IF servings of rich hand-made Swiss chocolates was not enough to pamper their card members and guests, American Express Platinum paired the dainty treats with wine at Denise, the Wine Shop in Desa Sri Hartamas, Kuala Lumpur, recently.
The pairing featured four types of Grandjean Freres truffles: raspberry, mocha, mandarin and whisky.
Malaysian actor, singer and emcee Deanna Yusoff, who was present at the event, explained to guests that the chocolates were from a family-run bakery near her mother’s hometown in Fribourg, Switzerland.
“They started out as bakers and wanted to offer their customers something more than breads and pastries so they started making these truffles. It is hand-made with all natural ingredients. They only make a limited amount each time so you can be sure of the freshness,” said Deanna, who is the sole distributor of the chocolates in Malaysia for the past two years through phone and e-mail orders.
“We need to learn how to appreciate chocolate. Like wine, you should smell it when you pick it up. Take a bite and let it melt in your mouth and cover your tongue. Push it up to the roof of your mouth and you will not only taste the sweetness but also experience the different layers of the chocolate on your taste buds,” she said.
Paolo Tan from Denise was tasked with pairing the wines with the chocolates, which he admitted to be quite challenging.
“Most of the time, we would pair chocolates as a dessert course but this is the first time that I’ve been asked to pair four different chocolates with wine,” said Tan.
He said that he took the time to take in the smell of the chocolate and taste the structure of each variety before deciding on the kinds of wine to pair it with.
Tan paired the Raspberry Truffle, which was covered with milk chocolate and had a light hint of sweetness, with the equally light and slightly fruity Geoff Hardy Hand Crafted Merlot.
Tan said it was important to take into consideration the body of the wine and match it to the body of the food it was paired with.
The Mocha Truffle was paired with the Maxwell Little Demon Cabernet Merlot, which had a fuller body than the Merlot to go with the rich chocolate.
The Mandarin Truffle, covered with white chocolate and had a sweeter taste, was paired with the sweet Pertaringa Moscato, a wine that was easy to drink and a hit with the ladies.
Saving the best for last, the Grandjean Freres signature Whisky Truffles was paired with the Rene & Mure Clos St Landelin Vendanges Tardives Pinot Gris, which was a dessert wine with a stronger texture than the Moscato.
The sweet cocoa smell from the Whisky Truffle was in itself a delight, and a bite into the square chocolate pieces covered in a soft dusting of cocoa powder leaves a pure sensation of pleasure on the palate as the soft truffle melts into the mouth.
Deanna said that it was this Whisky Truffle that got her started on her small business venture. “Someone brought it over to my mother’s house but we didn’t think much of it because chocolates are so common in Switzerland. We tried it and was surprised at how amazing it tasted so I brought some back to Malaysia for my friends. People kept asking me to buy it when I go back there so I thought it was time for me to sell it in Malaysia,” she said.
She said that it was initially quite tough to push the brand here because Malaysians were not so willing to try brands that they had not heard of.
“But thankfully, word started spreading about how good the chocolates were and business picked up and I started bringing in the other flavours as well,” said Deanna.
Those who want to find out more about the Grandjean Freres chocolates can call 03-7493 7090, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.grandjeanfreres.com.
For information on the wines, call Denise the Wine Shop at 03-2300 1648.