Capital Pint by Travis Persaud is published regularly at OttawaMagazine.com. Follow Travis on twitter @tpersaud.
While tasty and delicious, what most intrigued customers were the suggested pairings for each type. Each package outlined how to best pair the chocolate with wine, cheese, and beer — an element that sparked Rochef’s latest venture.
“People really liked the pairing aspect we included with the chocolate,” says Rochef. “But we painted ourselves in a corner because we just suggested one or two types of beer. Now, we want to do the opposite — create a chocolate that can be paired with tons of different beer.”
Enter Cuvée Gambrinus, a new line of four premium dark chocolates (70 percent cocoa) specifically designed to complement beer.
“There has been chocolate made with beer, but never chocolate made for beer,” says Philippe Wouters, beer expert, author, and honourary Knight of the Belgian Brewers Association, who created the recipes with Rochef. “All the customer needs to do is choose what type of taste or sensation they want to experience, and pick the appropriate chocolate.”
Skeptical? Don’t be, he’s a knight. A knight! Be nice and he may just sweep you off your feet for a magical horse ride along the Ottawa River.
Pick from four styles — Delicate Blonde, Hoppy Amber, Full-bodied Brown, and Rich & Sweet Dark. Each package describes the chocolate, what type of beer will best pair with it, and the flavour profile the pairing will produce.
“We tested them with over 200 beers using a panel of 12 experts,” Fournier says, “and we honestly haven’t found any beer that doesn’t pair well.”
“I tried it with a number of brewers in Belgium who all said it was a great idea,” Wouters says. “It’s another way to showcase that beer isn’t cheap alcohol, you can have a bottle on the table as you would a bottle of wine.”
But Fournier and Wouters have stripped away any pretension that may be associated with wine pairings. “We’re not in the wine business,” Fournier says. “This is about pleasure.” His only tip: “Let the chocolate melt in your mouth a little bit before taking a sip of beer.”
Wouters provides his own step-by-step guide: “Take a seat. Eat a piece of chocolate. Drink beer. And repeat.
“Of course we put a lot of thought behind this project [including creating complicated recipes that combine up to six different types of beans] but the main thing is to have a good time.”