This is EXCELLENCE Influencer Club member Terry M., reporting from the windy coast of central California at the 5th Annual Pebble Beach Food & Wine Festival! This year, Lindt is the Festival’s Official Chocolate Sponsor, and I’m on-site this weekend to bring you live updates on happenings from the event.
I spent my first day at the event (Saturday) in billowing tents full of revelers, tasting wines of wondrous quality and bites of gourmet foods that exploded with flavor and delighted the palate. There were cauliflower croquettes and smoked salmon sliders on sweet Hawaiian bread; all kinds of variations on Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay, and some enjoyable sparklers, both from France and California.
I started Saturday at a chocolate and wine pairing session with Lindt chocolate and Ferrari-Carano wines of Napa Valley. Ferrari-Carano makes beautiful wines that pair well with Lindt chocolates – a highlight, and personal favorite, was the Ferrari-Carano PreVail West Face Cabernet-Syrah blend with Lindt EXCELLENCE 85% Cocoa. Lindt Master Chocolatier Ann Czaja entertained us with a fact-filled presentation on the origins of chocolate; who knew that the Swiss were the first Europeans to figure out what makes great chocolate and still have a lock on the most consumption per person today? She also had many laughs with Ferrari-Carano representative, David. Those of us at the tasting table agreed that Ann and David made a great duo!
At the event, Lindt was offering attendees an exclusive first taste of its two newest chocolate bars, EXCELLENCE Coconut and EXCELLENCE Caramel with a Touch of Sea Salt. I challenged myself to find just the right wine to complement the new Coconut bar. Given that the chocolate had a fresh coconut taste with a dark bottom, I thought I should find an earthy Syrah or Zinfandel. Lindt Master Chocolatier, Ann Czaja had a different idea; she thought I should find a sweet sparkling wine or Tawny Port. After several attempts, a 2009 Pinot Noir from the Santa Rita Hills in Southern California, called Inception, wound up pleasing us both. Thanks to the wine maker, Jonathan Hirsh!
My second day at the event promises more sensory experiences, thus I’ll have more updates for you soon! Be sure to check back here, as well as on Twitter and Facebook for more on what’s happening at the event.