Thursday 2 April 2015

Chocolate and alcohol: a match made in heaven.

I'm not religious, so for me Easter is very much about chocolate. I mean, friends, family, and those four glorious lie ins are a pretty high priority too. Oh, and I usually squeeze in at least a couple of mildly alcoholic evenings, because surely it would be a waste not to, right?

Well, it seems like Aldi read my mind, because they sent me a bumper hamper of chocolate and alcohol to celebrate Easter. I am all for these kind of packages, FYI. There was a reason though, not just to cause me joy - they've been working hard on their posh chocolate and spirits line, working out which chocolate goes best with which drink.

I never used to think about food and drink complementing each other until I started to like red wine, and then it's pretty hard to miss. Red wine with blue cheese, or a good steak, or dark chocolate... okay, I'm drooling on my keyboard now. So this was the point. Trying various different flavours of chocolate alongside various spirits, to see how they work together. I've had worse evenings.

1. Chevalier Cognac and Moser Roth Orange Mousse
The chocolate was awesome - so rich, and if you're not a massive dark chocolate fan like me, the sweetness of the orange mousse inside will balance out the bitterness nicely. The cognac... well. Matt loved it, but I'm afraid it just tasted like alcohol. It's not something I would drink straight again, although we did enjoy using our new swanky brandy glasses from Ikea. So I didn't feel like they massively went together... I ended up just chomping on the chocolate and left the boozing to Matt!

2. Caversham Cream Sherry with Moser Roth Dark Chocolate Orange and Almond
For me, sherry has always been something that my grandparents drank, and occasionally my parents. I think I tried a sip when I was a kid, but always assumed it was something I didn't like. So imagine my surprise when I discovered that sherry is FREAKING DELICIOUS. It's like a super smooth, super sweet wine, less alcoholic tasting than other dessert wines I've tried. I am a fan. In fact, I was really quite drunk on sherry by the time I fell into bed a little later (after falling asleep on the sofa in a sherry coma). It goes really well with the chocolate, too - when you take a bite of the chocolate and a sip of the sherry before you've swallowed it, the orange taste seems to burst in your mouth. YUM.

3. Fletcher's Fine Ruby Port with Moser Roth 85% Cocoa
All my friends adore port, and I tend to find it nice for a few sips then a bit much. It's very sweet and rich, and... well, I'd rather have a sherry, thank you. Oh, but it went so well with this chocolate! Having such a dark chocolate with such a sweet drink really brought out the sweetness of the port, making the chocolate taste almost savoury in comparison. Weird, but awesome.

Aldi also sent me some rum and some other chocolates to try, but I didn't really think a review of the rum and coke I had later that evening would be interesting (it was very nice though). Their chocolate range is great though - I devoured most of the caramel that evening, it's insanely rich and creamy - the kind of richness that some people might say was sickly, but for rabid caramel fans like myself, it was anything but - I could have cheerfully eaten the whole lot in one sitting. But Matt didn't let me. Spoilsport.

They also gave me an awesome recipe to try for an eggnog cocktail, which is on my list. Let me know if you make it - and then please invite me round to have some. Ta.

Frozen Easter-Egg Nog Cocktail
6 large egg yolks, separated
225g sugar
750ml whipping cream, well chilled
250ml Old Hopking Dark Rum
100ml Chevalier Cognac VS
Zest from 1 orange
Moser Roth Caramel Chocolate, grated

1. In a large metal bowl beat the egg yolks until they are thick and pale and add the sugar, a little at a time, beating the mixture until it is light and fluffy
2. In a chilled bowl whip the cream until it holds soft peaks and fold it into the yolk mixture.
3. Cover and freeze the mixture for at least 4 hours, or until it is nearly hard
4. Remove from the freezer and let the mixture melt until it is just soft enough to stir and add in the orange zest, rum and cognac, and return the eggnog, covered, to the freezer until it is very thick and frozen slightly
5. Stir the eggnog well and serve it in small glasses or in cleaned out egg shells with a little of the grated Moser Roth Caramel Chocolate sprinkled over the top.


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