It’s National Chocolate Week! The perfect excuse to eat my own bodyweight in chocolate every day.
It’s also the perfect excuse to share some knee-tremblingly delicious recipes with you. On Friday I’ve got a recipe for peanut butter brownies that you’re going to love, but today’s post is all about a mocha torte and chocolate and wine pairings.
This post was inspired by Waitrose. They asked me to make one of their chocolate recipes and choose two types of chocolate. They then sent me wines to match the recipes and invited me to have a chocolate and wine tasting evening. Side note – if you ever feel want to feel popular, ask people to come round for a chocolate and wine tasting evening. It’s amazing how many friends you suddenly have.
Chocolate and wine are, I think, objectively two of the best things in the entire world. I don’t even drink alcohol that much, but I know this to be true. They both bring immense amounts of pleasure, whether you’re drinking £5 Tesco wine with a bar of Dairy Milk or paying £50 to drink an exquisite red with a chocolate fondant at a fancy restaurant. They’ve both permeated our pop culture – think Tyrion declaring himself the God of Wine (amongst other things) or Augustus Gloop falling into a beautiful river of melted chocolate in one of our most beloved children’s stories, or Bridget Jones carefully making a note of every time she consumes either. As a species, chocolate and wine are important to us. They carry weight and importance and bring us joy. Why not put a little effort into pairing the two together?
The two chocolate types I chose were white and milk, and the recipe I chose to make was the mocha chocolate torte. I love all kinds of chocolate equally and wanted to make sure that I was getting a good spread of flavours. Waitrose sent me the wines to match these flavours, and I invited some friends around to try them.
The white chocolate was paired with Cockburn’s Special Reserve Port.
I had a sip before I tried it with the port and was hit by a blast of fruit. It’s described as tasting like red cherry, plums and strawberries, and that fruity, complex taste is the overwhelming thing I took away from it. I could see why it’d been paired with the white chocolate as there’s something in the smooth, milky taste of white chocolate that really compliments red berries – just think of raspberry and white chocolate cookies.
The milk chocolate was paired with Campbells Rutherglen Muscat.
I have to admit, I was surprised by this. When I first opened the box I was certain that this very sweet dessert wine would be paired with the white rather than the milk. It’s so sweet that I think it would have been overwhelming with the white chocolate, though. It tastes almost like toffee or fruitcake, and the mellower milk chocolate went really well with it.
Finally, we have the torte. This was paired with Geyser Peak Merlot.
A word on the torte – it’s actually the first torte I’ve ever made, and it was really fun! It’s a combination of a brownie and a souffle, really – melt chocolate with butter and coffee, whisk egg yolks with sugar, mix together the chocolate and egg yolks and then whip the egg whites and carefully fold together. You end up with a light, fluffy batter than rises magnificently in the oven…before collapsing shortly after. It does not look very good when it’s cooled.
Fortunately, a hearty dusting of cocoa powder and a pile of raspberries can fix anything.
I love coffee chocolate and so it was ten to one that I was going to like this torte, but I loved this torte. It was dense and fudgey inside without being cloying, and the coffee flavour lifts it up and gives an extra layer of flavour. The Merlot it was paired with is fruity but has a subtle taste of mocha, so it was perfectly matched to my mocha and raspberry torte!
I’m supposed to say now what pairing was my favourite, but I honestly don’t know. I think the Merlot was my favourite wine and I really appreciated how it went with the mocha torte, but I actually think I preferred the combination of the fruit port and white chocolate. Lauren, meanwhile, sluck home with the bottle of Campbells Rutherglen Muscat in her bag, so she was clearly a fan of that…
The recipe for the torte is below. It’s supposed to be left in the fridge overnight before serving, so it’s a great one to do before a dinner party as you can bake it the night before and pull it out, pile raspberries on top and serve when needed.
Thanks to Waitrose for inspiring this post and matching the wine to my chocolate tastes. Tell me – how are you celebrating National Chocolate Week?
- 200g of good quality plain chocolate, broken into bits
- 150g unsalted butter, diced
- 3 tablespoons of milk
- 2 teaspoons of coffee granules
- 5 medium eggs, separated
- 150g of golden caster sugar
- 50g of plain flour
- 1 teaspoon of baking powder
- Cocoa powder, cream and fresh berries, to serve
- Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line the sides and base of a non- stick 22cm round springform cake pan.
- Put a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water, making sure the bowl doesn't touch the water. Add the chocolate, butter, milk and coffee. Stir frequently until everything is melted, then remove the bowl from the pan and turn off the heat.
- Whisk the egg yolks and sugar until it becomes a pale yellow, and so thick that it leaves a trail on top of the mix when drizzled from the whisk. Fold in the flour and baking powder using a large metal spoon
- Pour the melted chocolate into the flour and egg yolks a little bit at a time, stirring after each addition until almost fully mixed before adding more. When the chocolate is all added, mix until fully combined.
- In a very clean bowl, whisk the egg white to steak peak stage. Add two tablespoons of the egg whites to the chocolate mix and stir well. Then add the egg whites a little at a time and carefully fold into the chocolate until fully combined
- Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 35-40 minutes. The torte should be risen and set on top but will still feel moist inside.
- Remove from the heat and leave to cool fully in the tin. Leave it in the fridge overnight
- Remove from the tin and the baking parchment. Dust with cocoa powder, then either top with thickly whipped cream and raspberries or top with raspberries and pour cream over when served
- Folding the egg whites into the chocolate can seem daunting. It will take an age and you will panic that it's all gone wrong, but it's fine. Use a large metal spoon and "scoop" round half of the side of the bowl, moving the chocolate from the bottom of the bowl to the top. Then turn the spoon so that it's sideways, with the very thin end pointing into the chocolate, and move the spoon through the mixture in a slice. Keep doing this until it's all mixed together.
- It will look terrible when it cools. It will collapse. That's absolutely fine. It's supposed to. There's nothing cocoa powder won't fix.