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Dark Chocolate Rising

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I apologize again for the extremely long delay between posts. Summer is supposed to be a time of endless relaxing, or so I was told, but in real adult work must be done year round. And my work has been very hectic. At any rate, my post today will be a special pairing for the premiere of Dark Knight Rises.

Yes, I realize that this movie premiered a week ago. Perhaps, you think, I should do a pairing for the premiere of the Olympics. And maybe I will (peach rings anyone?). But for now, we will deal with what we have, however belatedly.

I asked my Twitter followers what I should pair the wine with for The Dark Knight Rises premiere and multiple people suggested dark chocolate. I’ll admit, I cringed a bit because pairing wine and chocolate is rather obvious. When considering my options though, dark chocolate is the best and only choice. It’s a great pick because it’s dark as well as complex. Really delicious dark chocolate contains many flavors and Batman is also a complicated character. He is civilian and vigilante, loved and hated by many, ordinary and extraordinary. So please, sit down and enjoy, and no spoilers in the comments please.

The Wine: Ravens Wood, Zinfandel, California 2010


Ravens Wood’s sequel performance

The Candy: Rapunzel, Swiss Chocolate. Organic Extra Dark Chocolate (70% Cocoa)  /  Organic Dark Chocolate with Hazelnuts (55% Cocoa)


The Dynamic Duo

The Dream:

Honestly, I did not plan this one out too much since dark chocolate and red wine is almost always good. Also, my chocolate needed to be soy free so my friend could go us. I grabbed the hazelnut to add some variety, which ultimately was the best chocolate. In terms of wine, I didn’t want anything too smokey or rich. I went with the zinfandel because of its fruit-centric flavor pallet. Some of you may notice this is Ravens Wood second appearance on this blog. I chose it because of the quality as well as the label. A black bird with wings is just about as close to a bat that I could get.


Dark chocolate on the left. Hazelnut on the right.

The Reality:

If you have not tasted this zinfandel, you really should do it right now. It is smooth and mild with a light citrusy taste. A slight smokiness is present, but it does not overwhelm the fruitiness. The flavors of boysenberry and strawberry are drawn out, staying with you until it finishes gracefully.

The dark chocolates is very rich and has an espresso flavor to it which surprises me. It’s a very dark chocolate, so perhaps the bitterness reminds me of a good espresso. It’s also smooth and not too bold. Combined with the zin though, it lays a bit heavy on the tongue. It’s perfectly fine since it is a red wine and chocolate pairing, but it’s really nothing to write home about.

The hazelnut, however, has the right combination of flavors. The hazelnut adds a unique sweetness to the dark chocolate, but it does not becomes overwhelming like milk chocolate. Each bite is a little different since the hazelnut is distributed unevenly. The zin is refreshing and maintains its integrity when sipped with this chocolate.

I have inspired myself to do an Olympics themed post, so hold onto your medals and mount your dressage horse. Go (insert your country here) !

Zinful Indeed

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Hey there!

I did this pairing a week ago and I thought I could get it posted by Monday. But it turns out I have a job as well as a blog and it just didn’t happen last week. I hope you forgive me.

To make up for my absence, I have an excellent pairing for you. As you may remember, I paired it with the premier of True Blood. With the second episode airing tonight, I am not too off base. If you don’t know the show, that’s ok because watching it is not a prerequisite for enjoying this pairing.

I like the idea of TV pairings because TV and wine already go well together. Add some candy in the mix and you have an excellent night. As some of you may remember, I blogged during the season premier of Mad Men. Your next TV pair will most likely be for Breaking Bad (rock candy, anyone?).

Hopefully you’ll catch this post before the next episode of True Blood. If not, we have a whole, bloody season ahead of us.

The Wine: Cardinal Zin, Zinfadel, 2010 California


Last season featured some religious figures behaving very badly…the wine was a natural choice.

The Candies: Godiva: Milk Chocolate Dipped Strawberries; Ghiradelli Dark Chocolate Raspberry


For a show about vamps, having a candy with a red filling was a natural choice.

The Dream:

The chocolate with red filling of any variety was the basis for this pairing.  The “bloody” factor. Originally, I wanted chocolate covered cherries but I couldn’t find them (I only looked two places–oops). That little accident ended up being a happy one. In terms of wine, a zinfadel instantly came to mind. It’s fruity with a deep, strong flavored while maintaining a lighter quality. Boyfriend’s family love zin so I know it fairly well. The time was up for ignoring my zin.


