Saturday, April 29, 2006

chocolate wine

as all subscribers know, the sunday nytimes mag shows up with part of the saturday paper, and what catches my eye, but the chocolate wine recipe? (this won't actually be posted on the website until later this sat. evening.)

this recipe is an update of an 18th cent. english concoction, and requires valrhona chocolate, banyuls, and milk. gentle readers know that i am one of the few people who is guaranteed to have all of these ingredients at her fingertips at all times.

so it was no effort to wander into the kitchen and make this in the microwave, frankly, reducing the recipe amounts by guess-timation for just one serving. i also ditched the milk chocolate -- ultra-milky chocolate is popular in england, true, but not in my household -- for the valrhona 85%.

wine and milk are a difficult mix (i think light cream or half-n-half would have been a better and more authentic choice, myself) so i understand why the recipe calls for boiling the wine to get rid of the alcohol. the alcohol would most likely curdle the milk.

i just microwaved my banyuls gently to heat it, and then tried my best to set it aflame to get rid of as much alcohol as i could. this was moderately successful, so i think really if you going to give this recipe a serious go, you'd want to evaporate the alcohol from the banyuls gently in a saucepan.

(this begs the question of why you would want to do this to a gorgeous and quality banyuls, which in my nabe starts at US$40 a bottle.)

ok, the banyuls is ready. so i took a small chunk of the valrhona, put in a cup with an oz. of milk, and melted that nicely in the microwave. long-time readers know that i believe the microwave has only 2 legitimate uses: melting chocolate without seizing, and defrosting tomato sauce for pizza.

ok, so i basically had a hot-chocolate base, which i was going to dilute with the intense black cherry/black plum, vanilla, and vaguely cinnamon flavor of the banyuls. so you see, while the idea of chocolate wine may sound odd at first, the sensations in the banyuls are actually going to be ok with a nice slightly fruity chocolate.

this is why i chose the valrhona 85% -- not only because i had it lying around the house. and because the banyuls is a low-toned wine, the brightness of the valrhona 85% that caused the hard-core chocophiles to complain seemed like it might be a balancing asset here.

ok, so now i have about a 5 oz. beverage here, and i drink it. it's surprising, and not bad.

it's a winter drink however; i have no idea why the times published it in the spring. if i were to do this again, i would definitely add some cinnamon to create more interest and to highlight the slight cinnamon feeling in the banyuls.

still, it's more of a curiosity than something i would actually bother to make for myself or serve to guests. think of it as that kind of quirky "renaissance faire" fare you eat in a muddy cow pasture on a piece of stale bread while milling about among morris dancers in drooping velvet motley.

something to quaff out of a leather mug. . .i have zero idea why one of the supposedly best restaurants in the world would serve it, other than for foodie buzz.

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posted by fortune | 8:30 AM | top | link to this | email this: | links to this post | | 0 comments

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