Handmade Chocolate Bunnies

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Chocolate Bunnies

Handmade Chocolate BunniesEver wondered why we celebrate Easter with Chocolate Bunnies?  Or how they are made?  Or how big the largest one ever made was?   Read on for the answers to these questions and everything else you ever wanted to know about chocolate bunnies.

When was the first Chocolate Bunny made?

Chocolate bunnies were initially created in Germany in the mid-19th century.  They gained mass appeal in 1890 when American shop owner Robert Strohecker created a five-foot-tall chocolate bunny as an Easter promotion in his drug store.

Why Bunnies for Easter?

In medieval Europe the rabbit was a popular symbol for spring because of it’s fecundity.  A German legend said that after a long winter’s sleep an Easter bunny would lay bright-colored eggs in the grass for good children to find.

How many Chocolate Bunnies are made each year?

Popular estimates say that about ninety million chocolate Easter bunnies are produced worldwide every year.

Why are Chocolate Bunnies hollow?

One major reason Chocolate Bunnies are made hollow is that once a piece of chocolate is over about ½ inch thick it becomes nearly impossible to bite into and enjoy.  Making bunnies hollow allows chocolatiers to make them larger for visual impact but still enjoyable to eat.  The practice of making bunnies hollow gained popularity in America during WWII cocoa rationing.  Hollow bunnies could be produced using far less chocolate than their solid counterparts.

How are Chocolate Bunnies made?

To make a chocolate bunny, molten chocolate is poured into a bunny shaped mold.  The mold is then shaken to remove air bubbles and rotated so that the chocolate forms a thin, even shell.  After the chocolate cools it can be removed from the mold and packaged for sale.  Large factories do this all by machine, smaller shops (like us) pour, shake, and rotate all by hand.

How big is the World’s largest chocolate bunny

The largest chocolate bunny ever made was made in 2014 for Chocofest in Brazil.  It weighed over 8,000 pounds and was over 13 feet tall.  If you are interested in purchasing a giant chocolate bunny the largest one we could find comes from Miesse Candies in Lancaster, PA.  Miesse’s giant bunnies weigh over 25 pounds, are 3 feet tall and cost $500 each.  If you’re looking for a more reasonable big bunny we offer a hand decorated extra large bunny in our shop that weighs over 2 pounds and cost $49.95.

How much is the Most Expensive Chocolate Bunny?1

The world’s most expensive bunny was hand carved by a European chef and sells for about $49,000.   Careful when you bite into him, his eyes are made of 1.7 carat diamonds.

What are the different kinds of chocolate bunnies?

These days chocolate bunnies can be found dressed up like cowboys, riding a motorcycle, getting married, playing sports and just about anything you or your local chocolatier can imagine.  The Bortz Chocolate Company in Reading, Pa. is credited with being the first company to introduce bunny personalities with its accordion playing bunny in 1934.   You can check out the bunny personalities we offer here.

What’s the most popular kind of Chocolate Bunny?

While chocolate bunnies can be found in milk, dark and white chocolates hollow or filled with a variety of nuts, caramels, and ganaches; the most popular bunny is still a hollow milk chocolate bunny.

 

How long does it take to eat a 1.25 pound chocolate bunny?

At the Wolfgang Candy Company’s annual chocolate bunny eating competition the record is about 9 minutes.  We suspect it will take you a little longer.

Weirdest Chocolate Bunny?

We can’t decide which is weirder, Benedict Cummberbunny or the Zombie bunny.  Leave your comment below and let us know what you think.

Other fun bunny facts

87% of parents will buy or make Easter baskets for their children—and 81% will then proceed to steal candy from them.

89% of Americans think chocolate bunnies should be eaten ears first.  5% prefer to begin with the tail.

A Fluffle is a group of bunnies… if you are in Northern Canada.

Tuxedo Chocolate Covered Strawberries

What Makes Great Chocolate Covered Strawberries?

Strawbtuxedo strawberrieserries and chocolate – always a delicious combination!

