As we entered the Hotel New Yorker to attend the Big Chocolate show, we couldn’t help singing: “Come with me, and you’ll be in a world of pure imagination. Take a look, and you’ll see into your imagination” After all, who could forget Gene Wilder in his role as Willy Wonka as he took us all on a tour of the most wonderful candy factory in the world.
This last weekend at the Hotel New Yorker, children young and young at heart experienced something similar at The Big Chocolate Show.
The hotel’s ballroom and mezzanine hosted about 50 different chocolate and related vendors, most of which were sampling their wares.
These ranged from Long Island-based Chocology Unlimited’s amazing chocolate fudge and candies, to beautiful chocolate creations from Philadelphia’s John & Kira’s and the international luxury chocolate maker MarieBelle, to organic chocolate with a social responsibility bent from Tony’s Chocolonely.
Over 21 Lounge:
Those who were over 21 could visit the lounge on the mezzanine level of the hotel ballroom featuring flavored craft spirits with a couple of producers showing their wares and offering tastings.
Of particular note was Colorado-based Montanya Distillers rums and some amazing cocktails by The Cocktail Guru featuring Zyr Russian Vodka.
Taking a break from the exhibitors, we watched Chef Kathryn Gordon create a Krispy chocolate-cherry nougat with Guittard Chocolates.
The Advice Sisters Reviewed Chef Gordon’s Book Les Petite Sweets in our 2016 Holiday Gift Book Guide.
This was just one of many free demonstrations offered during the show, The audience was rewarded with samples, wrapped to go!
While all of the chocolate was fun, the Advice Sisters were at the Big Chocolate Show to also attend a wine and chocolate pairing seminar. The Big Chocolate Show offers these extra seminars at a nominal fee.
If you are planning to go to the Big Chocolate Show next year, buy your tickets early as some of these seminars sell out quickly.
Tasting With With Chocolate:
This tasting featured four wines paired with similar dark chocolates ranging from 55 percent cocoa to 72 percent. The goal was to show what does and does not work with chocolate rather than to recommend specific pairings.
The wines that were used were an Italian Asti Moscato, a Willamette Valley Pinot Noir, a Catalonian Tempranillo blend, and an aged Sherry.
The Moscato was fruity, with a nose fragrant with honey but also featuring peach and grassy notes.
On the palate honeysuckle was dominant. The sweet wine paired very well with all of the different chocolates, though at higher levels of cocoa, the wine added a wonderful sweet balance.
The Pinot Noir was also fruity with a lot of berry notes. However, the acid in the wine competed with the milk fats in the chocolate. None of the chocolates really paired with this cold weather Pinot Noir.
Though only a table wine, the Tempranillo was fairly complex, with a palate featuring dark fruits and chocolate notes.
While the wine was well structured, the more milky chocolates accentuated the tannins, the higher percentage chocolates balanced well, bringing out chocolaty notes in the wine.
A Sherry That Wowed Us:
The final pairing wine was a 1986 Sherry (we were told the large bottles were $600). This dark brown wine had a cocoa and raisin nose, and a palate that was spicy up front mellowing to a cocoa and licorice finish.
Going into the tasing, we would have thought that this would be the only wine that would pair well with chocolate, and while other wines did work, our notes on this pairing were simply – Wow!
At a low cocoa percentage, chocolate dominated, but at higher levels, the spicy notes in the wine were accentuated. Really dark chocolate (72 percent) actually paired the least well here, as the chocolate actually overwhelmed the wine.
The Big Chocolate Show really showed us that there is a wonderful world of chocolate available to consumers, and pairing them with wine is truly a world of pure imagination.
While it was fun to see and taste all the chocolate, we learned more about chocolate than we imagined.
This was just the 3rd year of the show, and from what we experienced, we are pretty sure that the 4th annual show will be amazing.
Bring the kids and watch them call you a “hero.” We saw plenty of children at the demonstrations. Only adults can attend the wine and liquor tastings and seminars.
If you want to go next year, for more on the Big Chocolate Show visit: http://bigchocolateshow.com/
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Thanks to the Advicesisters Wine & Spirits Editor John Dunham for his help with this story.