Stuart, Fla. – Have you ever been to a wine and chocolate tasting? This past November, Crush Wine Bar, and single-origin small-batch bean-to-bar chocolate factory Castronovo Chocolate, joined forces in Stuart, Florida, for a night of wine and chocolate tasting.
“Denise & Jim will go around and pass the chocolate,” said Mario Babino, co-owner of Crush Wine Bar.
“We spent three days prepping. Our tastes may not be your taste. You might not like it but don’t tell us,” said Babino pausing for affect.
The thirsty foodie audience laughed.
“No, really, enjoy,” Babino said, with a smile.
Jim Castronovo, co-owner of Castronovo Chocolate, walked to the center of the room and said, “We have huge variations in our chocolate. Denise is the chocolate maker,” he said, pointing to his bubbly blond wife.
“We are trying to bring American craft chocolate up to the standard of European chocolate,” he added.
The featured chocolate of the night was made with rare cacao, heirloom, wild harvested, Sierra Nevada beans.
The trees were abandoned long ago, according to Jim Castronovo. They grow between three and six thousand feet in altitude, in the mountains of Columbia. Dry trade winds keep fungus away from the trees.
Castronovo Chocolate pays indigenous people to travel by mule to harvest the cacao pods.
“I asked, ‘How long does it take?’” said Denise. “’They said, “One to two tobaccos,’” continued Denise, adding tobacco meant cigars. The audience laughed with delight.
The cacao bean had a natural sweet caramel taste that comes through both in a dark and dark-milk 63 percent chocolate style. The dark milk chocolate version was deliciously served with Evodia Grenach wine from Spain.
Crush Wine Bar is located at 100 S. Dixie Hwy., Stuart, FL 34994
Phone (772) 600-5836