I’ve been trying to make an effort lately to be more “present” when it comes to various experiences in life. I mean, really taking note of what I’m doing – how it feels, tastes, smells, looks, etc. I’d call my experiment a huge success because it not only enables me to really enjoy things so much more, but it forces me to slow down and really notice the full experience. This is especially true with food and drink. Not long ago, I got to combine both at an event co-hosted by Moksha Chocolate and Bookcliff Vineyards for a paired chocolate and wine tasting event. It’s just one of the times Moksha has partnered with another Colorado company of makers to explore what’s similar and what’s different about their chocolate and another product.
Moksha Chocolate is an advertiser with InGoodTasteDenver.com and we have become big fans of their “regular” and CBD chocolate products as well as the philosophy and intention behind what they do. So we were already fans. But the opportunity to listen to the husband-wife chocolate makers discuss the process of chocolate making (it starts with their farm in Peru), and help guests get the most out of the chocolate-eating experience, along with meeting the couple behind Bookcliff Vineyards was a real treat.
The tasting was held at Bookcliff’s winery and tasting room in Boulder, in an industrial strip area. They also have their actual vineyard in Palisade, Colorado. Linear an sparse outside, the tasting room seating area was cozy and comfortable. This is where you can experience a tasting of their wines, which can be done very reasonably (less than most so that you can try more). The actual chocolate and wine tasting, however, took place in the back, where wine is made and stored. It’s fascinating to be among the tanks and barrels and know that this is where the crushing, sorting, fermenting, and tastings happen.
The dual tastings began with an introduction from Jennifer and Michael, co-owners of Moksha and John and Ulla, co-owners of Bookcliff Vineyards. They told about how they got into their respective businesses (circuitous paths for all), a little about the production process, and then proceeded with the tastings. Each guest was provided with a sheet upon which to take notes, that listed the pairings. With each new pairing, we were served some chocolate and wine. There was also water and plain crackers to cleanse our palates between samples. Here were the pairings, in this order:
- Bookcliff’s Ensemble 2018 with Moksha’s 50% chocolate.
- Bookcliff’s Syrah 2018 paired with Moksha’s 65% (semisweet).
- Malbec Reserve 2018 with 72% chocolate.
- Moscato paired with white chocolate.
- As a bonus, Moksha’s 80% was paired with a Port-style wine.
At the end, we each received a bar of Moksha Chocolate to take home (yay!). We also bought a few other bars and a few bottles of wine. We plan to hold our own tasting with friends to see what their impressions are. But one thing we did find out is that there is no right or wrong reaction or impression to pairings – it’s very subjective – and interesting.
Here’s where my intentions to be more present in experiences really came into play. You can’t just mindlessly eat or drink in a tasting like this (well, you could, but what a waste!). Instead, you are guided to enjoy each chocolate and each wine fully on their own, paying attention to all aspects of it including what flavors you pick up on. Then, you enjoy them together and, mind-blown, the experiences change. The pairings enhance different things about each product. Now, there’s more depth to each. It’s fascinating!
It was explained to our group that, typically with food/wine pairing, you either go with similar-to-similar or opposites. For this chocolate and wine pairing, the two companies decided to go with similar-to-similar. We also found out that the old white wine with poultry or seafood and red wines with red meat concept has really gone by the wayside. There are really no limits so experiment and see what you enjoy. When planning to do your own food and wine tasting, we were told you can start with the food and then plan the wine or the other way around.
Visit Bookcliff Vineyards to learn more about their wines and to get some expert advice on pairings.
Visit Moksha Chocolates’ website to learn about their upcoming events and tasting opportunities. So far, in 2021, they’ve had an event with Farm to Bus, an artisanal food market of Colorado products on wheels; a Mother’s Day pop-up with Colorado Aromatics Cultivated Skincare and Petals Boulder floral design studio; and an ongoing partnership with Dry Land Distillers which whom they’d created cooperative whiskey and chocolate combinations.
Be intentional and in-the-moment the next time you experience something you want to savor and remember. It makes such a difference.
Please note, you can try a tasting for yourself on October 17, 2021, with Dryland Distillers and Moksha Chocolate.
— Article and photos by Courtney Drake-McDonough, InGoodTasteDenver.com Publisher and Managing Editor