No matter the occasion, you simply can’t go wrong with a classic display of love and affection like chocolate covered strawberries. You can find these delectable treats just about anywhere, but what makes a quality chocolate-covered strawberry?
Chocolate lovers know that all chocolate is not created equal. In fact, there are two types of chocolate – real chocolate and compound chocolate. The difference lies in the fat or oil used. Compound chocolate also known as compound coating contains vegetable oil instead of the cocoa butter that is used in real chocolate. This makes compound chocolate less expensive than real chocolate, and with a lower price you have  lower quality.
While real chocolate contains cocoa butter, the quality of the cocoa beans and the actual quantity of cocoa butter included in the recipe also plays an important role in determining the best chocolate to use for chocolate-covered strawberries.

Chocolate Couverture

Chocolate couverture has a high quantity of cocoa butter, excellent quality cocoa beans and melts smoothly – a process known as tempering. This is a fine, professional chocolate that is perfect for candy making and molding.  Due to the difficulty of working with this type of chocolate it’s best left to professional chocolatiers – like our team at The Chocolate Fetish. This is why when you get chocolate-covered strawberries from us, the taste is worlds above those that you get in the grocery store or even make at home.

Perfect Strawberries

In addition to choosing the right chocolate, it is important to choose the right berry when making chocolate covered strawberries. The fruit should be just as high of quality as the chocolate. We select only the freshest strawberries for our delectable treats, making sure that they are stored at room temperature to stay fresh, and they are dipped many times throughout the day to maximize freshness.

Freshness

The final key to creating the best chocolate covered strawberries is freshness.  When a strawberry is covered in chocolate the moisture in the berry immediately begins to degrade the quality of the chocolate.  That is why we always dip our berries fresh throughout the day in very small batches.  We also recommend that you consume chocolate covered strawberries within 24 hours for best quality.
Now that you know the complex creation of chocolate-covered strawberries, don’t just grab off-the-shelf berries for your next treat – turn to the professionals at The Chocolate Fetish for your next Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day or Father’s Day gift. Our chocolate covered strawberries are available Fridays and Saturdays from Mother’s Day to Father’s Day. We have created award-winning chocolate creations for 30 years, and you can trust that every delicious creation we make will taste amazing and impress all the loved ones in your life. Stop by our store in Asheville, North Carolina, today or give us a call at 828-258-2353 today!

Ways to Say ‘I Love You’ this Valentine’s Day

Premium, fresh chocolate is one of the most thoughtful gifts to surprise your sweetheart with on Valentine’s Day. With award-winning, handmade chocolates from The Chocolate Fetish, your valentine will experience the full flavor of only the finest, locally sourced ingredients and the unbeatable taste of high-quality, gourmet chocolate.

shoesbill1Now that you have found the best handmade artisan chocolate on the market, what will you write to your love on the card? One of our favorite things about Valentine’s Day cards is reading the notes customers write to accompany their Valentine’s Day gifts. From romantic words to silly sayings, here are some ideas for what to write in your Valentine’s Day cards this year.

 

Puns/Pick-Up Lines

If your valentine enjoys a good pun or cheesy pick-up line, try one of the following ways to say “I love you” in your card. Perfect for the couple who loves a good laugh, these types of one-liners will keep your sweetheart smiling the whole holiday.

Find a pun from your valentine’s favorite movie for extra brownie points.
“If you were a Transformer, you’d be Optimus FINE.”

Food puns abound on the internet, or you could make up your own to match your love’s favorite food.  “
Are you a banana? Because I find you a-peel-ing.”

Wordsmiths are sure to delight in this true play on words – or, well, letters, at least.
“If I could rearrange the alphabet, I’d put U and I together.”

 

Quotes

Quotes about love from romantic movies, romance novels and famous celebrities are another great way to show your valentine how much you care this holiday. Here are a few Valentine’s Day ideas to consider.

A memorable quote from 2002’s “A Walk to Remember,” this is perfect to write in the card of a mushy romantic.
“Love is like the wind: You can’t see it, but you can feel it.” – “A Walk to Remember”

Short and to the point, this quote will tell your sweetheart you know exactly where your heart belongs.
“My heart is, and always will be, yours.” – “Sense and Sensibility”

This quote is perfect for your spouse or fiancé, only reinforcing how much they mean to you and are such a huge part of their life.
“You don’t marry someone you can live with. You marry the person you cannot live without.” –Unknown

 

Poems

While it would be easiest to simply pick one of the lines above to write in your card, try your hand at writing a quick poem for your valentine instead. A quick four-line poem to accompany your chocolates will only add to their Valentine’s Day goodies, and they will appreciate your thoughtful creativity.

