Water Of Life Society Tasting 14/7
Whisky and The Chocolate Tree
For the WOLS 7th tasting we teamed up with Alastair Gower from The Chocolate Tree for some fine whisky and chocolate pairings, what better way to celebrate the upcoming Halloween? During this tasting we have put together some exceptionally fine chocolate with some delicious whiskies in an attempt to create something that is greater than the sum of its parts. Here is a little about The Chocolate Tree:
“In December 2009 we opened a classical yet contemporary chocolaterie at 123 Bruntsfield Place, in the boutique shopping district and much loved residential area of Edinburgh. We aim to provide a unique and comfortable atmosphere for you to explore the delights of fine flavour chocolate.
We create exceptional chocolate, whilst connecting our customers with the whole process and origin through authentic transparency. Our products are timeless and visually stunning works of edible art crafted with dedication and passion.
We work in genuine small batches using superior natural ingredients, ethically sourced and organic. We exist to bring you fine flavour chocolate whilst at the same time offering impoverished farmers better profits and preserving biodiversity.”
Our pairings for the evening were:
Paired with: Bean to Bar Ecuador El Ensueño Arriba Milk 55% Coconut Sugar £5.95
A cane sugar free chocolate. Made using coconut blossom sugar, ground with the sabor arriba (higher flavour) cacao of farm ‘El Ensueño’, or ‘The Dream’. A small holding ran by two close friends in the beautiful bio diverse forests of Ecuador.
Comparing the sweet pear notes of the Solera with the unsweetened Coconut ‘Milk’ chocolate and coconut sugars.
Paired with: Bean to Bar Madagascar Sambirano 72% Orange & Pink Salt £5.95
SILVER in the 2013 International Chocolate Awards (European semi-final)
Bursts of pink lake salt compliment the warm citrus flavours of organic orange. Paired with the fruity Trinitario heritage cacao of the Sambirano valley in northern Madagascar.
Possibly my favourite pairing, the salt and orange of the chocolate really brought out the heather honey and salt notes of the Highland Park 12, something I have found difficult to drink and enjoy in the past transformed by this chocolate pairing.
Paired with: Bean to Bar Madagascar Sambirano 72% £5.95
A carefully roasted and slowly conched dark bar with acidic, high fruity notes. Trinitario cacao growing in the Sambirano valley in Madagascar, expertly fermented and dried to bring out the bright flavours.
In this pairing the fruity port-influence of the Glen Moray was highlighted by fruity notes from the high percentage cocoa, unfortunately for me the chocolate was much more powerful than the whisky, perhaps highlighting some of the more cleansing notes and spirity nature of this particular whisky.
Paired with: Bean to Bar Ecuador El Ensueño Arriba 84% £5.95
A high percentage dark chocolate made from the sabor arriba (higher flavour) cacao of farm ‘El Ensueño’, or ‘The Dream’. A small holding ran by two close friends in the beautiful bio diverse forests of Ecuador. Strong floral, earthy notes with nutty hints.
This pairing attempted to highlight the nutty sherry notes of the A’Bunadh with the nutty hints in the chocolate. Again This may have missed my palate, I found the A’Bunadh exceedingly sweet, however the depth of cocoa provided a perfect foil. Similar to the Highland Park pairing above this combined two elements which alone I would have enjoyed far less than I did when sampling them together.
Paired with: Bean to Bar Peru Marañón 69% £5.95
Made from the highly prized Pure Nacional cacao of the Marañón valley in Northern Peru. This strain was thought extinct until DNA testing proved it’s pure genetics. The cacao has a high percentage of white seeds, leading to the light hues. Don’t let the light colour deceive you though this chocolate packs a punch, with strong wood, floral and grapefruit notes.
The final pairing of peaty/medicinal with punchy woody chocolate seemed to pass me by again. If anything the chocolate masked my palate, negating the smoky medicinal side of this whisky and in the end I was left comparing the citric lemon of the whisky to the fruity grapefruit notes of the chocolate – still an interesting experiment that highlighted synergistic flavours from two very complex products.
Lastly we wish to thank Alastair Gower from The Chocolate Tree for introducing us to some excellent chocolate and educating us on its production.
If you are in the area why not drop in to:
The Chocolate Tree, 123 Bruntsfield Place, Edinburgh, EH10 4EQ