If history has shown that a few bites of chocolate can lead to conquests, there is no wonder that this delectable confection is a must for every sweetheart! Of course, those who mastered their enemies and seduced lovers may have had a bottle of wine to match with many of those chocolates! So bring on the sweets from Mayana Chocolate, add a bit of Ruby Reserve dessert wine from Lynfred Winery, and have a memorable Valentine’s Day! It’s a date…but will this be a perfect match?
Of all the choices of chocolate available, there is a Chicago-based chocolatier which has a box as beautiful on the inside as it is on the outside. Mayana Chocolate was founded in 2008 by Daniel Herskovic, a chef and chocolatier who graduated from the California Culinary Academy, trained with talented chefs in New York and San Francisco, and apprenticed in pastry and cooking with Paul Bertolli. His own business as a chef and caterer led him to further professional studies in sweet cuisine. Once Herskovic began creating luxury offerings to his catering clients, the high demand for those confections resulted in another venture…Mayana Chocolate!
Their “16 piece” box ($37.00) is a scintillating collection of the most decadent chocolates I have had in well, ages. Just think about savoring their Lime and Raspberry with a burst of fresh lime juice then vanilla bean, Venezuelan chocolate, and a thin layer of raspberry pate de fruit.
How about the thought of seduction by the Mint Dark Chocolate using fresh (and I mean fresh) mint and chocolate ganache (which was my personal favorite)? Consider the lure of the Mayan Spice selection which was dark chocolate ganache with spices of ancho chile, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper – you must believe me… this works! There were more! The piece of Fleur de Sel Caramel and Hazelnut Carmel had a delicious mouthfeel with a smooth yet crunchy texture and the Passion Fruit Heart was a sultry, creamy white chocolate and passion fruit ganache encased in white and dark chocolate. Rich, sexy, daring, flavorful are the words to describe the chocolates of Mayana.
Lynfred Winery Ruby Reserve
Another Illinois based venture, Lynfred Winery is located in Roselle which is 40 miles west of Chicago. Its General Manager and Director of Winemaking, Andres Basso, was Chilean born and bred and has experience creating wines in a variety of styles from a several producers in California, Washington, Michigan, and Illinois. His education at the Universidad de Chile along with experience with well known wineries in Chile, Napa, and northern Virginia have made a positive impact upon the quality and choices of wines being produced at Lynfred. And then there is the Ruby Reserve ($35.00)! Deep brown and ruby tones could be found in the glass and intense aromas of dried raisins and plum led to warm and sweet tastes of more raisins (and 18% alcohol). Would this strong, gentlemanly dessert wine pair with these sultry, tempting chocolates?
Each chocolate in the 16 piece box was tasted with the Ruby Reserve, and many, but not all, I considered a perfect pairing. If the chocolates had strong fruit flavors, this dessert wine was not a match due to its high alcohol and intense raisin taste. In some cases, the wine neutralized, or even masked, the richness of the fruit. Instead, the Ruby Reserve was a delicious pairing with those chocolates featuring caramel and nutty flavors – none overpowered the other leading to a potential lasting relationship. The Caramel and Cocoa Nib Praline, the Sumatra Coffee and Coriander Praline, Peanut Ginger Tanzanian Ganache, Fleur de Sel Caramel and Hazelnut Caramel, Bourbon-Pecan Marzipan and Cinnamon Ganache, and the Earl Gray Tea and Lemon were conquered by the Ruby Reserve and the rest, as they say, is history!
Beautiful and alluring chocolates from Mayana and a strong stalwart Ruby Reserve dessert wine from Lynfred may be the start of something quite special. Happy Valentine’s Day and may your conquests be successful this holiday season!
2842 W. Howard
Chicago, IL 60645
15 S. Roselle Road
Roselle, IL 60172