If you get stuck, you can always make your own variation on the classic “Roses are red, violets are blue” motif. If you’re truly suffering writer’s block, you can finish it with this cliché line: “This chocolate is sweet, and so are you!”

 

Compliments

Sometimes, a simple note about why you love your significant other is all they truly need to feel loved during this holiday. Consider adding in a compliment or quick story about how you met to show some extra appreciation. Here are some Valentine’s Day ideas to help you get started:

“Happy Valentine’s Day! I love that you …”

“I fell in love with you when …”

“You’ll always have my heart! I want you to know …”

However you say it, we can say it for you. Our gift cards are all handwritten with care by our staff, and with nationwide delivery, we can send chocolates to anywhere in the country. Our shipping deadline is approaching soon – for guaranteed Valentine’s Day delivery, your order must be complete before noon Feb. 9! Find the perfect gift for your valentine from The Chocolate Fetish and contact us today with any questions.

 

The Rise of Artisanal Chocolate

For the better part of the last century, chocolate culture in America had been suffering from something of an identity crisis. Americans have always loved chocolate, but until recently many of us have tended to favor quantity at the expense of quality. Mass produced chocolates distributed in king-sized packages, designed to be devoured rather than savored, have dominated the market – leaving consumers with a sweet, albeit somewhat unsatisfying taste lingering in their collective mouth.

Over the course of the past twenty years, however, a small, devoted group of chocolatiers has made it their mission to provide American consumers with a fresh, great-tasting alternative to supermarket chocolates. These enterprising souls treat chocolate making as a creative endeavor, a craft, even a calling. At The Chocolate Fetish, we’re proud to be part of this movement to bring the time-honored tradition of fine chocolate making to a new generation of sweet-tooths.

We always serve our chocolates with a smile.

We work closely with a network of chocolate makers in order to personally select the chocolates that comprise our truffles, bars, sea salt caramels, and other delectable delights. We choose each chocolate based on its unique flavor profile in order to produce confections of uncommon quality for our patrons. Then, we employ traditional chocolate-making techniques in order to infuse contemporary ideas with classic sensibilities.

Delving into the rich world of artisanal chocolate might seem intimidating to the uninitiated, but there are a few easily identifiable features to look for that are indicative of good-quality chocolate. The chocolate should be shiny rather than dull, and free of any streaks, spots, or residues. The chocolate should smell like chocolate, and it should have an audible snap when you break it in half. Finally, it should feel pleasantly smooth in your mouth; not dry or waxy. High-quality chocolates are also typically made with cocoa butter rather than vegetable oil substitutions.

Many people associate darker chocolate with high-quality chocolate, but this is not necessarily the case. You won’t have to look too far to find dark chocolates of inferior quality, and there are plenty of examples of exceptional milk chocolate out there as well. Likewise, it’s best to make these judgements on a case-by-case basis. In determining which kind of chocolate is better – extra dark, dark, or milk – we think it’s best to go with your proverbial gut. If it tastes good, enjoy it!

Stop in today, and find out just how delicious a box of chocolates can be. Want to learn more about our trade? Check out our chocolate facts page for more information.

 

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Why We Traditionally Give Chocolate on Valentine’s Day

For as long as most of us can remember, chocolate has been the number one gift-giving choice for Valentine’s Day – especially when paired with a beautiful bouquet of flowers. It’s been this way for so long that very few people ever question where this tradition originated from. However, we’re asking now; how did chocolate come to be such a traditional Valentine’s Day treat?

Though Valentine’s Day was not always recognized as a day of love and romance, during the 1840s the Victorians relished the idea of displaying affection by innocently showering their intendeds with gifts. According to History.com, it was around this time that Richard Cadbury, heir to the well-known chocolate manufacturing company, saw an opportunity to capitalize.

At the time, chocolate had primarily been enjoyed as a beverage. After Cadbury discovered a new way to extract pure cocoa butter directly from a bean however, things began to evolve. It not only resulted in a better tasting product, but also left the company with enough extra cocoa butter to produce different types of “eating chocolate”. Because stories of Cupid were so popular during this time period and knights were known to gift their women with roses, Cadbury chose to use this knowledge to his company’s advantage. They began selling their chocolates in heart-shaped boxes adorned with images of roses and the small, winged God to create the association between the chocolates and love – and it worked.

