When the right wine is paired with the right chocolate, it can be a match made in heaven. An extraordinary evening spent with Nam Lee Cheong Wine Shop was an eye opener for me as I explored the fine art of sweet chocolate and savory wine pairing at ROYCE' outlet in Ben's Independent Grocer, Publika.
Mr. Leong Keng Mun, Managing Director of Nam Lee Cheong, explained the complex art to us in a simple manner. Speaking of the wine we were going to try, they were exclusively imported from Australia and Chile. In fact, NLC imports premium wine from Australia, Italy, Argentina, Chile, Spain, Portugal, New Zealand, South Africa, China, Korea and France since 1946. The complete wine catalogue is available at www.wineshop.com.my.
As for the chocolate, the premium Japanese chocolatier ROYCE' has carefully selected 6 different grades of dark and milk chocolate varieties, all so uniquely rich in aromas, flavours and textures to complement the wine.
At ROYCE, I have also spotted a cute Christmas gift set, which I think I'd come back to get it anytime soon!
There we learned how to expertly pair chocolate with wine to create new and unique tastes that provide ultimate satisfaction to chocolate connoisseurs and wine aficionados.
R Chocolat (Milk Cocoa) x Warburn Estate Gossips Sweet Lips Moscato
As a palate starter, it is always best to keep the wine sweeter than the chocolate to create a harmony flavour. We began with the Australian Gossips Sweet Lips Moscato (RM49.00) , a full luscious wine with a good balance of sweetness and acidity. Rosy scented with hints of musk, the wine tasted sweet in the mouth and finished with a touch of apricot on the end of the palate.
Paired with the creamy milk chocolate, R Chocolat, every bite of cookie crunch and milky cacao cream beautifully enhanced the flavours of ripe jammy fruits in the wine.
Bar Chocolate (Creamy Milk) x Warburn Estate Rumours Pink Moscato
The vivid rose pink white wine from Australia, Pink Moscato (RM49.00) was my personal favourite as it exuded a beautiful scent of freshly harvested strawberries. Hints of cherry with flavours of strawberry in the palate and finishing with light spritz became wonderfully gentle and sweet when paired with the milky bar chocolate. It was in fact the crowd's favourite during the evening.
The Bar Chocolate is not only ROYCE' very first chocolate produced, but also an all-time favourite among those who have a sweet tooth. Beautifully crafted into a smooth texture, it was abundant with the full richness and creaminess of Hokkaido milk and fragrant milk chocolate.
Nama Chocolate (Mild Cacao) x Montes Late Harvest
Next up was the Montes Late Harvest (RM76.00) originated from Chile, which was used to pair with the remaining 3 types of chocolate. This fine blend of Gewurztraminer and Riesling gives a deeply ripe tropical fruit aroma of golden berries, lychee and white flowers accompanied by hints of honey and apricot. It is one of the more full-bodied dessert wine that is best paired with stronger flavoured chocolate.
Among the 6 varieties, ROYCE Nama Chocolate tops my list of favourites because of its velvety smooth ganache texture with an extremely high moisture content. The delicate chocolate is rich, abundantly filled with fresh cream and a hint of cacao essence.
With the chocolate melting in the mouth, I found the cocoa flavour intensified on the palate with the wine, finished by a sweet bitter flavour of dry mandarin orange peel.
Bar Chocolate (Black) x Montes Late Harvest
For those are more adventurous, you'd love the light-hearted Black Bar Chocolate. It bitter sweetness brought up the honey flavour of the wine, coupled with an enhanced cocoa flavour. It finished the palate with a smokey toast that made my experience even more unforgettable.
Pure Chocolate (Mild Bitter) x Montes Late Harvest
Dark chocolates with higher cacao mark need a wine that offers a roasted, slightly robust flavor itself, with a hint of its own pure chocolate notes. That makes ROYCE Bitter Pure Chocolate and Montes Late Harvest a perfect match, resulting in an unparalleled tasting combination.
Pure Chocolate (Extra Bitter) x Montes Late Harvest
To my surprise, the Extra Bitter Pure Chocolate with 90% cacao composition was not as bitter as I'd expect. Nevertheless, the sweetness of the wine managed to blend harmoniously with the natural bitterness in the chocolate.
Despite of my numerous experiences of wine pairing with desserts, this is my first time pairing with chocolate and I absolutely love it! *Tips for guys* I think it'd be a memorable experience for girls if you bring her to a wine and chocolate appreciation session =)
ROYCE' outlets in Malaysia are located in Isetan KLCC, Bangsar Village, Tropicana City Mall, The Gardens Mall, Ben's Independent Grocer at Publika, Empire Shopping Gallery and Tropicana Golf & Country Resort, as well as available at online e-store (www.royce.com.my) to cater for customers from Klang Valley, Penang, Kedah and Johor.
For more information, please visit Nam Lee Cheong at www.wineshop.com.my,
and ROYCE Malaysia at www.royce.com.my.