In Pursuit of a Joyful Pairing, by Sasha McCauley

Sometimes finding the perfect pairing requires a little work, and help from a friend.  Here is the story of my search for the perfect pairing for the Lemonade Truffle.

My first reaction when reading the truffles for the Picnic Basket Collection, Summer 2016  was: Lemonade Truffle!  Bourbon!  I love lemonade and Bourbon…sitting on the porch on a summer’s day with a tall cool glass of thirst quenching boozy lemonade.  For me, a good pairing should touch something in your memory, make you think of something, create a new memory.  So when I saw that Lemonade was a truffle flavour, my thoughts went straight to bourbon, and I went off in pursuit of the truffles to try it out.

Lemonade: Refreshing lemon in a silky white chocolate ganache.

Bourbon in glass, truffle on a plate, here I go…

Alas, the bourbon wasn’t an ideal pairing.  The strength of the spirit overpowered the delicate lemon profile and the silkiness of the white chocolate ganache was lost in the sweet oak of the bourbon.

So, what is next?

I ran through the flavours of the truffle, the weight of the ganache, and the texture of the chocolate on one’s taste buds.  I started running through a mental list of wines and their characteristics to find a match.  I wanted a wine with citrus notes (to echo the lemon); one with weight and a richer palate feel to balance the truffle, ending with a fresh, clean acidity.  I landed on Albarino.  A white grape from Spain which is aromatic, medium weight and neither too acidic nor too flabby.

I hate to admit, it was not the pairing I was looking for either, although the bottle was very enjoyable on a sweltering summer evening.

The next night, I’m drinking a lovely Blanquette De Limoux  while making dinner, and it occurs to me that this might work with the Lemonade Truffle.   Deciding dinner and my hard working, starving husband and dog can wait, I decide to test if this pairing is the one.

And… it was okay.  Just okay.  Pleasant in a non-offensive, but didn’t bring me joy, kinda’ way.  The sparkling wine picked up the citrus notes and the bubbles added weight and freshness, but the wine became dry with the sweetness of the truffles.  A pairing needs to make both parts better not just one and this pairing worked for the chocolate but not for the wine.

It was time to hash it out with a fellow wine person and so off I went to see the fabulous Juanita at Colour de Vino.  Juanita and I tossed around ideas: bubbles, Riesling, fortified, Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay.  I left with a few bottles of wine, some even for pairing testing.

With Juanita’s input, I brought home a bottle of Chai du Grand Vaudasniere Vouvray, a demi-sec Chenin Blanc from the Loire Valley.  Chenin Blanc is a versatile white grape that can be sweet or dry, sparkling or still.  Grown around the world, its most famous producers are from the Loire Valley in France.  Chai du Grand Vaudasniere Vouvray is an off dry (Demi-sec means semi-sweet) wine with citrus, nectarine, apple and orange blossom notes, the wine is not too acidic with great mouth weight.  The sweetness in the wine balances with sweetness of the chocolate, both have refreshing citrus notes and have a silky texture that complement each other.

Delicious!  This is the pairing that was eluding me.

Bring a bottle of Chai du Grand Vaudasniere Vouvray on your next picnic along with some JACEK chocolates for an enjoyable time.

Yours in Wine,

Sasha, The Fairy Booze Mother

JACEK Chocolate is available at their boutiques in Edmonton & Sherwood Park.

Chai du Grand Vaudasniere Vouvray is available at Colour de Vino and DeVine Wines and Spirits, as well you can search on liquorconnect.com for a store in Alberta near you that carries the wine.

To book a Chocolate & Wine Pairing event, or to read more from Sasha, visit ASmashingLife.com