Calgary: Port and Chocolate 101

Open a bottle. Break up a chocolate bar.

If you can handle these tasks, you can orchestrate a port and chocolate tasting. Plus, Calgary’s wealth of great chocolate shops and hard-to-find ports means that the ingredients are as easy to buy as they are to serve. Here, a primer on port and chocolate.

1. Port
Michael Bigattini at Willow Park Wines & Spirits suggests a young, fruity bottle, like Graham’s Six Grapes 2003 ($20.49), or Fonseca Bin 27 ($19.49). For a late bottle vintage, try the Smith Woodhouse 1995 ($37.49). Unlike a vintage port, which you’d need to finish within 36 hours, you can take your time with these.
Willow Park Wines & Sprits, 10801 Bonaventure Dr. S.E., 403-296-1640.
Kensington Wine Market, 1257 Kensington Rd. N.W., 403-283-8000.
Highlander Wine & Spirits, 2033, 16 Ave. N.W., 403-777-1922; or 2919 Richmond Rd. S.W., 403-233-2629.

2. Chocolate
Chocolate is an extremely complex food. Plus, port’s high alcohol content will highlight any bitterness in the chocolate, so don’t skimp: Get a pure, dark bar. “You can find notes of apricot, honey, cinnamon and even caramel in good chocolate,” says Choklat’s Brad Churchill, who makes his chocolates with cocoa beans, not a prepared base. Try his Brazilian Estate 70% Dark ($6.49) or his Porcelana Grand Cru 70% Dark ($9.99), made from the world’s rarest cocoa bean.
Choklat, 1327A – 9 Ave. S.E., 403-457-1419.
Bernard Callebaut, Nine locations in Calgary.
Leonidas Chocolates, 815 – 49 Ave. S.W., 403-214-5414.

3. Port and Chocolate
Set your table with four glasses, pouring an ounce of port in each. Sip the port. Taste the chocolate. Repeat.

Image courtesy of Pierre Phaneuf.

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