Monday, October 15, 2012

DailyBuzz Food Tastemaker...Featuring Ghirardelli Intense Dark Chocolates

Ghirardelli's Intense Dark collection: fabulous flavors!
There are few things in this world that I adore more than chocolate --especially a good dark chocolate. That's why I was so excited when I learned that I had been selected to take part in a special post sponsored by the DailyBuzz Food  Tastemaker Program and Ghirardelli Intense Dark! I was literally like a kid in a candy store when the package arrived at my front door...inside were two bars of seven fabulous flavors: Hazelnut Heaven, Cabernet Matinee, Toffee Interlude, Sea Salt Soiree...and three varying intensities of pure dark chocolate: Midnight Reverie, Twilight Delight, and Evening Dream.  Before deciding on how to best pair the chocolates, I sampled one bar of each flavor...sharing them with my co-workers.

Ghirardelli Intense Dark chocolate has a characteristic "snap" when you break it into squares. As soon as it
hits your mouth, it begins to slowly melt!

This Ghirardelli chocolate is fabulous: it melts velvety smooth on your tongue! All of them were delicious, but my favorites were the Sea Salt Soiree, Toffee Interlude, and new Cabernet Matinee. Sea Salt Soiree is a nice combination of sweet and salty, with finely chopped almonds for a bit of texture. Toffee Interlude features finely chopped toffee bits and candied almonds...I loved to let it slowly melt in my mouth! The Cabernet Matinee is a new flavor...dark chocolate flavored with the essence of blackberry and cabernet grapes. The aroma of this one as it melts in your mouth is nicely fruity. I predict this is going to be a very popular flavor. After my tasting, I started thinking about how to best pair these chocolates for my Ultimate Chocolate Experience. I came up with three different tasting combinations to share with you.

First up was the newest addition to the Intense Dark collection: fruity Cabernet Matinee. This fruit-infused chocolate literally begged to be paired with a nice glass of cabernet sauvignon! I had a square of the chocolate and a few juicy raspberries while I sipped a glass of cabernet after work one evening. Yes, it was an indulgent treat...but not overly so. Because the dark chocolate is rich and intensely flavored, one square did the trick for me. If you've never paired wine and chocolate, do yourself a favor: give it a try! Deep, dark chocolate pairs especially nicely with dry red wines like cabernet. I did some online research and have discovered that sweet wines like port also match especially well with less-sweet dark chocolate. The next time you have a party, why not set out a variety of different intensities of dark chocolate for your guests to pair with wines. It's a lot of fun...and it's a bit different from the usual wine-cheese pairings that you usually see!

The perfect after-work pick-me-up: a square of Cabernet Matinee chocolate, a few ripe raspberries,
and a glass of cabernet sauvignon!

As soon as I tasted the sweetest of the three dark chocolate bars, the 60% cacao Evening Dream, I knew that it would make amazing chocolate-covered strawberries. So that's exactly what I did! The chocolate melted up velvety smooth, and it perfectly enrobed some late-season strawberries. Chocolate-dipped strawberries are sophisticated...a bit sexy even...but they take mere minutes to whip up for a last-second treat. These berries made a perfect impromptu treat for Michael and I one evening this week. The rich, dark chocolate paired perfectly with the juicy berries!

Chocolate of this kind would also be perfect for baking with. Let’s say you're keen to bake a German chocolate cake. That's going to require some high-quality dark chocolate -- so this 60% Evening Dream is a perfect choice for that. The better the quality of the chocolate, the better the final result! That means it’s always worth looking for the best chocolate you can find. With that, you can expect your chocolate cake to be absolutely delicious and incredibly moorish.

60% dark Evening Dream melts smoothly and pairs perfectly with late-season strawberries!
A classic combo: juicy, red strawberries...and rich dark chocolate.

My final pairing was designed with total comfort in mind! Last weekend, the first true cool snap of Fall came to Central Texas. I wanted a special treat that was warming and delicious, so I made myself some creamy chai tea. I paired it with an almond biscotti and one square each of the Toffee Interlude and Hazelnut Heaven chocolates. It was a perfect, decadent treat: creamy warm chai tea, a crunchy cookie...and some ultra-creamy chocolate! The spices in the chai paired perfectly with the dark chocolate...and the heat from the tea made the chocolate melt in my mouth very quickly. It was a fantastic combination of flavor and experience I plan to repeat often as the weather turns cooler!

The perfect way to warm up on a cool Fall evening: milky chai tea, almond biscotti, and two squares
of Ghirardelli chocolate: one flavored with hazelnuts, and the other with toffee and almonds

Let's face it...sometimes you just need to treat yourself! Whether it's after a hectic day at work, part of a romantic evening with your honey...or just because you feel like indulging. Ghirardelli Intense Dark chocolates can help you make the most of these situations...and many others. The comforting "snap" when you break off a square of chocolate from the bar...and then that feeling of chocolate slowly melting on your tongue. Sometimes, that's all you need to make everything right in the world....yes?

Disclosure: This post is brought to you by Ghirardelli Intense Dark™ Chocolate.

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