Five of the best chocolate and wine pairings in the Western Cape
Visit our five suggestions below and prepare to be amazed, or experiment at home with wine and chocolates from your local store and deli. As Willy Wonka would say: ”Invention, my dear friends, is 93% perspiration, 6% electricity, 4% evaporation, and 2% butterscotch ripple.” All clear?
Waterford Wine Estate, Stellenbosch
The popular Waterford Wine and Chocolate Experience, is an upmarket collaboration created by Waterford’s winemaker Kevin Arnold and Richard von Geusau of Von Geusau Chocolates. It is a relationship that has existed for five years, one of the longest running wine and chocolate pairings in the Cape Winelands. With chocolate originally sourced from Belgium, Von Geusau adds pure flavours for his creations, and has specifically crafted a range of chocolates to accompany the Waterford wines, highlighting subtle aromas and flavours.
Waterford Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 with Rock Salt Dark Chocolate. The rock salt mimics the savoury flavour found in a Cabernet Sauvignon traditional meal pairing.
Kevin Arnold Shiraz 2009 with Masala Chai Dark Chocolate. The key is in the spice – both wine and chocolate showing nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves.
Waterford Heatherleigh Natural Sweet NV with Rose Geranium Milk Chocolate. The rose geranium present in the chocolate, adds to the sweet wines sun-drenched blossom and vanilla incense to create a ‘heady bouquet’.
Waterford Estate have been conducting wine and chocolate tastings for around five years. Duration: Approx. 30 min. Cost: R65 pp. Tastings are available Monday to Saturday. Pre-booking is essential for groups over 6 persons.
Lourensford Wine Estate, Somerset West
Lourensford Wine Estate pair three red wines and a Honey Liqueur with four chocolates. The pairing started around five months ago, following lengthy tastings of the wine and discussions with an artisan chocolatier on how best to enhance or soften flavours in the young wines.
Lourensford Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 with Cigar Plum chocolate. The ripe and lingering tannins of soft oak and plum on the palate are enhanced by the chocolate.
Lourensford Merlot 2011 with Kirsch Cherry Chocolate. A young Merlot with a peppery nose and palate. The red fruits of the Merlot are enhanced by the cherry of the chocolate.
Lourensford Shiraz, Mourvedre, Viognier Rhone style blend 2010 with Cape Malay Spice Chocolate. Nutmeg and subtle spices in the chocolate soften the earthiness and young tannins of the Shiraz.
Lourensford Non-vintage Honey Liqueur with Dark Mint Chocolate. The mint chocolate softens the alcohol of the liqueur to create a full, rounded finish of honey on the palate.
Duration: Approx. 30 mins. Cost: R45 pp. Tastings are available 7 days a week. Pre-booking is essential for groups over 4 persons.
Spice Route Wines and DV Chocolate, Paarl
The Spice Route is a collection of nearby artisan producers sharing their craft with the public. A five-year collaboration between Spice Route Wine and DV Chocolate offer a Tutored wine & chocolate tasting, where they will talk guests through the process of cocoa bean fermentation, and their unique pairings with single-origin chocolate, sourced from around the world. No flavourings are added here and the pairings are an example of natural elements in cocoa varieties complementing these Swartland wines. Guests are guided throughout, cross tasting the chocolates with wines. The tasting takes a minimum of 60 minutes and is truly educational!
Spice Route Sauvignon Blanc 2012 with DV Single Origin Madagascar.
Spice Route Mourvèdre 2009 with DV Single Origin Venezuela Caracas.
Spice Route Viognier 2012 with DV Single Origin Sao Tome.
Spice Route Chakalaka 2010 with DV Single Origin Venezuela Rio Caribe.
Single origin chocolate is sourced from around the globe. The wine tasting room is open 7 days a week. On weekends the pairing is available at the DV Chocolate factory (also in Paarl). If you’re with children and your interest lies in the story of chocolate and the making process, this is the one for you. Minimum group sizes are 10 so you must phone ahead. Smaller groups will be paired together.
Duration: Min. 60 mins and maybe double this time at DV Chocolate factory. Cost: R60 pp at the Spice Route Wine Tasting Centre / R100 pp at the DV Chocolate factory.