Today, the link between love and this decadent, confectionery treat remains. The only thing that has seemed to alter is the fact that we have had hundreds of years to perfect the art of chocolatiering.

If you’re planning to spend a romantic evening at home with a special someone this Valentine’s Day, don’t forget that our handmade artisan chocolates can be perfectly complemented with a crisp glass of wine. For reference, explore the Wine and Chocolate page of our website before placing your holiday order. If you don’t consider yourself much of a wine drinker, don’t worry; we have also outlined the best chocolate and beer pairings to accommodate all taste buds.

Delicious artisan chocolates and quality one-on-one time spent with the one person you care for most. What’s not to fall in love with? Allow us to help make the day extra special. Contact The Chocolate Fetish today to ensure your order arrives in time for the most romantic day of the year.

 

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Make Your Thanksgiving Dinner Table One to Remember

Now that the month of November is officially upon us, one of the most prominent topics on everyone’s minds seems to be Thanksgiving and the subsequent preparation that goes along with it. For those who have chosen to host the festivities at their own table this year, we have one piece of advice on how to make your Thanksgiving dinner one to remember: think outside of the turkey.

Certainly, the turkey and its trimmings should leave both you and you guests feeling more than satisfied, but it’s important to remember that for some, the most exciting part of every meal is the dessert that follows.

Amongst the plethora of pies that adorn your dessert table each year, we would highly encourage you to add an array of gorgeous, handmade artisan chocolates from The Chocolate Fetish, as well.

As previously mentioned, overindulging in a large Thanksgiving meal may sometimes cause a guest to pass on dessert. Though their sweet tooth may be craving a taste of sugar, the limited option of one heavy slice of pie or another may simply be too much. Offering an assortment of small yet delectable truffles, caramels, frogs and more will not only add variety to your table, but it will eliminate any reason for someone to ignore that sweet tooth.Handmade Artisan Chocolates for Thanksgiving | The Chocolate Fetish

When placing your holiday order with us, remember that though our petite chocolate creations are considered a favorite among many, your size options are not limited to bite-sized sweets. The Chocolate Fetish’s larger, hand-decorated chocolate pumpkins and Jack O’Lanterns, along with our chocolate turkeys and hand-painted maple leaves not only make delicious desserts, but perfect table centerpieces, as well. We believe that being able to indulge in your table’s ornaments once Thanksgiving dinner has come to an end is a far better alternative than storing them away for another year; don’t you? There’s no better way to enjoy chocolate than as a dessert and as an art.

To ensure that your chocolates ship and arrive in time for Thanksgiving dinner, please be sure to place all orders before noon on Friday, November 21st. Visit our website today and inquire about what our chocolatiers can create for you.

 

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Pick Your Chocolate Purse!

Hand Sculpted Chocolate Purses.  Yes!  They are as delicious as they are beautiful.

Hand Sculpted Chocolate Purses. Yes! They are as delicious as they are beautiful.

What’s the only thing more exciting than winning a designer hand bag?  Winning a hand sculpted chocolate purse!  We are so excited about an upcoming promotion we are sponsoring with local radio station, Mix 96.5!  The promotion, “Pick Your Purse” begins next week and gives 96 people the chance to win great prizes including $1000 cash, designer handbags, hand sculpted chocolate purses, massages and more!  I know your excited to hear more about the chocolate purses… but hold on a second while I tell you all about how “Pick Your Purse” works and how you can win $1000 which may actually be better than winning a hand sculpted chocolate purse… although then again, maybe not.

Starting next Monday you can go to Mix 96.5’s website and register to qualify.  Then listen to 96.5 and if you hear your name called out call to claim your spot as a finalist.  On Saturday, December 7th join us at Paramount Kia in Asheville for your chance to win any number of great prizes, and taste some special chocolate samples.  At the event there will be a reverse raffle with the final 12 names called getting to pick one of a dozen designer handbags for their prize.  When all 12 finalists have selected their purses they will open them together and one lucky winner will find $1000 stuffed inside.  Everyone that qualifies as a finalist will win some sort of prize, it may be a gift card from The Chocolate Fetish, or a free massage or facial from Massage Envy, or any number of other fabulous prizes.

Here you can see the first stage of creating chocolate purses.  Later I will add handles, buckles, buttons and other embellishments, all made out of chocolate of course!