Obviously, this glass is amazing.


The Reality:

There a moments when I’m doing this blog where I am filled with false confidence. I think, wow, I’m super good at this. I had one of these moments with this pairing. I was with people I just met, so having this work felt really good.

The zin has a light sweetness and a slight tang. It does not go down smoothly, but it’s full, rich flavor makes up for it. Some wines are meals unto themselves whereas others are a perfect pairing wine. This wine was the later. It’s a great summer wine, light while still flavorful.

The chocolate is pretty much what you would expect. I need to start doing some edgy candy, but I put the shopping off so Ghiradelli and Godiva it is. The dark chocolate I liked the best, since it’s so rich and the raspberry is a tangy surprise. It pairs really well with the wine since each has a very simple pallet and they compliment each other. The rich chocolate with the tangy center compliments the full flavored wine. Since the chocolate isn’t very sweet, I can still enjoy the sweetness of the zin.

The Godiva I don’t like very much since it is milk chocolate. I just don’t like milk chocolate. It feels too sweet and the strawberries are rather meager. I hate to pair milk chocolate since I already dislike it, but I wanted to provide variety. It certainly isn’t terrible and a friend enjoyed the pairing. I think the wine had such full flavor that it overpowered the meager milk chocolate.

I will be going on a real vacation soon. I can’t promise a pairing in the near future, since I’ll be prepping for going away and then I’ll be gone. I’ll also be away from the Internet. I’ll try to scrounge something up, but no promises.

Candy Classic Edition: Snickers

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I have not done a truly classic candy. Sure I dabbled with M&Ms, but only the special kind. We’ve nibbled on classy chocolate bars but had yet to sink our teeth into a chocolate-caramel/peanut monstrosity.

I think we all know where this is going.

Last week the DC metro area got all Wizard of Oz and blew in some major storms and a few tornado touchdowns. I got stuck in some majorly bad traffic, so I treated myself to vino. As I browsed, I realized I needed to do a pairing. It had been a bit too long. So I snatched up a Snickers. I had no plan besides the basic chocolate+red wine = noms. It all turned out well though and I can recommend this pairing with confidence.

The Wine: Oracle, Pinotage


Written in the Stars

The Candy: Snickers (frozen of course)


A Dangerous Duo

The Dream: Like I mentioned, I didn’t have one! Just a general hope that a wine I never tasted and a candy bar I eat only at Halloween would work out together.


The Reality:

The wine is dry and tart. It could use some decanting. I really need to let my reds breathe more.

I forgot how sweet Snickers are but not necessarily chocolately. There’s just so much in the middle. After the first bite, the wine is much sweeter and softer. The sweetness fades away gradually and the spicier flavors come in. It’s a great pairing overall. Neither are outstanding on their own, but together they make a pleasant enough experience.

I feel like this post wasn’t that inspired since it was such a last minute pairing. But hey, I can at least promise one sweet evening.

After Dinner

It’s time for a rematch.

As I mentioned in my last post, I’m going to take mint to task. This time I have a super weapon and it’s called wisdom. Specifically, I refer to the wisdom of those who came before me.

A much wiser pair-er than I successfully paired mint with wine–specifically port with thin mints–and I decided to give it a shot. Giving credit when credit is due is pretty much my mantra (it was also beaten over my head at college), so here is the post. It has a lot of tasty ideas for experiencing Girl Scout cookies with an adult beverage. The basic concept of the pairing is that the richness of the port can balance out the mint and chocolate. Mint and chocolate proves to be an extremely tricky combo to overcome, so I took this advice. Also, I never had port before (it turns out I am not a 45 year old man with an ascot) so it was a new experience.

The “Adult Beverage”: Presidential Porto, from Portugal

Let's just say Santorum won't be drinking this (boodumcha)

The Candy: Double mint! Junior Mints & Andes Mints

The Reality:

I’m not going to pretend that I had a “dream” for this pairing when I used the idea of someone else. But I thought this turned out pretty well. The port is 19% / volumen which is, well, pretty heavy duty. It is heavy and flavorful–there’s a lot to process in one sip. It’s sweet and goes down smooth. It lays very thick on your tongue, which ended up being a good thing. 

With the Andes mint, the port did well.   It was able to wash away the lingering mint flavor while keeping the chocolate present. It accented the richness of the chocolate and kept the mint from overpowering the experience. But Junior Mints have such a sizable minty middle, which is difficult to overpower. There is also so much of it. I never realized how much “mint” is in a Junior Mint.

