I’d be the first to admit that although I know a few things about wine, I know absolutely nothing about wine pairings. Well, except what we’re all told that white wine go with fish and white meat while red whine goes with red meat.
But there are many kinds of white wine and red wine, from dry to sweet and everything in between, and I’m sure that there is a specific kind of white wine that will be perfect for, say, grilled fish and another for fish stew. And I know nothing about those things.
I don’t even know about bouquets and all that stuff. When it comes to wine, it’s either I like it or I don’t. It’s that simple.
Now, port is one wine that I really like. Sweet port, not dry port. When we decided to have strawberries in chocolate fondue for dessert tonight, Speedy opened a bottle of tawny port. I would have preferred a white wine but, oh boy, as it turned out, the tawny port was absolutely great with the strawberries and chocolate.
Although tawny port is traditionally associated with Portugal, it is now produced in other countries too.
Offley tawny port which we had with the strawberries and chocolate is from Portugal.
Tawny Port is a sweet or medium-dry dessert wine made from red grapes grown in Northern Portugal’s Douro Valley, fortified with grape neutral spirit (brandy) and aged in wood casks. Prolonged wood aging is the key ingredient that differentiates Tawny Port from bottle-aged Ports such as LBV (Late Bottled Vintage) and Vintage Port [“The tenets of tawny port” from For the Love of Port].
But enough about the tawny port already. Let me write about the chocolate fondue. There are so many ways to prepare the chocolate dip for strawberries or other fresh fruits, here is my recipe.
As an introduction, let me say that pure melted chocolate is too thick for dipping. You have to thin it with cream. Now, the cream will dilute the sweetness of the chocolate and I remedy that by adding white chocolate.
- dark chocolate and white chocolate in a three to one ratio (eg., I used 3/4 cup of dark chocolate plus 1/4 cup of white chocolate)
1/4 c. or more of cream
- In a pot of simmering water, place a heatproof bowl. Put the dark chocolate and quarter cup of cream in the bowl and heat until the chocolate softens a bit. Add the white chocolate and continue heating. Stir with a spatula to see if both chocolates have melted. If the mixture appears too thick, add more cream, little by little and stirring as you pour. Keep at it until the consistency is correct — thick enough to coat fruits but not too thick that the fruit will get stuck in the chocolate before it is lifted.When the chocolate mixture is ready, pour into the fondue. Serve at once, with fresh whole strawberries (or your choice of fruit) as the the chocolate will thicken eventually. So, you want the fruits to be dipped, and eaten, before the chocolate loses its perfect texture.
Don’t you think that strawberries, chocolate fondue and tawny port would be the perfect way to end a special Valentine’s Day dinner?
Cooking time (duration):10
Number of servings (yield): 3
Meal type: dessert