I Love Where I Live: Imagine a Chocolate Created for A Specific Bottle of Wine?

Sweet Earth Chocolates

Yes, you might say we go a little crazy about our wines grown here on the Central Coast. I mean for years, we've been treated as the red-haired stepchild to our big brother - Napa Valley. Finally, yes, finally we've begun to be recognized for the outstanding wines being produced throughout San Luis Obispo County.
So, yeah, we love our wines. If you live in the area, you can't help but get caught up in the creativity and raw energy that propels the genius behind our winemaking gurus (and there are quite a few.) Who would have considered that this particular blend of Grenache, Viognier, and Syrah would produce such a thought-provoking and entrancing wine?

Well, that's what happens around here: we've got all these winemaking geniuses crafting their own blends, fermenting and maturing them uniquely, resulting in very different wines despite the use of similar grape varietals. Many of these wines are produced in extremely limited quantities - they may only produce 400 or 1000 cases. Yet, as I said, we go a little crazy about our wines.

Enter Sweet Earth Chocolates: The latest innovation happening on the Central Coast wine scene is being led by Tom and Eve Neuhaus of Sweet Earth Chocolates. Already operating a successful and much loved institution offering organic, vegan and fair-trade chocolates, Tom and Eve are venturing into that sultry and decadent place of pairing fine wines with equally fine chocolates.

Oh I know, people have been pairing wine and chocolate for ages - they go together as naturally as did Bogie and Bacall. But the folks at Sweet Earth are doing something that hasn't been done before: they are formulating truffles not just to complement a specific varietal or blend of wine - but are actually creating a chocolate for a specific bottle of wine. For example: they are taking a 2009 Petit Syrah from Vina Robles Winery, and based on the unique flavor profile of what that vintage presents are creating a truffle to accentuate, enhance and complement the character of that specific bottle of wine.

Never before, at least that I am aware of, has the mating of wine and chocolate been taken to such a level of exclusivity and sophistication. The reward of these singular wine/chocolate pairings however is a bona fide trip for your palate to sensory heaven as each partner of the pair plays off the other and raises the experience to the surreal.

Well, I did warn you... we do get a little crazy about our wines. I hear another winery by the name of Anglim is working with Sweet Earth to develop truffles for their wines; I didn't think Anglim's Mourvedre could get any better, but a truffle made to be enjoyed with my favorite Mourvedre...well, I'm there!

I have the distinct sense this is the start of something big, and to think it's being pioneered by our own local folk. The people at Sweet Earth can keep you up to date on the wineries they are working with in developing these pairing.

Sweet Earth Chocolates is located at 1445 Monterey St. in San Luis Obispo, or visit them on the web at: http://sweetearthchocolateshop.com

Vina Robles' Tasting Room is located at 3700 Mill Rd., in Paso Robles or visit them on the web at: http://www.vinarobles.com

Anglim's Tasting Room is located at 740 Pine St. in Paso Robles or visit them on the web at: http://www.anglimwinery.com


Laura Gurreau
Central Coast Food Tours