Here you can see the first stage of creating chocolate purses. Later I will add handles, buckles, buttons and other embellishments, all made out of chocolate of course!

Winners’ number 13, 14 and 15 will each get to choose from three Chocolate purse sculptures.  You can’t stuff it full of all your miscellaneous paraphernalia but you can eat the entire decadently delicious thing, if you can bring yourself to destroy it.  Each chocolate purse is made entirely from our high quality custom blended chocolates and each one is a unique one of a kind edible masterpiece.

So which would you rather have?  A one of a kind edible chocolate purse or a designer handbag filled with $1000?

Mix 96.5 Website  http://mix965asheville.com/

Begining a Family Tradition… with chocolate!

Questions about our heirloom quality Advent calendars are pouring in so I thought I would take a moment to answer some of them on our blog.  I grew up with advent calendars.  Every year right after Thanksgiving my mom would give me a small cardboard calendar with 24 perforated doors.  Resisting the urge to drool, I would anxiously await December 1st, the day I got to open the first little door and savor the little morsel of chocolate behind it.  Advent Calendars filled with chocolate were a part of Christmas for me like decorating the tree and making Christmas cookies; they were a tradition I will always cherish.  For generations, families have marked the coming of Christmas in a variety of ways. From simple chalk markings to lighting candles, families have employed unique ways to enjoy the counting of the 24 days before Christmas.

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Here we are getting ready to fill the Advent Calendars with our chocolates. Each box represents a different day. Each bag is filled with two chocolates and decorated with festive holiday garland. You’ll never get the same chocolate twice!

Our Heirloom Advent Calendars are thoughtfully designed with 24 numbered doors behind which are a variety of our handcrafted artisan chocolates.  Every day you can savor a different Christmas themed chocolate shape in a variety of milk, dark and white chocolates.  These wooden calendars can be used year after year providing a tradition that your family is sure to treasure.  We make it easy for you to continue the tradition year after year with refill packages, 24 individually wrapped chocolates ready for you to refill your calendar.

The big question people keep asking me is, “Christmas, already?  It’s not even Halloween yet, why so early?”  For those of us who really get in the Christmas spirit it’s never too early for Christmas but more importantly advent starts on the first of December.  That gives us exactly 35 days to get all these wonderful Advent Calendars filled with delicious chocolate and heading your way.  If you’d like to see all the calendars you can check them out here http://bit.ly/16eBCvp.

Chocolate and Beer Pairing Round 2

Some days my job is pretty sweet.  Venturing out of the shop to do another round of research about chocolate and beer pairing is precisely one of those days.  My retail manager, Joe, was a little disappointed the other day when he didn’t get invited to the first beer and chocolate pairing so knowing that he is a beer connoisseur I offered for him to join me.  The Thirsty Monk seemed like a good choice, not close enough to the shop to run back and grab more chocolates but with their large selection and offering of half pours, a great place to sample and pair.  If you have never been to the Thirsty Monk, I would highly recommend it.  Upstairs is an American Ale House with an impressive number of beers on tap.  You may have to flag down a bartender to get service but once you get there attention they are happy to make suggestions and offer samples before you commit.  Downstairs is a Belgian style pub, which is always a little quieter than upstairs and has a cool cave like atmosphere that is fabulous if you want to escape a hot summer day.

Starting with the lighter beers today we started with a pilsner.  There selection of pilsner’s was somewhat limited so we choose something local and readily available, Oskar Blues Mama’s Little Yella Pils and paired it with the recommended dark chocolate with spice.  I was actually surprised at how many times the ‘experts’ recommended dark chocolate with spice for so many different styles of beer.  We do offer a few different spicy flavors so I attempted to pair a different one with each different beer.  I thought that the rich spiciness of our Ancient Pleasure truffle would be a nice compliment to the refreshing flavor of the pilsner.  The combination brought the spice in the Ancient Pleasures to the forefront in a very pleasing way.  I think Joe would have been happy to end the tasting here and just throw back a few more Pilsners and Ancient Pleasures but I reminded him we were still working.

