In the Spirit of celebrating the arrival of spring, Easter, and the Chocolate Festival, let’s play a game I’d like to call “What would the Bunny bring you to drink?”
Yes, I know that the Easter Bunny is all about kids playing, egg hunting and coloring, and hopping around doing cartwheels on the grass! But this year, we (adults) are going to have a little fun and indulge on some adult beverages.
If you remember my last article over the Holidays, Santa was the one doing all the drinking. Of course, since he is a bit more mature than the Easter Bunny, he also had the help of the reindeer and a designated flyer. So we’re going to give the little Bunny a break and have him just deliver all the goods this time.
Since the “Easter Hare” originates from Germany, how about starting with a refreshing German Riesling. A lot of folks think that Rieslings are always going to be sweet but this is not true. Germany has the most complicated classification system for their wines and on top of that, the language… And hard to pronounce producers like: “Helmut Dönnhoff” or “Schloss Johannisberg”. It’s all so intimidating right? But, rest at ease, if you are looking for a dry style just look for the words “trocken” or “kabinet” on the bottle. That will assure you the wine will be dry. And if you’re feeling even more festive and want to have some bubbles, look for a bottle of “sekt”. This sparkling wine is always refreshing and sure to impress!
Speaking of sparkling, we all love a nicely chilled bottle of Champagne, but these days who can afford them? I’m sure if we look hard enough, we will probably find one, or maybe even ask the sales person. But who wants to ask about their cheapest bottle of Champagne? (Embarrassing?). So go for the second cheapest! It might be a bit more than you’d like to spend but you will be happy with it! In France every other sparkling wine made outside of Champagne is called “Crémant”. They can come from Alsace, Burgundy, Loire Valley and even Bordeaux. They will please your palate and your wallet.
Now that we’re going off the beaten path, lets try something local made right here in Lewisburg. How many of you have ever visited Hawk Knob Appalachian Cider and Mead? They are fantastic! Their Ciders are super cool, all local apples and other fruits and of course, some of them are seasonal. Right now they are making an Elderberry Infused Hard Cider and Dry Cherry Tart Cider that are oh, so yummy!
Mead is an ancient alcoholic drink made from honey and mixing other fruits, spices, grains, etc… It is made in a whole array of styles and degrees of sweetness, which can be an amazing pairing company to (drums roll please!)… Chocolate!
That’s right! You thought I’d forgotten… This year we were lucky to have the Lewisburg Chocolate Festival (held Saturday, April 13, 11-4pm in downtown Lewisburg) before Easter, so we can stock up on some of the goodies and enjoy them while watching the everlasting busy Bunny go and go… No, not that Bunny!
Chocolate and wine can be a bit tricky to pair, but the rule of thumb is to remember to pair up similar flavors. Lighter style chocolates with lighter body wines and, of course, sweeter style chocolates with heavier or sweeter style wines.
If, by any chance when you went to the store and picked up that bottle of what you thought was a “dry Riesling” but it tuned out to be a little sweeter than what you expected, don’t discard, improvise! Save it for a little bite with that milk chocolate and for the dark chocolate lovers, Port is always a good choice but a nice bottle of an Italian “Recioto Della Valpolicella” also does the trick. “Recioto” is a sweet wine made from grapes left out in the sun to dry, the wine is full body and just the right amount of sweet to pair up with that dark chocolate.
Remember that during the chocolate festival, some local restaurants will be offering a dish with chocolate incorporated in it, so go outside and be adventurous!
Thank you again for reading and I hope you all have a peaceful and amazing Easter dinner with your favorite adult beverage! Cheers!
– Robert Aquilino Sam Snead’s Sommelier and Manager at The Greenbrier | Featured cover photo provided by Linda Logan @lindaloulogan Pictured: Autumn Lee Schwab and Linda enjoying a spirit at Hawk Knob Hard Cider and Meadery in Lewisburg.