Chocs away in the hills

Sweet tooth ... ChocoVino coordinator Grant Coates.
Sweet tooth ... ChocoVino coordinator Grant Coates. 

 

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Forget cheese, there's another great accompaniment for wine, writes Kate Jordan-Moore.

As with wine, the most exciting development in the world of gourmet chocolate is the rise of single-origin chocolate. This chocolate style is produced from cacao beans grown in a specific area, either a country, region or single plantation.

Comparing some of these special chocolates is the focus of a new tasting experience, ChocoVino at Hahndorf Hill Winery, in the beautiful Hans Heysen country of the Adelaide Hills. The winery has created a series of tastings that pair its single-estate wines with single-estate chocolates. Some of the world's most prestigious chocolate houses are on the menu: Amedei, Pralus, Dolfin, Valrhona and Adelaide's much loved Haighs.

The coordinator of ChocoVino, Grant Coates, recommends starting with the Discover Chocolate tasting, which begins with a roasted cacao bean. It's not to everyone's liking but its fragrance, texture and flavour set the scene for understanding the creation of good eating chocolate.

Sitting in the room overlooking vineyards and rolling hills, guests have water for refreshing the palate and a cool marble block with knife for sharing (or defending) their chocolate. Each course comes with excellent tasting notes and Coates answers questions and shares his knowledge. Single-estate chocolate includes Amedei's Chuao - regarded as the world's most exclusive chocolate - made of beans from the remote Chuao region in Venezuela.

The Purely Chocolate tasting includes the artistic creations of Adelaide's artisan chocolatier, Steven ter Horst, while the Relax and Enjoy series sees visitors choose their favourite wines style, and taste a series of matching flavoured chocolates. Pinot grigio seems to marry well with the Belgian chocolate infused with Earl Grey tea flavours, while rosé´ sings alongside Belgian chocolate infused with white pepper and cardamom.

ChocoVino experiences range from $20 a person for wine and chocolate matches and the $10 Purely Chocolate tastings. For those who don't like chocolate, there is an excellent savoury tasting plate.

The writer was a guest of the South Australian Tourism Commission.

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