I recommend port, if you have not had it. And hey, it’s an after dinner drink for an after dinner mint! I would say that was pretty inspired, if I didn’t steal the idea for this pairing from someone else.


I’m going to try to update this blog with more wine news that I stumble across. Send me some things if you are so inclined, otherwise, stay thirsty my friends.

A Love that will Surely Last

A Love that will Surely Last

Don’t you love a late gift? Like the birthday card that came two days late or the Valentine’s Day gift you got two days after the fact?

I know I do. And I hope you do too, because here is your late post.

For Valentine’s Day, I wanted to do a special post dedicated to loving the Earth. Not because the Earth is a good thing. Not because I love the environment. Although both those things are true, I did it because the “Earth friendly” wine was pretty affordable. And that is how most themes on this blog are born!

Despite the fact my boyfriend and I have been dating for almost 4 years, this is the first Valentine’s Day we have spent together. At first, I thought I would make it super romantic by creating an enormous dinner. But since I work and get tired, this did not come to pass. I did make a kicking chili and we watched 21 Jumpstreet for two hours. So basically super romantic.

All that romantic chemistry is super interesting for you, but that is not why we are here. We are here because of candy-wine pairing. And boy, do I have a bad romance for you all (and I mean vernacular bad, so you know, good romance).

The  Wine: Fetzer, The Earth Friendly Winery. California Merlot, 2009.

Landfill Waste Reduced 95% Since 1990

The Candy: 

Divine, 70% Dark Chocolate with Raspberries

Divine, Fruit and Nut Dark Chocolate

Fair Trade Certified "Chocolate with a heart"

The Dream:

Like I said, price was pretty important to me. Because I don’t make that much money, and keeping this affordable is pretty important (I will have a Budget Themed one too guys!) The wine was about $10 and the chocolates were two for five dollars.  Since this is a learning experience, I picked a wine I don’t try often. That was the Merlot. I have heard a lot of smack talk about environmentally friendly wines, so I wanted to find out for myself.  Since it was Valentine’s, chocolate was a must. I decided, to keep with the theme, to try the raspberries (they are red, duh) but I threw in the fruit and nut to up my chances of success. Or failure. How ever you choose to look at it.

The Reality:

The wine is very good. It’s sharp and challenging. The label said there were flavors of all sorts of fruits, but the blackberry really stood out for me. At first, I panicked. Is fruit going to wrestle with fruit?

Merlot Only Pairs with One

The raspberry dark chocolate was a perfect fit. The raspberry was tangy and it jutted out at the bottom of the chocolate. But the solid dark chocolate on top balanced the tang. It vacillated from a mild sweet flavor to sweet and sour, in the best way. It felt balanced and addicting. And like love, it felt so right.

But the fruit and nut…just didn’t work. The chocolate was fine, but the fruit was too chewy and the nuts just left the mouth too dry. There was too much competition. There will be no second date here.

But please, try these two specific brands of Merlot and wine together. It’s best for you and hey, probably ok for the environment too.

I’ll be out of town for the weekend with the star of the Kitchen Whisk. Will we start trouble? Most likely. Will we blog? Not very likely. So enjoy your President’s Day if you are from the East Coast. If you are in the MidWest and don’t know what President’s Day is, then good for you.

Musharoom About Nothing

Friends, I have been challenged. And I am afraid I have not met up to the expectations. But every time I “lose” a challenge, I plan to revisit it until I can satisfy both my ego and my readers.

The Challenge: Couple a foreign wine with a foreign candy

Seems simple, doesn’t it? I already had an Argentine red wine in mind, all I needed was a tasty candy. I knew I wanted something unusual and definitely something I had not yet tried. I also wanted to buy something you could get at a regular grocery store. I will branch out in the future to stranger tides, but I want this blog to be accessible. If you can’t find the candy, what is the point? How can I advise you?

I found quite an unusual candy and thought it could make a dashing suitor for my Argentine wine.

The Wine: Funky Llama, 2010, tempranillo

A Funky Taste Sensation

The Candy: Chocorooms, Meiji, Japan

A Splendid Chocolately Combination and Crispy Cracker

The Dream:

I did not know anything about this wine except that it was red (what else is there to know, right?) And I don’t allow myself to cheat, because that is not how you learn. Looking at the wine, I didn’t think it was sweet. How could a funky llama be sweet, after all? I figured it would have a strong flavor, because that llama looks like he means business. So these cute little ‘shrooms seemed just the thing. They looked crisp, with just the right amount of milk chocolate. And they had personality. I wasn’t confident, since I did not know much about “tempranillo”, but I felt comfortable with my pick.

