decent, but it came to life when I took a bite of the chocolate. My final drink of the first wine had flavor that was much more pronounced and sustained. It was good. Not melt your face off good, but good.

When the winery employee returned with the next wine on our list she explained how the flavor of next chocolate, a key lime flavored chocolate covered almond, would highlight the Muscato being poured in our glasses.  She told us the chocolate itself would be great, but the wine would bring the key lime flavor to a peak. She wasn't wrong. The pattern continued with a Blush and blended raspberry chocolate disc, a Cabernet/Syrah blend and a chocolate and carmel covered almond, and a raspberry sweetened Pinot Noir and a lemon flavored chocolate blended blended with shortcake pieces. The wine alone was decent, but the chocolates were amazing.  After wrapping up our final samples of wine, our crew parted ways and headed back home.  The cloud speckled skies and sunshine provided us company on our ride back to Madison, which proved a great way to cap off another day of new events.

The crew.
Today was filled with several new experiences, some terrific new people, and some nice Wisconsin-made food and wine. I couldn't think of a way to spend a Sunday afternoon as beautiful as today. As the first week of my "I have never..." goal comes to a close, I feel more excited about what is yet to come; more so than I did even a week ago. Based on the first seven experiences I have had in my journey, this is stacking up to be quite an amazing little experiment.  Tomorrow's a new day with a new experience!  Here's to hoping I can keep the momentum going!


  1. Sweet. Keep it going bro-ski. I'm always impressed people can taste differences in wines and chocolates and pairings. The subtle differences allude me.

    I mentioned you in my post as well...since I'm documenting my trip.


    1. Thanks for the linky, Adam! It was good to see how things are going on the trip. Keep pressing those limits! It's the only way to make sure you get the most out of each new experience!

  2. I'm putting this on our "Must Visit" list :)

    1. The chocolates alone make the trip worth it! It was the perfect way to spend a summer afternoon. :)

  3. Your 'I have never...' journey is very inspiring, Caleb! As a matter of fact, I have been making mental notes of new things to try as I type this. XD Anyway, what was your favorite chocolate-wine pair? There are practically no rules, so this can be a great activity for your self-discovery. Corey@Colonial Spirits