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Pike Chocofest 2010 Review

Anne Boyington Serving Trevani Truffles

Anne Boyington Serving Trevani Truffles

On February 11, a crowd infiltrated Pike Brewing Company for the 2nd annual Chocofest – a pairing of chocolate with wine, beer, and spirits.  One thing that immediately sets this event apart is the hospitality of the brewery’s owners, Charles and Rose Ann Finkel. They are such gracious hosts, introducing themselves to attendees and thanking them for coming. How many times do you attend a big event and even know who the hosts are, much less have them come up and speak to you? That’s impressive in my book.

I was looking forward to this event with much anticipation. In fact, I have such a fixation with chocolate that I have graduated with honors from Theo Chocolate Academy. No kidding, they’ve awarded me certificates that declare that I have eaten a statistically significant number of chocolate samples, and have mastered the art of chocolate eating.  So you can believe me when I say that for a true chocolate lover, this event did not disappoint.

Bites and Sips

If you were one of the unfortunates who did not purchase tickets before Chocofest sold out, here are some of the highlights:

Mount Baker Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon paired with the Valor 70% premium dark chocolate bar with forest fruits is a match made in Heaven. The fruit in the Cab and the fruit in the chocolate complement one another perfectly. This proves that wine and chocolate can go together!

Confection Box by Carter's Chocolates

Carter’s Chocolate had a beautiful display featuring chocolates emblazoned with the Pike Brewery logo and flavored with Pike Ales. The Pike XXXXX Stout truffle is a stand out.

Leonidas white chocolate pistachio truffle presented by Bottleworks paired with Scharfenberger Brut poured by Noble Wines was the hubby’s favorite match. He was right when he said about the truffle, ‘That is not just any pistachio, that is in your face pistachio!” I bet the Brut would also be terrific with a handmade Mist truffle by Anne Boyington of Trevani Truffles. However, I gulped down that luscious, creamy, green tea infused, white chocolate confection before I could even consider it. With some truffles you have to wonder what the subtle background flavor is, but not with Trevani Truffles.

Gelatiamo’s White Chocolate Tandem Gelato with Cocoa Nibs paired with Pacific Distillery’s Pacifique Absinthe Verte Superieur was Bean’s favorite pairing of the night. The gelato is worthy of a trip downtown and even paying for parking. The hints of coriander and fruitiness from the Pike Tandem Double Ale shine through. If you want to know about the absinthe, you’ll have to ask Bean!

Absinthe Decanter

Domaine Drouhin Pinot Noir paired with  Claudio Corallo 80% chocolate is worth a try. This is serious chocolate, so deep, toasty, and smokey you think that it could teach wine a thing or two about terroir. The delightfully crunchy texture comes from nibs in the bar. Oh, and did you know that they have a new shop in the south Lake Union area on Westlake?

One of the surprise bites of the evening came from Ritrovo Foods, the folks who purvey that elegant truffle salt that surfaced in Seattle specialty stores a few years ago. Imagine that salt embedded in Xocalati dark chocolate. At first I thought, “Well, yeah, that’s good chocolate, but where’s the…oh, wait for it….there it is!” That distinctive earthy and familiar flavor shows up on the finish, and it’s fantastic with chocolate.  Who new?

Oh! Chocolate Display of Pike Stout Truffles

Do you prefer chocolate confections that highlight the chocolate with just a hint of another flavor? Try the Oh! Chocolate Pike Stout truffles.

Even though I’ve tasted plenty of Theo chocolate, I am not one to resist a sample of the Origin 74% Madagascar bar with a sip of Samuel Smith Organic Raspberry Beer. Did you know you can purchase a Theo Chocolate and Beer Pairing Kit?
As we made our way to each table, I was relieved that the setup for the event allowed us ample room so that I wasn’t getting elbowed all night. At one point, we even found a table to sit at, something that is rare at many large events. I attribute these niceties to such thoughtful hosts having carefully considered the comfort of their guests.
My only regret is that I was unable to sample everything available. The Pike Chcofest goes down in my book as a fantastic event. If you’ve ever been a nay-sayer who proclaims that wine and chocolate do not go together, plan on going to Chocofest next year and become a believer!

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