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Gold Dr. Frank Leaf

A Decadent Journey: Exploring Chocolate and Wine at Dr. Konstantin Frank Winery

Amidst the rolling hills and vineyards of New York's Finger Lakes wine region, a delightful event unfolded at Dr. Konstantin Frank Winery. The Global Journey Through Chocolate offered attendees a unique opportunity to explore the world of chocolate paired with the winery's acclaimed wines.

As the guests arrived, they were welcomed by the alluring scent of chocolate and a specially crafted chocolate drink by Hedonist Chocolatiers, based in Rochester, NY. The charming and historic Chateau Frank winery added to the ambiance by providing warm hospitality, setting the stage for an unforgettable experience.

Outside image of Chateau Frank

Each course was presented in pairs, providing guests with an afternoon of culinary exploration.

The afternoon began with a captivating duo of wines, a slightly sweet Celebre Rose sparkling wine, and the perfumed 2021 Old Vines Pinot Noir, accompanied by two stunning dishes. The White Chocolate Baba Ganoush with Smoky Eggplant, Pomegranate, Parsley, Pita Chip, and Salted White Chocolate Bark was a beautiful beginning. The creamy texture of the baba ganoush paired perfectly with the subtle sweetness of the white chocolate, while the pomegranate added a burst of freshness. The Arugula Salad with Chocolate Vinaigrette, Cherries, Almonds, and Shaved Dark Chocolate was a delightful blend of flavors and textures, showcasing the versatility of chocolate in savory dishes.

Menu of the global journey through chocolate
Food pairing White Chocolate Baba Ganoush and Arugula with Chocolate

Chefs Tyler LaCroix and Steve Stopka from Lake Life Catering collaborated with David Morton from Hedonist Chocolatiers to create this inspiring menu. Their attention to detail in each pairing was meticulous.

Next, guests indulged in a savory selection that perfectly complemented the 2021 Hilda Chardonnay and the 2021 Cabernet Sauvignon. The Chocolate Ravioli with Mushroom Duxelles Ricotta, Cocoa Sage Brown Butter, and Parmesan was a true delight, with the earthy flavors of the mushrooms and sage perfectly balanced by the rich chocolate notes. The Mole Chicken Taco with Crispy Wonton, Red Onion, Cilantro, and Cocoa Rice was a flavor explosion, with the mole sauce adding a depth of flavor that was simply divine.

Chefs Steve and Tyler with Hospitality Manager Holly and Chocolate Master David
Plate of Chocolate Ravioli and Mole Chicken Taco
Hospitality Manager Holly Lynn Fusco pouring wine for guests
Close up of fork and knife

A sweet finale concluded the culinary journey. The Chocolate Crepe with Strawberries and Milk Chocolate Sauce was a decadent delight, with the sweetness of the chocolate and strawberries perfectly complementing the light and airy crepe. The Bahn Tieu with Chocolate-filled Vietnamese Donut, Sesame Seeds, and Powdered Sugar was a playful twist on a classic dessert, showcasing the versatility of chocolate in unexpected ways. The sweetness of each dish paired gracefully with two styles of fortified wines, the 2019 Tawny Pinot Gris and the 2020 Ruby Amur. 

The highlight of the afternoon was the opportunity to learn from chocolate expert David Morton who shared his knowledge and passion for the art of chocolate making. Guests discovered the intricate process of tempering chocolate into delectable delights and gained a deeper appreciation for the craftsmanship behind each piece. The intimate setting fostered a sense of community, making the event not just a tasting, but a shared experience.

The Global Journey Through Chocolate at Dr. Konstantin Frank Winery was a truly unforgettable experience. The innovative menu, expertly paired wines, and stunning setting made for an afternoon that will long be remembered

Guests making their own chocolates
Gold Dr. Frank Leaf

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After World War II, there was a growing interest in drier, European-style wines in the United States, but no such grapes were grown in the Finger Lakes until Dr. Konstantin Frank, a Ukrainian viticulturist, relocated to Cornell University’s Geneva Experiment Station in 1953 and began planting European varieties. Dr. Frank had written his PhD thesis on cold-climate growing techniques of Vitis vinifera and ultimately proved that common grapes could be grown in the region with proper grafting and care.


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