Skip to main content

Brandy + Chocolate Pairing by Sunset

After my brandy distillation lesson, courtesy of Owen at Osocalis, I swapped the planned whiskey-chocolate pairing for a brandy-chocolate pairing at last night's gathering. As the sun was about to dip below the horizon, we toasted and tasted three different brandies paired with three different chocolates.

Click here to read about my serious-starting-at-zero experience with brandy; I penned a piece for Edible Monterey Bay about the Monterey Wine Festival last week.

Brandy, in case you are as unfamiliar with it as I was, is a distilled wine and short for “brandywine.” Distilled wine means that it's heated and concentrated for a more potent libation.

Cognac is a variety of brandy produced in the area around the French town of Cognac. Like Champagne, unless it's from Champagne, the town, it has to be called 'sparkling wine' or 'Champagne-style.'

And Calvados, sometimes abbreviated to Calva, is an apple brandy from the French region of Lower Normandy (Basse-Normandie).

Since I wasn't able to get to Soquel to pick up any Osocalis, I made due with what I could find around town. And we found a hit...or two. With our differing palates, we liked different brandies. Here's what we tried...

We started with an E&J Brandy whose founders, Ernest and Julio Gallo, sold their first brandy under the "Cream of California" label in 1938, following in the footsteps of the Spanish missions who had made brandy in California as far back as the late 18th century. As a California-style brandy this was lighter in flavor and mouthfeel than its European counterparts; we paired that with some chocolate covered fruit.

Then we moved to a Cognac that we paired with some dark chocolate, cocoa-covered almonds. This was the favorite for a few - smoother and more complex. The Calvados was intriguing and my personal favorite. That I served with a dark chocolate-sea salt-caramel bar or a dark chocolate-toffee-walnut bar.

The pairings bar was a hit. Now I just need to think of something else for for our next gathering.


Popular posts from this blog

Caulibits Crni Rižoto (Croatian Black "Risotto") #Whole30

Last week, I participated in the Wine Pairing Weekend event 'New Year, New Wine." I paired Crni Rižoto with Dingac Vinarija’s Pelješac...and you can read my post: here . I was pouring a Croatian wine and decided to make a traditional Croatian dish. Every seafood restaurant in Croatia has a  Crni Rižoto  (black risotto) on its menu.  Crni Rižoto  is risotto dyed black with squid ink; I used cuttlefish ink for the same effect. However, since arborio rice is not Whole30 compliant, I made a version for myself that used caulibits instead of rice. Ingredients 1 C fish stock (or a combination of fish stock and vegetable stock) 1 T olive oil 1 medium shallots, peeled and minced 1 cloves garlic, crushed and minced 1/4 lb shrimp 1/4 lb squid tubes, cleaned and sliced into rings 1/4 lb scallops 1/4 lb clams, scrubbed 1/4 lb mussels, scrubbed 4 C caulibits, or chopped cauliflower 1 T fresh parsley, minced juice and zest from 1 organic lemon 1 t cuttlefish ink

Meyer Lemon Custard-Filled Matcha Turtles #BreadBakers

#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. You can see all our of lovely bread by following our  Pinterest board  right here. Links are also updated after each event on the  Bread Bakers home page .  We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient. This month Stacy of Food Lust People Love  is hosting and she wrote: "Your bread can be large, as in one big animal, or small - animal-shaped rolls. Use your imagination! Points for flavor and shape!" If you are a food blogger and would like to join us, just send an email with your blog URL to Stacy at Here's the animal-shaped bread basket from the #BreadBakers... Beef and Sweet Onion Dim Sum Pandas from Karen's Kitchen Stories Bird Bread Rolls from Ambrosia Easter Bunny Buns from Cook with Renu Ham and Cheese Elephant Rolls from Food Lust People Love Hedgehog Bread from Making Mir

Connecticut Lobster Rolls, Canned Lobster Bisque, and a 2019 Henry Fessy 'Maître Bonhome' Viré-Clessé #Winophiles

This month the French Winophiles group is looking at affordable wines from Burgundy.  Host Cindy of Grape Experiences wrote: "Burgundy, or Bourgogne, is known for its wines of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir... as well as Aligote, Gamay, Sauvignon, César, Pinot Beurot, Sacy, Melon in lesser quantities. Many of the well-known wines are quite expensive, but there are plenty of values to be found." Read her invitation here. And there won't be a Twitter chat for this event, so you will have to dive into the articles themselves to read about our pairings and findings. Here's the line-up... Wendy Klik from A Day in the Life on the Farm enjoys Domaine Chevillon Chezeaux Bourgogne Hautes Cotes de Nuits, 2018 Paired with a Maple Pecan Chicken . Camilla Mann from Culinary Adventures with Camilla shares her love of Connecticut Lobster Rolls, Canned Lobster Bisque, and a 2019 Henry Fessy 'Maître Bonhome' Viré-Clessé. Jeff Burrows of FoodWineClick! explains why we should Look t