September 20, 2011

Chocolate, Wine, and Boobies

Posts on this blog and twitter about the Ghirardelli Intense Dark Pairings event are based on an advertising relationship. I have been paid to host and promote the Intense Dark Pairings event for Ghirardelli. I also received a discount from District Wine along with a bottle of wine as a raffle prize. However, the opinion about the Ghirardelli products and the District Wine are all mine. Mine!

Ghirardelli is supporting Breast Cancer Awareness Month by donating $1 to the National Breast Cancer Foundation for each code entered from the specially marked Intense Dark chocolates. As a part of this promotion, I was contacted to host an Intense Dark Pairings party, tasting the Intense Dark chocolates and pairing them with food and wine.

I lost my mother and a good friend to cancer. Any fight against any kind of cancer is my fight. Instead of just calling a few friends over to my house, I wanted to help spread the word as much as I can. So I reached out to my blogger friends and tweeps. But now I'd need a cozy venue for all my fabulous guests.

A wine tasting party that feels like it's being hosted in someone's (really nice) living room? Naturally, I called Mark and Angela at District Wine in Downtown Long Beach (@districtwine). They were more than happy to play host to an all-girl afternoon out. (Well, almost all-girl. We did have a Token Male...) They even threw in a bottle of wine for my raffle.

Annette (@dananner) is a happy camper!

Some of us started the party started a little early with District Wine’s Sunday special, $9 bottomless mimosas. Mark mentioned that the orange juice was just for color, and he wasn't kidding. The pour was generous and the glasses were never once empty. I'd definitely come back some other Sundays for this!

What made our tasting party even more special was that my friend Melissa (@melissakeyes), a breast cancer survivor, shared her story.

For the pairings, I received a guide of food and wine pairing suggestions which were put together by Leslie Sbrocco of Thirsty Girl. You too can host one of these tasting parties at home. The party planning kit, and tasting guide and videos are on this website. I am also giving away a mini tasting kit. Read on for more details.

Anyways. I passed Leslie's list along to District Wine along with some chocolate samples, and they came up with their own selection of wines. And here is our menu.

Ghirardelli® Intense Dark™ Evening Dream: 60% Cacao
District Wine's Pick: Frogmore Creek Iced Riesling, Tasmania
Food: Dried apricot

While the Riesling goes well with the wine and the apricot, it brings out so much of the apricot that the chocolate was more of the supporting actor. Still good though. One of the crowd's favorites.

Ghirardelli® Intense Dark™ Twilight Delight : 72% Cacao
District Wine's Pick: Taft Street Zinfandel, Russian River Valley
Food: This would've been paired with fresh raspberries but I forgot to bring them. Boo...

Another pleasant pairing of chocolate and wine here. But neither was memorable for me.

Ghirardelli® Intense Dark™ Midnight Reverie: 86% Cacao
District Wine's Pick: Layer Cake Malbec, Argentina
Food: Salted almonds, parmesan, and water crackers

Home run all around! The high cacao content makes the chocolate almost savory. Something magical happens with the chocolate, the parmesan, and the Malbec. Red wine fans all agreed this would be the wine they'd drink any day of the week. I would also suggest that you try this chocolate with some prosciutto. I had some at Cochon 555 and it was wonderful. I was thinking about bringing some for the tasting but I didn't want to scare my friends. LOL.

Ghirardelli® Intense Dark™ Toffee Interlude: Toffee bits and caramelized almonds
District Wine's Pick: Taylor Fladgate 20 Years Tawny, Portugal - OR - Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout
Food: Plush Puffs Vanilla Bean Marshmallows

The surprise hit of the evening was the Plush Puffs (found at my favorite store Fresh & Easy). Folks were nibbling on them even before our tasting began and there was nothing left afterward. I can only imagine what the toasted Puffs and this chocolate would taste like inside a S'mores! They're already magical in their respective raw form without the Graham crackers. Mark and Angela gave us a choice between a port or a beer here, and I chose the port. It just brought it all home perfectly.

My friend Jennifer also took fabulous photographs of the event. You can find the rest on her Facebook album.

It was a great afternoon of discovering flavors of Ghirardelli Intense Dark chocolates, finding new wines we love, making new friends, and raising awareness for breast cancer.

Look on twitter for #TGTaste and/or #IntenseDark for great coverage. I will update this post with links to the coverage from my fabulous guests as I get them.

Melissa and I with Mark and Angela, owners of District Wine


Be ready to join the Intense Dark Tweet Chat on October 5 at 5 p.m. PST hosted by Thirsty Girl (@beathirstygirl / #TGTaste). Enter to win your own mini tasting kit! Leave a comment down below (make sure to leave your valid email address) to throw your name into the hat to win a Ghirardelli Intense Dark Pairing kit with a pairing guide, wine charms, samples of Evening Dream, Twilight Delight, Midnight Reverie, and Sea Salt Soiree.

ETA: Congratulations, Alana (@AlanaGarrigues)! You've won the little pairing gift box! :)


Unknown said...

Thanks for this event really was a good time....and all the yummies too.

Unknown said...

MUAH!!! It was great... thank you!

Annette said...

You know I am entering the contest :)

Thanks for hosting such a great event. I hope they get you to do more.

Priscilla - She's Cookin' said...

So sorry I missed this! Since my hubs is on a low sodium diet - wine and dark chocolate are our go-to treats :)

Paulette said...

Thanks for hosting, Oakley. Next time, bring the prosciutto!!

OakMonster said...

Paulette: I *know* you would! We'll do "weird food pairing" for fun next time. Maybe Mark & Angela might be down for that crazy idea. LOL!

Bob said...

Wine, chocolate, and boobies....
3 of my most favorite things.... not necessarily in that order !!!

Alana said...

It looks like you ladies had a really great time! Look forward to meeting you in person next time around. :)

Plush Puffs Gourmet Marshmallows said...

Cool! Glad the Plush Puffs Marshmallows were a hit! Sounds like a fun event.

cancer guide said...

Hi Oakley, So sorry about your mother and friend.
Your Mission to spread the awareness of cancer is just awesome and I wish you all the good luck and even I spread the word on cancer awareness.
Thanks for the great post and a fantastic thought.