Crisp chocolate with personality

The Reality:

It wasn’t….bad exactly. But also not great.

Tempranillo, according to Wiki, “is a variety of black grape widely grown to make full bodied red wines.” It is known to have flavors of vanilla, tobacco, berries, plum, and herbs.  Our llama has a citrusy, almost lemony flavor. It is strong and extremely flavorful. At the same time, I tasted a high amount of tannins. It ended on a bitter note, while remaining lovely.

Not Bad, Not Great

But the Chocorooms sort of wilted underneath the strong flavor of the wine. The flavor was too subdued. Although tasty, they would probably go better with a Sauvignon Blanc than a Tempranillo. They pairing was not unpleansant-they went together fine. But I would suggest something bolder. In terms of international candies, I am not exactly sure what this would mean. I wouldn’t recommend anything with a crispy cookie part. It just didn’t work. I might suggest a gummy candy, like Haribo Berries. These Haribo, if I recall correctly, are strong. But their subtle sweetness would go well with this wine.


One reoccurring question this blog keeps bringing up: do opposites attract? Or not? It is certainly a factor to consider in the future.

Stay tuned for the Valentine’s Day special. In that blog post, I’ll be singing sweet nothings to the planet Earth by pairing an organic wine and candy.



Cheers, Salut, Etc.

Welcome to Uncorked, Unwrapped

I love to drink wine. I also love to eat candy.  But recently, I found myself asking: what if I could make those two worlds collide into the perfect combination of flavors? It would, without any sense of hyperbole, be spectacular. I owe a lot of this idea to one bottle of Malbec as well as the this post by MattBites: “Anything Inside a Tortilla.”

Some would argue that wine pairing is an art. From a hefty steak to a gourmet Asian dinner, there is a wine for the occasion. A wino, a very sophisticated wino mind, would be the only one fit for the task.

Well, I’m not that person. I stumble through wines. I pair my dinner with whatever wine bottle is the coolest or my latest obsession. I will drink only Malbec for months, bringing it to parties so I don’t have to explore other options. I’ll walk lazily through a store until I can find a Cupcake that suits my needs.

It is time for me to learn through the best means possible: by eating candy.

This blog will not be snobby. It will most definitely not be classy. It will not be a restaurant review from the New Yorker. I will sample the cheapest wines with the worst store-brand jellybeans. Sometimes I will try to pair candy with wine, or wine with candy. Most of the time I will probably fail. But when I succeed, it will be…not to be cheap..pretty sweet.

With my glass raised, her goes nothing:

Wine: Andean Sky, 2011 Chardonnay

"The Height of Freshness"

2011 Mendoza, Chardonnay

Candy: Lindt Excellence. 90% Cocoa Supreme Dark

"Deliciously intense, Surprisingly Balanced"

The Dream:

My choice behind the pairing was so simple, it was too good to be true (hint: it didn’t work). To me, white wine is either dry or sweet. Since I go into these pairings without any research, I based the choice on my preconceived notion that Chardonnay is a sweet wine. Balancing the sweet was the challenge at hand. Chocolate seemed obvious, because the other bitter candies were either salty or not bitter enough. I chose the darkest chocolate available at my neighborhood Giant: Lindt chocolate 90% cocoa.

The Reality:

Although the two make a pretty picture, they don’t necessarily compliment each other. The wine had a soft flavor instead of an overwhelming sea of sweet. It tasted subtle and smooth. It turned out, this chardonnay needed a partner that could compliment its softer side. The chocolate was far too dark-the expected sweetness of the chardonnay was supposed to balance the dark, intense flavor of the chocolate. Instead the thick and almost chalky Lindt stuck to your mouth as the Chardonnay could barely battle such strong flavors. It was still a tasty treat, but not the pairing I had hoped.

A doomed pair

Takeaway: Chocolate is the type of candy to pair with a chardonnay. The challenge is to find the right type of chocolate. Is milk chocolate too sweet? Or is there an ideal middle ground? Or is chocolate not the way to go?

I’ll keep this blog as updated as possible. I am welcome to challenges. Do you want to know what wine goes well with a Mallow Cup? Do you enjoy a good Pinot Noir, but can never find the perfect licorice to match it? In these cases, I will try until I succeed. Whatever the costs.