Hosting a Wine & Chocolate Pairing Party is a fun and delicious excuse to spend quality face-to-face time with friends and family.
One thing you may not know about me is that I’ve been planning, hosting and throwing parties since I was 4 years old. Growing up, I was always the party planner in my group of friends.
For as long as I can remember, my mom has always let me take over hosting duties when it comes to family gatherings. In fact, I love parties so much so that I ended up getting a bachelor degree in Hospitality Administration.
Needless to say, it doesn’t take much to get me in a dress and a pair of heels so I was over the moon when my friends at Lindt and J. Lohr asked me to host a Wine & Chocolate Pairing Party. As a mother of two young children under the age of 3, I have not been hosting nearly as many parties as I used to so I couldn’t wait to invite my closest girlfriends and family members over for a little vino and dark chocolate.
You’ve probably been to a wine and cheese party before but have you ever thought to pair wine with chocolate? I’ll admit, this was my first time doing a formal wine and chocolate tasting and I can’t tell you enough how eye-opening it was to the delicious possibilities.
That doesn’t mean I didn’t take full advantage of the opportunity to make a giant cheese platter for my girls. I mean let’s be real, cheese is always welcome to any party.
As you can tell, I took this job very seriously. Throughout the evening we sampled five different J. Lohr wines with five different types of Lindt EXCELLENCE dark chocolates as follows:
Lindt EXCELLENCE Pineapple paired with J. Lohr Estates Riverstone Chardonnay: Bright aromas of apples, pears and lemons in this rich, well-balanced Chardonnay pair perfectly with the naturally sweet pineapple and roasted hazelnut pieces in the EXCELLENCE Pineapple bar, providing a delightful finish of caramel and cream. EXCELLENCE Pineapple, masterfully made to pair perfectly with Chardonnay, provides the perfect pairing for lovers of both Chardonnay and dark chocolate.
Lindt EXCELLENCE Intense Orange paired with J. Lohr Estates Bay Mist White Riesling: Enticing notes of lychee, pear and orange are present in this bright and luscious wine. It is the ideal match for the sweet citrus profile and equally complex EXCELLENCE Intense Orange. Full fruit flavors and a balanced seam of refreshing acidity work in harmony to create perfection!
Lindt EXCELLENCE Sea Salt paired with J. Lohr Estates Falcon’s Perch Pinot Noir: The fresh ripe berries in this wine are accompanied by a touch of earth and brown sugar that complement the sharpness of the Fleur de Sel and sweet cacao characteristics of EXCELLENCE A Touch of Sea Salt. Together they invoke flavors reminiscent of fresh cream, butter and finish with a pleasant tanginess.
Lindt EXCELLENCE Chili paired with J. Lohr Estates South Ridge Syrah: This is an elegant red wine with deep, rich fruit aromas and flavors of pomegranate, blueberry and prune with a spicy finish. Experience it with EXCELLENCE Chili, a fine aromatic sweet dark chocolate perfumed with premium red chili. Enjoyed together they create spicy warmth that bursts onto the palate.
Lindt EXCELLENCE 70% Cocoa paired with J. Lohr Estates Seven Oaks Cabernet Sauvignon: Ripe aromas of blueberry and black plum meld with a bouquet of chocolate and hazelnut in this superb wine. Pair it with the balanced and rich EXCELLENCE 70% Cocoa, which features notes of tobacco, leather and roasted nuts. They are a match in both depth and body and finish with a creaminess that coats the palate.
The verdict? The first place winner was almost unanimous: we all LOVED Lindt EXCELLENCE Sea Salt paired with J. Lohr Estates Falcon’s Perch Pinot Noir. A close runner up was Lindt EXCELLENCE Pineapple paired with J. Lohr Estates Riverstone Chardonnay. I don’t think any of us expected to like the pineapple flavor as much as we did. It was a clean, natural taste and not cloyingly sweet or over-powering.
Disclosure: Lindt and J. Lohr have compensated me for my time to host this party. Thank you for supporting the brands that make The Lemon Bowl possible. As always, all thoughts are 100% my own.