The perfect pairing. Peanut butter and jelly. Tom and Jerry. William and Kate. Travel along any wine trail in Michigan and you’ll find another pinnacle of pairings: wine and chocolate. The cacao bean derives from along the equator, yet artistry of handcrafted chocolates is found copiously in Michigan. Here, we give you the dish on Michigan wine and chocolate pairings.
On Old Mission Peninsula in Traverse City, find fabulous fudge by Dove Cottage of Clare at Brys Estate. The Brys tasting room team raves that the fudge pairs “most beautifully” with their Signature Red. Dark chocolate fudge is also featured among the “light appetizers” offered with private tastings in the barrel or cask room. And while the fudge is delicious with Merlot and Cabernet Franc, the pairing with Signature Red reigns supreme. Vintner Eileen Brys says, “Dark chocolate and red wine is a match made in heaven.”
Jaunt over to Black Star Farms’ TASTES at The Village at Grand Traverse Commons for chocolate desserts, like the Chocolate Torture Torte with white chocolate bark and chocolate ganache, prepared by the chef of the Inn at Black Star Farms in Suttons Bay. Pair with Sirius Cherry or Sirius Raspberry dessert wines for ultimate decadency. You’ll also find heavenly, natural chocolates in the winery’s tasting rooms. Infused with cherry and apple eau de vies (fruit brandies), the treats are made by Patricia’s Chocolates of Grand Haven.
Over in Cedar at Longview Winery, experience Vintner Alan Eaker’s wines followed by delicious Charles Layton Chocolate truffles made with the winery’s cherry port. Afterward, head to Grocer’s Daughter Chocolates in Empire for artisan Rainforest Alliance certified chocolate blended with Chateau Chantal’s cherry port. And finally, a stop at Cherry Republic Winery in Glen Arbor is sure to delight you with homemade fudge and cherry-inspired wines.
On the sunrise side in Alpena, Stoney Acres Winery offers mouth-watering, scrumptious truffles crafted by local chocolatier Danielle Mulvena of Speechless Chocolates. The creamy, rich chocolates are infused with the winery’s cherry wine, raspberry wine, Silver City red wine (Merlot) or Thunder Bay red wine (Concord). In East Tawas, stock up on Village Chocolatier chocolates for pairing with your favorite Michigan wines.
In Coloma in southwest Michigan, just a mile south of I-94, sink your teeth into sensual, silky balls of goodness at The Chocolate Garden. Favorites are decadent dark chocolates infused with Contessa Wine Cellar’s Lago Rosso red wine and milk chocolates spiked with St. Julian’s Solera Cream Sherry.
For nearby wine tasting, visit Contessa Wine Cellars and Karma Vista Vineyards, both conveniently located a brief drive north of this heavenly chocolate destination.
In the Jackson region, Sandhill Crane Vineyards offers a covered-in-chocolate bottle of raspberry wine. Gently break away the chocolate, savor and pair with sips of this luxurious dessert wine. Also, the Moffatt family just announced new “baby cakes,” chocolate cupcakes made with their raspberry wine by Oh Susanna Specialty Cupcakes of Jackson.
South of Jackson, near Michigan Speedway, Cherry Creek Cellars Old Schoolhouse is a winery and fudgery. John Burtka crafts the wine and his wife Denise crafts a new batch of fudge every week. Stop in for tastings of sweet to dry wines and tastings of fudge with flavors ranging from chocolate to vanilla and nutty. Wine and chocolate: a glorious pairing any time of year.