The next beer on the list is a personal favorite, IPA.  The experts recommended an IPA with crisp hoppy bitterness and we decided to go with the bartender’s suggestion of the Green Flash Citra Session IPA, which fit the bill perfectly.  Again here the recommendation was a dark chocolate with spice or salt.  Unfortunately I forgot to bring a Sea Salt Caramel although I think that would have been a successful pairing so we tried our Chili Cocoa Nib Round with the IPA.  The Chili Cocoa Nib Round is a thin disc of dark chocolate accented with pasilla and ancho chilies and finely ground cocoa nibs.  This was delicious and one of my favorite pairings so far.  I was surprised at how much the beer really enhanced the flavor of our Chili Cocoa Nib Round.

Our final beer upstairs (we were sharing half pours so total beer consumption was pretty minimal) was a Stout.  Last week we had tasted an Imperial Stout but didn’t come up with a successful pairing so we wanted to revisit the stout category and I am glad we did.  Another successful pairing!  The experts suggested coffee with chocolate so we tried our Dark Chocolate Espresso Round and our Mocha Magic Truffle with a rich stout that had undertones of tobacco.  While I am normally a dark chocolate fan I found the sweetness of the milk chocolate in the Mocha Magic to pair very well with the bitterness of the Stout, the dark chocolate was much less successful.

Next we headed downstairs to tackle a few Belgian style ales.  Initially we were planning on trying a Dopplebock and another Lambic but were quickly steered to other flavors on the suggestion of a very excited bartender that seemed to know what he was talking about.  We discussed the chocolate flavors that were left in our box and he made a handful of suggestions.  First we tried the Merry Monks Belgian Triple with our Mountain Sunrise Ecstasy Elite Truffle.  The classic flavor of dark chocolate and orange in this truffle paired very nicely with this classic Belgian style ale.

Finally we tried the bartender’s suggestion of Nostradamus, a Belgian Strong Ale.  This paired very nicely with two of our pure dark chocolate truffles, Velvet Sin and After Midnight.  Perhaps the 9.5% alcohol content was starting to get to me because the only note I took down was that it was good… I guess you’ll just have to try it yourself.

My conclusions after more than a dozen chocolate and beer match ups?  Beer and chocolate pairing is an art that is defiantly worth exploring.  If you plan on embarking on a beer and chocolate tasting I would recommend taking a large variety of chocolate and finding a bartender that has the time and knowledge to make suggestions.  You can repay them like we did with your leftover chocolates (and a generous tip).  I’ve also created a handy chart that you can reference for some starting points but I encourage you to explore and find what works for you… and let us know what you discovered!

Style of Craft Beer/Characteristic Flavor Type of chocolate recommended Chocolate Fetish Product Pairing
IPA with crisp hoppy bitterness Dark with spice/salt Chili Cocoa Nib Round, Sea Salt Caramel
Pilsner Medium body dark chocolate Ecstasy Ancient Pleasures Truffle
Brown Ale Almonds + dark chocolate Almond Caramel Cup
Oatmeal Stout Milk chocolate with coffee Ecstasy Mocha Magic Truffle
Fruit Lambic with peach Dark chocolate + spice Crystallized Ginger in Dark Chocolate
Belgian Strong Ale Dark chocolate Ecstasy Velvet Sin TruffleEcstasy Elite After Midnight Truffle
Belgian Triple Dark chocolate + citrus Ecstasy Elite Mountain Sunrise Truffle

Pairing Chocolate and Beer in Beer City USA.

When creating a new website there are all kind of things one has to develop.  Some things you expect like new product pictures and descriptions.  Some are a bit unforeseen like what picture am I going to pair with the word Fetish in the dictionary? (We’re still working on that if you have ‘appropriate suggestions’)  Most things end up taking more time then you expect, some are easy, some are difficult, and some are downright fun.  Case in point writing the Beer and Chocolate pairing section.
The first step was to do some research to find out what the experts suggest.  I was surprised to find so much information out there about pairing beer and chocolate.  After compiling a list of about eight different beer styles and the experts suggested chocolate pairings I began to identify items in our product line that may work well for the pairings.  For instance the experts suggested that a dark chocolate with spice would pair well with a Peach Lambic.  Knowing that a Peach Lambic has a sweet fruity flavor I determined that a spicy chocolate like our Ancient Pleasures (dark chocolate + cayenne) would probably not pair well, but perhaps a piece of chocolate covered crystallized ginger would go well?
Finding the perfect beer and chocolate pairing at The Bier Garden.

Finding the perfect beer and chocolate pairing at The Bier Garden.

