Monday, July 9, 2012

Sugar and Wine and Everything Fine, Which Blogger Has the Best Design?

If you have a sweet tooth, you can easily satisfy your cravings in Old Town, Alexandria.  You'll find at least four cupcakeries, four places to grab ice cream/gelato, and two places to grab good old fashioned candy.

One of my favorite places to satisfy my sweet tooth is The Sugar Cube.  Relocated from N. Lee St. to King Street this past March, The Sugar Cube's new storefront is smaller, but more visually appealing, with all the candy you could ever dream up packing every wall. 

Chocolate, and more chocolate!

 For all licorice fans, licorice comes in all flavors and forms at The Sugar Cube. 

Malt balls, pictured at the top, also come in every flavor you can imagine, and are my personal draw to the store.

Private room where parties and candy making and candy decorating classes are held. Don't the hard candy on the walls and lollipops on the ceiling immediately make you think of Willy Wonka?

The Sugar Cube, in partnership with their neighbor, La Fromagerie, recently invited us to a Wine and Truffle Pairing with Truffle Design Lesson. I don't think I could have RSVP'd to this event faster.

We started the evening with appetizers prepared by Sebastien Tavel, owner of La Fromagerie. 

Nettie Palmieri, Wine Director at La Fromagerie, explained that the secret to wine and chocolate pairings is to make sure the wine is sweeter than the chocolate. If the chocolate is much sweeter than the wine, the sweetness of the chocolate will simply enhance the bitter and tart aspects of the wine. However, if the wine is sweeter than the chocolate, a bite of the chocolate will calm the sweetness of the wine. This fact became most apparent with the pairing of the Passion Panna Cotta Truffle with Chateau Villefranche Sauternes. Each of these items was much too sweet on their own (even for me) but paired together, satisfied my sweet tooth perfectly.  As can be expected, lighter chocolates are best paired with lighter and sweeter wines, and full-bodied wines are best paired with darker chocolates.

Chocolate and Wine Pairings, as pictured from left to right:

66% Dark Chocolate Truffle + Le Petit Champ Bourdeaux
Mango Truffle + Chateau Jouclay Rose
Passion Panna Cotta Truffle + Chateau Villefranche Sauternes
Butter & Scotch Truffle + Quinta do Infantado Tawny Port
Tahitian Caramel Truffle + Quinta do Infantado Tawny Port
Popcorn + German Gilabert Brut Cava

If you're currently wishing you could have enjoyed all of this chocolate and wine with me, lucky for you, La Fromagerie is holding a Truffle and Wine Pairing on Sunday July 22nd for $40 a person. Don't make any plans between 6:30 pm and 8:30 pm!

We ended the evening with a very informative and fun truffle design lesson lead by Kim, who co-owns The Sugar Cube with her sister Alyssa. 

After warming up the chocolate and colored cocoa butter, Kim began painting empty truffle molds with her favorite colored cocoa butter. Yes, decorating is actually the first, not the last, step, to making beautifully colored truffles. She then used a ladle to pour melted chocolate onto the newly decorated truffle mold, tilting the tray so the excess chocolate spread through the rest of the tray in a natural, even, motion. Lastly, Kim scraped off all excess chocolate from the tray, setting the tray aside so the shells could harden over the course of the following day, soon to be filled with ganache.

When we were given the opportunity to decorate our own truffles, I immediately chosen the green cocoa butter, to match the Capital Cooking logo, naturally. The photo to the left is how the tray looks after you first decorate it, and the photo to the right is the how the the shell of the truffle will look from the top. 

To see my finished product, visit The Sugar Cube's Facebook page While you're checking out my wonderfully finished product, make sure to like my photo (or Megan McGrath's, if you must). It's Capital Cooking vs. Pamela's Punch in a Truffle Design War!

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