Julie is the author of a number of guidebooks, including 'Melbourne's Best Bush Bay and City Walks' & 'Melbourne for Dogs' (with RSPCA). Read more of her adventures at her walks blog: walksmelbourne.com
Published July 21st 2012
Beer Goes With ..... Chocolate?
OK, who's kidding me here? As a sadly enthusiastic fan of everything and all things chocolate, I will pretty much have a go at anything containing that mystical little cocoa bean: syrupy bitter hot chocolates in Spain, light-as-a-feather chocolate mousses at Christmas, Easter eggs in all their incarnations, even chocolate sauce on my roast beef (seriously - it's Latin and it's delicious), but it has never, and I mean, NEVER occurred to me that beer and chocolate were a natural pairing.
Chocolate and Beer? Oh Yeah!
Not so! cries the team from Szalon Mamor in Collingwood, home also to Melbourne's most decadent high tea. Buoyed by the success of the bespoke event which was part of Good Beer Week, chocolatiers Hanna and Howard Fredericks will host the event on the last Friday of each month, with occasional guest brewers to help you with your tasting notes and make your way through the six boutique beers matched with 12 special chocolate truffles.
Kangaroo Salami Dark Chocolate anyone? Apparently it's a rip snorter with Mountain Goat's Black Pepperberry Ale, and the Orange Cointreau Truffle gently complements the tones of the Red Hill Wheat Beer. You also have freshly baked and slightly salty Hungarian potato scones to cleanse your palate (and no doubt to soak up some of that alcohol!) in-between tastes. Part of the evening involves being shown how to use a tasting flavour wheel developed by 'Chocdiva' Hanna, who comes fully armed with a PhD in Food Chemistry along with an absolute passion for chocolates. The wheel helps you to analyse and match your beers and wine and to record your impressions on a tasting card. You will learn to identify the different 'personalities' of flavours, including nutty, spicy, flowery, fruity, vegetable and roasted.
Sample of tasting notes from the Chocolate-Beer Pairing Event
So if you have one of those palates that is getting a little tired and want to push the boat out, or if you are looking for something to do on a Friday night with friends that will give you great dinner conversation starters for weeks to come (...yeah, the last time I necked that Mountain Goat Beer, I topped it off with a rosemary and sea salt chocolate), or if you are desperately seeking a way to combine a bloke's idea of heaven with a girl's - I reckon beer and chocolate tasting may well just about do the trick. Who would have thought?