The next step was to grab a beer loving co-worker (and chocolate loving but that’s a given for anyone that works at The Chocolate Fetish) and head to the nearest bar.  We choose to begin at The Bier Garden for our first round of pairings.  The Bier garden is the closest bar to The Chocolate Fetish and they also offer a large selection of specialty beers so I knew we would have no problem finding all the different beer styles we were looking for.  The Bier Garden is also home to Jackson Zoeller who has been voted as the best bartender in Asheville for multiple years so I knew we would be able to pick his brain for lots of beer details.  The proximity to The Chocolate Fetish proved helpful, as I was able to run back when a flavor I hadn’t anticipated was needed.

It’s recommended that when paring chocolate and beer that you start with the lighter beers and work your way to the darker so we started with a Peach Lambic.  When I was in Belgium I actually had the pleasure of visiting a Lambic brewery where the brewing process uses wild yeast fermentation!  An interesting process that includes letting the beer sit in giant open vats in an historic building with slats for a roof that allow the wild yeasts in… but that’s a whole other blog post.  This pairing turned out to be pretty delightful.  I wouldn’t say that either product was really enhanced by the other but they did pair quite well.  The slight spiciness of the ginger complimented the sweetness of the Lambic and all the flavors worked well together.  A refreshing pairing that would be great at the end of a hot summer day.  My tasting partner said that when tasting the Lambic and ginger together it really reminded him of drinking a hard cider, but better.
Next on the list was a dopplebock with subtle spice notes.  The only thing the Bier garden had to offer here was a rather large bottle that we didn’t feel like taking on at the moment (I can’t let a good beer go to waste) so on the suggestion of one of the bartenders we tried a wheat beer that was listed as having subtle spice overtones of cinnamon and banana peel.  It was recommended to pair this with a sweet spiced chocolate so we tried it with our Chai Moon Truffle (White and milk chocolate with Chai Tea Spices, cinnamon, cardamom, clove, etc) and with our Diamond Griottine (dark chocolate with a French brandied cherry and white chocolate ganache).  After taking a couple of bites and sips I looked over at my co worker’s tasting notes to see “No! No! No!” written boldly next to this line.  Maybe they didn’t pair well because we substituted the wheat beer for the dopplebock, maybe it just wasn’t a good pairing, either way I wholeheartedly agree neither of these were successful.
Moving into beers with a bit more color next on the list was a brown ale.  We stuck with the classic and readily available Newcastle Nut Brown Ale here and the recommended pairing was almonds and dark chocolate.  Thankfully we had a little more success with this pairing.  Almond Caramel Cups are one of our lesser known products that are high on my personal favorites list.  A delicate dark chocolate surrounds a liquid caramel accented with lightly salted slivered almonds.  We both thought this paring was quite nice.  A little of the rich chocolaty flavor was lost when pairing with the brown ale but the saltiness of the almonds went quite well with the sweetness of the caramel and beer.  We both thought that when tasted together the chocolate really brought out the complexity of the beer.
The final beer for the evening (by the way we were sharing so total consumption was about two pints) was an Imperial Stout.  Here we went with a classic micro brew imperial, Old Rasputin.  This beer has a rich dark color – as dark as our dark chocolate – and a strong heavy flavor.  This is the kind of beer that connoisseurs love and that makes others swear off beer altogether.  The recommended pairing was Raspberries and dark chocolate so I had selected our America’s Best Raspberry Truffle to taste.  While doing my research I had read that when tasting beer and chocolate together to try taking a sip of the beer then the chocolate and then taste the chocolate first then the beer second.  In no other paring was the ability of the order in which one tasted to change the flavor more apparent!  When I started with the Old Rasputin and then tasted the truffle it was actually quite pleasant.  Somehow the raspberry flavors did compliment the rich dark earthiness of that beer, but when I did it the other way around, chocolate first then beer it was, well gross.  I would have left this pairing on our recommended pairing list but didn’t feel in good conscious that I could since it was so dependent on the order in which one tasted the chocolates.
I am planning on stealing another co-worker away early next week to taste the final four pairings on our list, which include an IPA, a pilsner, a raspberry Lambic, and an oatmeal stout so stay tuned for the continuation of our beer and chocolate pairings!.  We may consider trying a dooplebock as well since we missed it the first time.  If you have ever had a great chocolate and beer pairing we’d love to hear about your experience and suggestions!