Our family has certain holiday food traditions which begin as soon as December does. (One certain family member is so opposed to what's called "holiday creep" that we are strictly forbidden from humming even one note of "Jingle Bells" before Thanksgiving, as well.) There's a snack mix we call "Scrabble" which we only enjoy at Christmastime, and this year I think it took six batches for us to make it through!
Another December treat is chocolate truffles. For the month, we fill goblets with these festively-wrapped chocolates and put the goblets strategically around our shared living space. They are so rich and decadent that eating one takes me on an actual short vacation. Most of the truffles are also combinations of flavors: dark chocolate and raspberry, white chocolate and cappuccino.
Pairing wine with chocolates is a favorite past-time, and through the years Allegro has enjoyed many opportunities to share various wine and chocolate combinations with friends and customers. There are many reasons why wine and chocolate can work so well together: both can bring elements of bitterness, of sweetness, of fruit, of decadence on the tongue.
A few favorites from our current line-ups:
-White chocolate/citrus with Viognier
-Dark chocolate/raspberry with Merlot (a real classic!)
-Dark chocolate/orange with Salsa
-Pretty much any chocolate with Forté
Another sweet pairing has been Carl (and his wines) with our favorite regional chocolatier: Frederic Loraschi. Steeped in French chocolate-making traditions and based in Harrisburg, PA, Frederic makes exquisite chocolate collections which we enjoy sharing with employees and friends. The chocolates (sourced from single origins around the world) could not be more elegant, perfectly crafted. Opening the gold chocolate collection box feels like unwrapping eight presents, all at once.
Cheers to the tastes of this special season, and to pairings greater (and more delicious) than the sum of their parts!
Port in a Storm
Yeah, it's my one fortified wine pun, but it's also my favorite way to toast to the first and/or largest snowstorms each winter. So when the flakes of this afternoon's nor'easter started falling in earnest, of course I knew what to do: break out the Allegro Forté, wrap myself in a cozy blanket, and sit by the window to watch the cardinals and chickadees darting through the dancing snowflakes.
Even before the first sip, ruby-style ports delight me. Their rich red color and viscosity are notable. Then that sip: decadent raspberry fruit melting away into sweetness on the tongue, with the warmth from the alcohol (the wine, fortified by spirits, has an ABV of 20%) chasing the flavor to my core. One single sip can turn an ordinary moment into a special one, just like a sky and field full of snow.
Cheers to comfort, to joy, and to the special moments of this season!