Durbanville Hills, Durbanville
The Durbanville Hills Wine and Chocolate menu has also been created in tandem with an artisan chocolatier, and there are extensive tasting notes to accompany each pairing. There are four single variety red wines and a Chardonnay to work through, each paired with bold chocolates.
Durbanville Hills Pinotage 2010 with Atlantic Dusk: Dark Blackcurrant and Hazelnut. The very delicate hazelnut notes flatter the fruit and showcase the firm structure of the Pinotage, leaving a lingering sweetness on the palate. A wonderful combination of contrasting textures, flavours and scents.
Durbanville Hills Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 with Echoes of Good Hope: Dark Cherry and Malt. The chocolate complements the fruity Cabernet Sauvignon by adding weight and complexity, with just enough malt to stand up to the wine. Prepare for a wonderful interplay of fruit, tobacco and wood on your palate.
Durbanville Hills Merlot 2010 with Midnight in the Karoo: Sweet Mint. The medium-bodied fruity Merlot shows elegant notes, while the chocolate is dark and enrobes clean, crisp organic sweet mint flavours. A bold pairing of flavours.
Durbanville Hills Shiraz 2010 with Spiced South Easter: Cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. The Shiraz displays typically spicy notes while the smooth milk Cape Malay Spice chocolate is flavoured with cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. The chocolate lifts flavours, such as black pepper, from the wine and adds a “meatiness” to the Shiraz.
Rhinofields Chardonnay 2011 with Summer Breeze: Citrus, lime, herbaceous. An award-winning Chardonnay, subtly wooded, full-bodied and fruity. The velvety white chocolate’s rapid melt on the palate coupled with reduced sugar that isn’t sweet or cloying, has crispy citrus and lime notes that are herbaceous to the finish.
Wine and chocolate tastings are available every day. Pre-booking advised for groups larger than 6 persons and for any size at weekends, which can be very busy. Duration: Approx. 30 minutes. Cost: R60 pp.
Hidden Valley Wines, Stellenbosch
If you are a fan of Belgian truffles, then you should visit Hidden Valley Wines and try their Chocolatier’s Platter, where they have been pairing five truffle delights with five wines for two years. The truffles are hand made by Delicious Deli in Somerset West, a family enterprise using the finest Belgian chocolate and recipes. Hidden Valley Wines are out to educate your taste buds with different textures and unusual taste profiles.
Hidden Valley Sauvignon Blanc 2015 with Grand Marnier Truffle (white). The predominant flavour of guava and litchi in the Belgian white truffle was chosen to enhance the tropical characteristic in this Sauvignon Blanc.
Hidden Treasure (Rosé) 2015 with Rose infused Milk Truffle. The Rose infused truffle was chosen to convey the delicate floral characteristics in the fragrance of this Rosé.
Hidden Valley Pinotage 2014 with Dark Coffee Truffle or Orange truffle. A choice of two pairings with the Pinotage. The Belgian dark truffle made from 70% Cacao enhances the Mocha fragrance of the Pinotage and a creamy after tone is reminiscent of your coffee of the day. The Belgian Orange truffle made from 70% Cocoa enhances the fruitier component of the Pinotage.
Hidden Valley Secret 2014 paired with Marzipan Cream Truffle. This Belgian dark truffle, made from 70 % Cocoa emphasises the toffee-nuttiness and sweet spice of this Rhone blend. This chocolate hides meaty and spicy tones and leaves a lingering smoothness in your mouth.
Hidden Valley Gems 2014 (55% Cabernet Sauvignon & 45% Petit Verdot) paired with Velvet Vanilla Truffle. Belgian milk truffle forms the base of this chocolate, targeting the floral characteristic in the blend. The vanilla flavour of the truffle softens the herbaceous and strength of the wine.
Pre-booking is essential if your group is over 6 persons. Tastings are available 7 days a week, but Hidden Valley Wines recommend calling ahead on Saturdays as the tasting rooms may be closed for wedding functions. Duration: Approx. 30 min. Cost: R85 pp for 5 wines paired with 5 chocolates.