It’s no secret that Chicago-based Blommer Chocolate Co. has a history of pairing its chocolate with wine. During the past ten years, the company has hosted tastings at Retail Confectioners International gatherings in Hershey, Pa., and San Francisco, presentations at the American Association of Candy Technologists’ and PMCA dinners, even a Georgetown University alumni gathering in Washington, D.C.
The company’s most recent pairing — held at this year’s Sweets & Snacks Expo — aims at introducing chocolatiers to the nuances of fine-flavor chocolates, which are enhanced when paired with complementary wines.
Rose Potts, the corporate manager of sensory and product guidance for Blommer Chocolate, has conducted many of these pairings. In doing so, she underscores the importance of qualifying the experiences to better enjoy the tasting.
For example, when it comes to chocolate, the company uses both a chocolate wheel of flavor as well as a flavor intensity scale (see chart). The wheel of flavor features 12 primary descriptors: Fruity; oxidized; dairy; vegetable; cacao intensity; roast; nutty spicy; floral; caramel, earthy and chemical.
Those primary categories are then further subdivided into specific descriptors. Under the fruity designation, there’s citrus, red berry, tropical fruit, brown fruit and artificial fruit. Those also undergo another division. Again, under the brown fruit subcategory, there are descriptors such as raisins, figs and tobacco.
Specificity helps when trying to quantify such a subjective science as taste.
Of course, not only does one have to describe the flavor note, but its intensity as well. Here, Potts relies on a flavor intensity scale developed by the company. The rankings break down intensities into numbers, enabling chocolate makers and chocolatiers to formulate accordingly. It’s all about delivering a nuance or a knockout.
This pairing brings together three different wines with three different chocolates. In each case, the wines and chocolates work together in bringing out descriptors and intensity levels. Enjoy.