Christmas is the season to enjoy things, and two of the most delicious things to pair up are chocolate and champagne. Champagne goes really well with strawberries, so you might think to make chocolate covered strawberries, which is a good idea, but there are also some other nice ideas. Some of them are for fun, chocolate style champagne drinks, while the others are more classic desserts including truffles and tortes.
Champagne and Chocolate Stout
This one is perfect for people who love to experiment with beer and champagne. There is a very popular drink called a Black Velvet. This drink is made by mixing a stout such as Guinness or Murphys with a nice champagne. You can use a dry champagne because it won’t turn the drink too sweet. You want the dry sweetness to the stout, not too much of a sweet drink. When you pour the drink, put the champagne in the glass first, and then use a spoon and pour the Guinness or whichever stout you are using over a spoon and into the glass. This will help prevent the stout from mixing in with the champagne. What you will end up with is a pretty color separation.
If you want to go the extra mile and want to make it more impressive, then you should look for a microbrew chocolate stout, something that is brewed with chocolate. A really nice choice is a Breakfast Stout made by a company called Founders. They are run out of Michigan and make a chocolate and coffee stout called Breakfast stout.
Champagne And Dark Chocolate Torte
A fantastic combo is a dark chocolate tore and champagne. This can go one of two ways. The first is by making a classic torte and serving it with raspberries and a glass of dry Champagne. The other way is to actually flavor the torte with champagne. Tortes are super rich and often made with just chocolate, sugar, egg yolks and butter. Sometimes the recipes will even skip the sugar. What you can do is add a very small amount of champagne, really just a tiny bit when you’re melting down the chocolate. It will give the chocolate just a hint of Champagne.
Champagne and Chocolate Truffles
Another really cool way to mix chocolate and champagne is to make champagne and chocolate truffles. This is really simple to do, and it’s a fantastic way to deal with left over champagne. What you will need to do is get some chocolate and melt it down in a double boiler. You want to do this slowly and add cream during the melting process, along with the champagne so that you don’t cause the chocolate to seize. If you dump in cold champagne when the chocolate is hot, then you risk causing the batch to seize and you will end up with unusable chocolate. I recommend getting a book on working with chocolate if you plan on making chocolate truffles. The books are a great way to learn how to temper chocolate, which is great if you want to enrobe chocolate ganache centers with hard chocolate and keep the stable at room temperature.
Chocolate Dipped Strawberries and Champagne
This one is easy, super romantic, and everyone loves it. You can either make a pool of ganache and serve the strawberries along side it and dip them in yourself, or you can make tempered chocolate (or regular ganache if you don’t feel like tempering the chocolate) and serve the strawberry already covered in chocolate. If you temper the chocolate, then the strawberries can sit out at room temperature without melting. Tempering is a tricky process that requires breaking down the crystal structure of the hard chocolate, letting it heat up, then cooling it and letting the crystals realign. There’s some chemistry involved, having to do with melting points, the crystal structure of the chocolate, and other stuff. You can read all about tempering chocolate in this book.