Chocolate and wine. Need I say more?
Saturday afternoon was an afternoon infused with fine wine and a five-course meal in which every dish had a chocolate component.
I’m excited to share my experience with you!
The Corner 103 Chocolate Lunch took place at Suite D, a multi-purpose event space owned by the girl & the fig, one of the most famous restaurants in Northern California Wine Country.
Suite D hosts a ton of events – from winemakers dinners (and lunches) to a weekly ramen night on Wednesdays.
Corner 103 hosts most of their events at Suite D. It’s located just a few miles south of the winery’s tasting room in downtown Sonoma and really represents Sonoma County Wine Country: casual, ever changing and innovative.
Everyone was assigned a seat. I was in the middle of the long table, sitting next to my friend Gina and her friend, and a cool couple from the Bay Area who are also wine club members at Corner 103.
Each course would feature a wine from Corner 103 and a paired dish with a chocolate component. Yum!
Upon arrival, we were greeted with a glass of Corner 103 2015 Blanc de Blancs and a chance to mix and mingle with other guests.
I knew a few of the folks at the event, many of whom are also members of Corner 103’s Wine Society (wine club), like me. It was also cool to meet some new folks, who were lured to the event by the exciting idea of chocolate and wine!
Corner 103’s 2015 Blanc de Blancs is a refreshing sparkling wine made with grapes from the Italian varietal, vernaccia. It’s a grape rarely grown in the US, so it was really cool to taste this wine. It’s a refreshing, elegant sparkling wine with notes of pear and Granny Smith apples and a nice minerality. A perfect apertif.
Course #1: Ricotta cheese with cayenne-chocolate ganache on a brioche crostini
After a glass of sparkling, we were poured a glass of Corner 103 2014 Chardonnay which was paired with a passed appetizer. The appetizer was house made brioche topped with fluffy ricotta cheese, drizzled with cayenne-chocolate ganache, a candied parsnip, a piece of watergress, and edible flowers.
Suffice to say, I had two of these small bites. I don’t know a single person at the event who kept their hands to just one – it was absolutely great! The cayenne-chocolate ganache added a little heat to the fluffy ricotta cheese, which was then cut with the lightly oaked, acidic chardonnay.
We settled into our seats at the long table and Suite D staff poured us glasses of Corner 103’s 2013 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir. The conversation flowed as fast as the wine with guests catching up or getting to know each other between each dish.
While we sipped our pinot noir, Corner 103 owner Lloyd Davis greeted us, telling us about the wines we were tasting and the mission behind Corner 103, to create wines that represent the many regions of Sonoma County and to pair them with fabulous food.
Lloyd is a former financial advisor and businessman from New York City, who fell in love with fine wine and Wine Country. He’s one of only a handful of African American winery owners in the country and the only one in Sonoma Valley.
Course #2: Cocoa nib crusted scallop on potato rosti with white chocolate beurre blanc sauce
The second course was one of my favorites of the lunch: a cocoa nib crusted scallop served on top of a small potato rosti with white chocolate beurre blanc and a bit of candied mint. It was paired with Corner 103’s Pinot Noir.
The scallop was perfectly cooked, with a touch of crispness from pan searing. The cocoa nib crust was delicate and added a touch of sweetness to the scallop. The potato rosti added a nice texture in contrast to the scallop. The big winner: the white chocolate beurre blanc. The scallop was great with the sauce. I had to resist from licking the plate clean!
Course #3: Dark chocolate dipped squash salad
This was a first for me – dark chocolate dipped veggies with salad – let alone paired with a red wine!
It was a lovely mix of mizuna (a Japanese type of arugula, my first time having it), pickled shallots (I pushed those to the side, I’m not a pickled onion person), salted walnuts and vanilla vinaigrette with the featured ingredient being dark chocolate dipped acorn squash.
The dark chocolate complemented the acorn squash perfectly, which has a natural touch of sweetness. The sweet yet bitter flavor of the mizuna and the vinaigrette were nice, too.
It was paired with Corner 103’s 2014 Grenache, one of my favorite reds. It’s a light and savory red that did not overpower the salad.
Course #4: Short ribs with cocoa butter potatoes
This was amazing.
The 4th course arrived at the table after our glasses were filled with Corner 103’s 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon. It was pure comfort food at its finest: braised short ribs sitting on top of a pile of cocoa butter whipped potatoes and a delicious sauce, with two pieces of crispy kale on top.
It was delicious. Every plate was cleaned across the table. The short ribs melted in my mouth and the potatoes were to die for – rich, decadent, creamy and yum! My mouth is watering just typing this.
The kale, I can take it or leave it – but if I have to take it I’ll take it crispy and it was a fun touch to the dish. The cab paired great, too – as it always does with beef.
Course #5: Chocolate cake with chocolate covered bacon
Yes people, you read that right: CHOCOLATE COVERED BACON.
Granted, after the 4th course I wasn’t sure if I could eat anymore. I found myself regretting wearing skinny jeans and wishing I wore leggings. Ergh.
But, I’m a trooper. Dessert was decadent as all get out, as it should be at a chocolate lunch: hazelnut chocolate cake topped with candied winter citrus dust and chocolate covered bacon.
It was over the top. I ended up giving the rest of my dessert to another guest because I was bursting at the seams!
Thank goodness I had a glass of Corner 103’s 2015 Zinfandel to wash it all down!
The bacon – ok, I ate all of that. How could I resist the merging of two of the greatest things on earth: bacon and chocolate.
Course #6: Sparkling wine
OK, there really wasn’t a 6th course. But, once the party was started with all that great food and wine we couldn’t resist a “nightcap.” A group of Wine Society members and friends (including my friends from San Francisco, Lawrence and Dennis) met at Sigh, a Champagne bar in downtown Sonoma.
We plowed through two bottles of JCB 69 Sparkling Cremant and had so many laughs tears were shed and hugs were had.
Overall, it was a great afternoon of fun, new friends, old friends, amazing wine and decadent food.
I love living in Wine Country!
This blog post originally appeared on Steemit in January 2018.