What I love about my crew is that this geek thing runs pretty deep with us. The original 3 – Dan, Mezz and Nik (that’s me) all work together in the north burbs. Among other things we engineer solutions as veteran members of the Client Platform Services team at our day job. CBG Dan’s place in Round Lake Beach often serves as the backdrop for our homebrewing adventures. It is also where we decided to connect for something we have never done before – a beer & chocolate pairing! The feature presentations included gourmet treats from our friends at Vosges Haut Chocolat- A Chicago based gourmet chocolatier. I am huge fan of what this company represents. They are all about esteemed craftsmanship and conscious innovation. In that regard they see the world much the same way that many of our favorite breweries do.
Let’s get right to it. The tasting consisted of 2 truffle collections (The Mash Bill & The Toucan Guinness) along with 1 chocolate bar (Smoke & Stout Caramel Bar). The goal for us was to celebrate how versatile beer is as a companion to any food, including dessert. Along for the ride were Goose Island Matilda, Southern Tier Creme Brulee, Firestone Walker Reserve and 3 Floyds Dark Lord (2012). We took a round robin approach, trying small bites of chocolate with each beer. The surprise for all of us had to be Matilda. Named after the widow who lost her ring in the Legend of Orval, it was easily the most versatile beer choice of the day. It consistently created a harmony with each chocolate. Matilda’s effervescence, complex maltiness and slightly bitter fruit notes made for a nice compliment to these decadent chocolates. Each bite was like enjoying your first bite. The best overall pairing may have been this beer and the Toucan Guinness Truffle.
I admire how well crafted the presentations are for each collection. Thick, beautiful linen cloth boxes adorned with bright green bows. The recipes in the Mash Bill Collection truffles were developed including spirits from some of the most well-known distilleries around. Templeton Rye Whiskey and Four Rose Single Bourbon Barrel just to name a few. The Smoke & Stout Caramel Bar was a captivating combination of Rogue’s Chocolate Stout beer, Alderwood smoked salt, burnt sugar caramel and dark chocolate! An alluring combination to say the least. You find your self abandoning the use of words to describe the experience, and just enjoy the ride.
The Vosages Haut-Chocolat company is the most interesting of chocolatiers. Their creations stem from a process described by the founder as falling in love with beauty, following the curiosity that occurs and taking action on it to create a sensory experience. They have 4 local boutique locations, the Lincoln Park location was prepping for a chocolate & rum party when we dropped in for a visit recently. You can find these wonderful sweets at over 14 different retail locations in the Chicagoland area including Whole Foods Gold Coast and Neiman Marcus. There are over 100 gift items for sale currently on their website. The 5th best selling item is a Bacon + Beer Gift Box. It includes 2 Mo’s Milk Chocolate Bacon Bars, Flying Bacon + Chocolate Pig + 22 ounce bottle of Rogue Shakespeare Stout in a Gift Box!