Wine and chocolate – a classic pairing – can now be purchased in a single bite.
Connecticut chocolatier, Munson’s Chocolates, has released a 12-piece (3 of each of the 4 truffle varietals) collection of non-alcoholic truffles made with wines from select Connecticut vineyards. Each wine has a signature flavor profile, which the company artfully captured into a single taste experience.
The wines hail from different regions of the state, from Holmberg Orchards and Winery in Gales Ferry, Jerram Winery in New Hartford, DiGrazia Vineyard in Brookfield, and Sharpe Hill Vineyard in Pomfret. I was delighted to try them all (for breakfast on Saturday…I was too excited to wait). What a treat!
You’ll find the natural dark chocolate and red wine pairings, and the whites with milk. These are great to share, savor, and even greater to pair with the wines they represent:
- Sharpe Hill’s Reserve Chardonnay – Although these truffles are small enough to be consumed in just one bite, I savored each of these in about three nibbles. I exclaimed, “This is sooo good!” when I cracked the milk chocolate shell of this truffle, and tasted the sweet Chardonnay filling inside. Using Sharpe Hill’s lovely, crisp and dry Burgundian style Chardonnay, made of 100% estate grown Chardonnay and Melon de Bourgogne grapes, this chocolate was delightful. The sweetest of the bunch.
- Jerram’s Marechal Foch – Utilizing Jerram’s medium-bodied red table wine, this truffle brought out the subtle cherry undertones for a more decadent version of a chocolate-covered cherry. The ganache inside was to die for, and the dark chocolate is a perfect choice to pair with the wine, or have as a dessert on its own.
- DiGrazia’s Paragran – Paragran is DiGrazia’s pear and pomegranate wine. This truffle had chocolate nibs on top, and seemed richer than the other dark chocolate one. The pomegranate flavor in the filling was similar to, but more subtle than the Jerram cherry truffle. Because of the lighter fruit notes, this was my favorite of the two dark chocolates. So great, I pomegran-ATE all three! 😉
- Holmberg’s Heirloom Apple – Oh my gosh – this one! I have a thing for crunchy, so the dusting of crunchies on top won me over. I think I saved the best for last. This milk chocolate truffle uses Holmberg’s Heirloom Apple wine. It’s like an apple crumb pie with silky milk chocolate; the filling has all the honey sweetness and cinnamon/spices taste of pie filling. It’s perfect. I could eat this again and again…
Overall, the truffles are not sickeningly sweet, nor taste too strongly of wine. They are a great representation of the wines they use, but would be equally enjoyed by any chocolate-lover. The packaging alone is a work of art; it is gift-worthy without any work!
After giving countless interviews over the years on the “Connecticut Chocolate Trail,” Karen Munson had the idea to create a line of truffles that paid tribute to both the CT Wine Trail and the CT Chocolate Trail, thus this collection was born. Together with Munson’s production manager Mike Fisher, it was a year-long process to create the perfect center to compliment the various wines.
Since sourcing local ingredients for their products has always been a priority for Munson’s Chocolates of Bolton, CT, this line is really just another extension of their commitment to the community and the state, noted Vice President Jim Florence.
While their manufacturing process is a closely guarded secret, the finished product is something extraordinarily unique that has come to be the hallmark of this 70 year old company (est. 1946) that has spanned three generations.
Pairing Chocolate with a CT Wine Trail Tasting
To still achieve the traditional experience of a CT Wine tasting and chocolate pairing, one has a plethora of options!
One: Attend a Chocolate and Wine Pairing at Sunset Meadow Vineyards or Miranda Vineyard in Goshen, or drink your dessert wine out of a chocolate cup at Maugle Sierra Vineyards in Ledyard, if you want to feel like Willy Wonka.
- SMV offers their pairings Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays from 11-5, and Saturday and Sundays from 11-1:30. You’re welcome to choose from two types of chocolate tasting – Red Wine or White Wine, for $18.00.
- At Miranda Vineyard, chocolate and wine pairings are available Thursday 12-5, Friday 12-6, or Saturday and Sunday 12-2. This educational experience allows you to challenge your taste buds, learn how custom-made, local Fascia’s Chocolates and traditional European wines pair together.
- At Maugle Sierra, support local by enjoying fine wine with dessert wine truffles made by Hauser Chocolate of Westerly, RI. Or try a Chocolate Shooter — a dark-chocolate cup filled with the winery’s dessert wine, Espiritu’ de St. Croix.
- Many other vineyards also offer chocolate on-site, including Stonington’s MI Chocolate, which pairs well with the Stonington Vineyards Cabernet Franc.
Three: Visit a Munson’s location, then stop in at a nearby winery for your wine tasting or to pick up a bottle to take home.
- Visit Munson’s in Glastonbury at Somerset Square, then on your way back east on Rt. 2, stop in at Priam Vineyards in Colchester.
- The charming Munson’s at Olde Mistick Village in Mystic is nearby to each of the six wineries in southeastern CT: Stonington Vineyards, Saltwater Farm Vineyards, Jonathan Edwards Winery, Maugle Sierra, Holmberg, or Preston Ridge Vineyard.
- Visit Munson’s in Orange then head north to Savino Vineyards in Woodbridge.
- If you’re nearby West Simsbury Munson’s, head over to Rosedale Farms & Vineyards‘ Farm Market in Simsbury.
No matter what time of year, it really doesn’t get much better than wine and chocolate. Enjoy!