I am very excited to tell you about our new wine and chocolate tasting that I have just created! I think for the purpose of quality control we should sample the concept. The idea came from a chocolate and wine tasting that I was involved in recently, it’s a hard life. We invited The Chocolatier over to The Clerkenwell Collection and I was so impressed! Having created chocolate for Arabian princes, The Maharaja and Michelin starred restaurants we knew we were in good hands. The wonderful Aneesh and Nina were inspiring and so knowledgeable. Clearly a fantastic team. We were looking for a new, honest and diverse range of chocolatesto pair with our wines; the moment Aneesh opened up his first bag of chocolate we knew we were in for a treat. The range was so varied with all of the chocolates categorised by country, all ethically sourced, organically produced with an array of cocoa content; Bolivia66%, Congo 70%, Peru 75%, Venezuelan 72%, Ecuador 76%, Santa Dominique 70%, Tanzania75%, Mexican66% It was utterly fascinating to compare chocolates in this way, seeing the big and yet sometimes subtle differences in chocolate from certain regions. With similar principles to a vine, the cocoa plant relies heavily on its environment resulting in a range of differences between regions and varieties. With the warmer regions showing signs of richer, fruitier and more mellow tones and whilst cooler areas showed fresher acidity, lighter and more savoury notes. Top tip - In the north of South America the chocolate tends to be more earthy with a much higher level of acidity than in the south. We enjoyed an amazing selection of our Mas Amiel range that worked beautifully and really complimented the different characteristics in all of the chocolates. The match that I will not forget in a hurry was the Congo 70% chocolate and our Mas Amiel 15 year old. The Congo with its beautiful flavours of Morello cherry, tobacco and balanced by a bitter sweet, fresh and almost palate cleansing finish. The Mas Amiel with a wonderful dark and rich complexity with savoury characteristic and a mellow finish. A match made in heaven! Our varied sweet range offered a wonderful balance to the diverse selection of chocolates - you will have to come and sample this to truly understand how. From the fruity and slightly sweet chocolates from Bolivia to the woody and slightly tannic chocolates of Mexico, each one had something unique to offer and each one paired beautifully with a different wine. Out of pure curiosity we also purposefully tried a bad match and it really was dreadful but put into perspective just how good, a really good match was. Pairing a strong, high percentage cocoa content means the chocolate may have a slight bitter character. Matching the smoky and floral Santa Dominique, for me, did not work with the acidity and complexity of the Mas Amiel 15 year old. So, the plan for the experience is to have some of our wonderful sweet and exclusive wines, perfectly paired with a selection of indulgent chocolates. We want this to be available to all chocolate and wine lovers, so we can make it a ‘pop in’ style tasting. Let’s get this out there and give you all the chance to experience something truly decedent with one of our wine experts on hand to explain the wines and chocolate pairing. Let me know when you are free to sample this experience!