11 January 2012

New Year’s Eve Chocolate Beer and Chocolate Cigar Celebrations [By @Spectre]

Orange Flavoured Venchi Cuba Chocolate Cigar

I usually have a Meringato Venchi Cuba chocolate cigar on Christmas Eve, but Cinabar treated me to an orange flavoured Venchi Cuba chocolate cigar amongst my Christmas presents, so I decided to break with tradition and eat it on New Year’s Eve washed down with a couple of chocolate beers. We watched Jools Holland’s Hootenanny and I enjoyed my bottle of Barnstormer before midnight. Once the New Year’s celebrations and fireworks had died down I unwrapped my 100g gold labeled Venchi Cuba chocolate cigar with orange peel flavouring. Like the Meringato this chocolate cigar is made with a double layer of chocolate, which equates to 20% pure milk chocolate and 20% dark chocolate, with candied orange filling and other ingredients. Before I opened the first bottle I had a quick taste of the chocolate cigar. It had a smooth combination of milk and dark chocolates with a decent hit of cocoa, and a subtle yet sweet orange flavour mixed with vanilla and a hint of almonds. The chocolate cigar was very nice indeed. As per usual I quoted Hannibal Smith from the A Team; “I love it when a plan comes together.” I then reached for the bottle opener and the Double Chocolate Stout…

Young’s Double Chocolate Stout (Waitrose)

Staying with the theme of double chocolates, this Double Chocolate Stout was brewed by Wells and Young’s Brewery, in Bedford, which was established in 1831. The stout was 5.2% volume, and its ingredients included; pale ale malt, oats, hops, yeast, malted barley, and natural chocolate flavouring. “Double Chocolate” in the title meant that it had been brewed with chocolate malt and real dark chocolate.

There was a strong chocolate smell on opening the bottle. I excitedly poured the almost black stout into my beer mug, whilst holding the huge chocolate cigar in my mouth like a mad dictator (well, they usually are mad anyway). On tasting the stout, the initial bitterness from the mix of sturdy malts and hops was quickly replaced by a luxurious soft, smooth, creaminess, which was merged with a dark chocolate flavour. The dark chocolate flavour wasn’t overly sweet and lightly tickled my taste buds, leaving a deep malt chocolate aftertaste. Whilst this stout easily complimented the chocolate cigar, I could have happily cast the cigar to one side and enjoyed the chocolate stout on its own. I’m sure this would be a gloriously indulgent pudding replacement for anyone. All I can think to say is a quote from another film, which is Sleepless in Seattle; “Tiramisu? What’s that?” Who cares…?

Cheshire Chocolate Porter (Waitrose)

Once I’d finished the Double Chocolate Stout and much of the chocolate cigar, I reached for this Cheshire Chocolate Porter. It was brewed in collaboration between Frederic Robinson Limited’s Unicorn Brewery, in Stockport, which was established in 1838, and the renowned Chocolatier Simon Dunn. This Chocolate Porter was based on a recipe that dated back to 1899. It was described on the bottle as; “Full bodied with a ripe malt and velvety smooth chocolate taste”. Dark brown in colour and 6% volume, this Porter’s ingredients included; yeast, malted barley, wheat syrup, wheat, hops, and natural chocolate flavouring. The bottle recommended this Porter for main courses of roast pork or gammon, as well as chocolaty puddings.

I washed my empty beer mug for tasting fairness before pouring. I found that this Porter was not as strong smelling of chocolate as the Double Chocolate Stout. There was an initial beery bitterness and malt taste followed by a sweeter hit from the chocolate than the Double Chocolate Stout. This was followed by a decent malt and rich chocolate aftertaste. I certainly found this Porter to be a very tasty and very moreish beer. My beer mug seemed to empty all too quickly and I wished I’d had another bottle to replace it. This Porter went very well with the other half of my chocolate cigar, but again, whilst not as creamy and smooth as the Double Chocolate Stout, I’d have been happy to enjoy this beer on its own.

Both chocolate beers and the chocolate cigar undoubtedly helped me celebrate the New Year in style. Thanks Cinabar and I hope you all are having a great New Year and enjoy the blog for another year and for many more! Cheers! :-)
By Spectre

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