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Thursday, October 11, 2012

Ghirardelli Intense Dark Chocolates and Cocktail Pairings

This post is brought to you by Ghirardelli Intense Dark™ Chocolate. Pin It
Ghirardelli has long been my go-to chocolate when I'm looking for something special. My all-time favorite brownies feature Ghirardelli chocolate and I've never been foolish enough to substitute anything else. Ryan used Ghirardelli cocoa in the outrageous birthday cake he made for me. It's not uncommon for us to receive bags of the single-sized Ghirardelli chocolates from my in-laws on holidays. Needless to say, we love our Ghirardelli!
Naturally, I jumped on the opportunity presented by DailyBuzz Food to pair Ghirardelli Intense Dark Chocolate bars with food or drinks. Ryan and I were delighted to receive a box full of chocolate bars--all of which we'd never tried before! Those that know us in real life probably aren't surprised to find we chose to pair some of the chocolate with cocktails. Before you start spreading rumors that we're lushes, understand that my husband has become a bit of a cocktail snob, which I mean in the most loving way possible! He and our friend Mike have a growing appreciation for craft cocktails and love nothing more than to spend an evening testing and creating new and classic beverages. 
Presented with seven different varieties of dark chocolate, Ryan carefully selected two and made cocktails that he thought would pair best with his selections.
First up: the Intense Dark Sea Salt Soiree Bar [Dark Chocolate with Sea Salt and Roasted Almonds]. Ryan decided to play on the salty chocolate and matched it with what he's deemed the Bittersweet and Sour. This cocktail [recipe below] features fresh grapefruit juice, Campari, Cynar, and St. Germaine. According to the predictions of the expert (Ryan), the salty chocolate and the grapefruit juice would complement each other while the liqueurs drew out the bitterness of the dark chocolate but added a sweet finish. To the non-expert (me), it was good-no fancy description needed! From now on I don't think I can enjoy this chocolate without this drink in hand, and vice versa!
Our second pairing utilized the 86% Cacao Midnight Reverie Bar. In other words, the darkest of the dark chocolates! Ryan mixed up a Rob Roy, a twist on the classic Manhattan. This cocktail [recipe below] combines scotch in place of the traditional bourbon or rye with sweet vermouth and, in this version, cherry and angostura bitters. The Midnight Reverie bar description mentions notes of cherry, making the specialty bitters a good addition to the cocktail. Manhattans are not my cocktail of choice so this pairing wasn't a home run for me, but Ryan was pleased with the bright cherry bouquet and how it was followed by a smoky finish.
We already loved Ghirardelli on its own, but pairing the chocolates with carefully selected cocktails heightened their flavor and their enjoyment factor. If you're looking for answers on brownies or cookies, you've come to the right place. If you're wanting to pair your chocolate with alcohol, I'll have to direct you to my husband!

Bittersweet and Sour Cocktail
-3/4 oz. Campari
-3/4 oz. Cynar
-1/2 oz. St. Germaine
-1/2 oz. fresh grapefruit juice

1. Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Add ice and shake vigorously for 15-20 seconds. Strain into a cocktail glass and serve immediately.

Rob Roy Cocktail
-1 1/2 oz. scotch
-1/2 oz. sweet vermouth
-2-3 dashes angostura bitters
-2-3 dashes cherry bitters

1. Combine all ingredients with ice in a mixing glass. Stir until cold. Strain into a cocktail glass and serve immediately.
Note-This post is part of the DailyBuzz Food Tastemaker program with Ghirardelli Intense Dark Chocolate. DailyBuzz Food provided the chocolate and compensation for this post but all opinions are my own.

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