by Punch Palate Correspondent Megan McGrath
Welcome to paradise, my version of paradise anyway!Â Stepping into Old Town’s The Sugar Cube is like walking into the brightest, happiest place on earth, candyland!Â Patrons are instantly greeted by vivid, sunnyÂ colors, and both unique andÂ nostalgic candies.Â The recently relocated store hasÂ everything from gourmet truffles (more on that later),Â caramels, licorice, candy bars, and yes, lollipops.
I was recently invited to stop by the store to pair two of my favorite things, chocolate and wine!Â The Truffle and Wine pairing was hosted by The Sugar Cube,Â and was a collaborative event between their sweetÂ treats and theÂ savory bites and wine from next-door neighbor, La Fromagerie.
La Fromagerie’s Owner and Chef, Sebastien prepared tantalizing appetizers to kick off our event.Â We enjoyedÂ a vibrant tomato salad with creamy burrata, fresh peas, and simple prosciutto and fig crostini.Â The Chef also created a light salmon crouton.Â No better way to perk up the palate for this extravagantÂ tasting.Â The starters were pairedÂ with a light Aurore Chardonnay and refreshing Chateau Cambon Beaujolais Rose.Â I think rose generally gets a bad wrap, and am glad to see people are finally considering it a suitable summer beverage.
I was intrigued to see how our wine expert would pair the rich and complex flavors of the truffles with her wine.Â Â She gave us an overview, and broke things down to basics, by explaining her theory that wine and food should have a conversation; one should talk whileÂ the other listens.Â This way the twoÂ mealÂ items compliment each other, instead of competing.Â We cleansed our palates withÂ popcorn and fizzy German Gilabert Brut Cava.Â
Next we moved on to the tasting.Â I’m listing each truffle and paired wine below.Â We worked from left to right on the plate.
66% Dark Chocolate Truffle paired with Le Petit Champ Bordeaux
Mango Truffle paired with Chateau Jouclay Rose
Passion Panna Cotta Truffle paired with Chateau Villefranche Sauternes
Butter & Scotch Truffle paired with Quinta do Infantado Tawny Port
Tahitian Caramel Truffle also paired with Quinta do Infantado Tawny Port
Bite by bite we worked our way through the truffles, and I was surprised how each wine brought out the fruit flavors, spices, or toned down the overall sweetness of the truffles.Â I don’t generally like white chocolate, so was incredibly surprised to find out myÂ favorite paringÂ was the Passion Panna Cotta Truffle, which was coated in a white chocolate.Â I also loved the glittery Tahitian Caramel Truffle paired with the Tawny Port.
After our tasting, we moved to the classroom to try our hand at truffle-making!Â The Sugar Cube hosts all different types of fudge, candy and cookie decorating classes for kids.Â As a big kid, I could not have been more excited as co-owner Kim (with her sister Alyssa) explained the steps and necessary tools of the trade for truffle-making.
She showed us how to make the fancyÂ designs on theÂ truffles by gradually heating up coloredÂ cocoa butter, and usingÂ special molds similar to anÂ ice cube tray.Â Kim mentioned, that the temperature of the chocolate is theÂ most important thing to keep in mind, and thatÂ water is a natural enemy of chocolate.Â Â After the demo, I sat down in the candy classroom with my cocoa butterÂ colors of choice, and proceeded to createÂ designs in each section of the tray.Â These “designs”Â were a combination of my finger-painting skills from preschool, and my limited paint brush skills from elementary school.Â Once the cocoa butter dried and our molds were finished, Kim gradually poured chocolate at an angle into the tray, and scraped offÂ the excess chocolate.Â The truffle shells were set aside to harden overnight, and I learned these sit for up to 24 hours in some cases.
So much for instant gratification!Â I thoroughly enjoyed the truffle decorating process, and can see why the classes at The Sugar Cube are so popular with kids and parents.Â A few days later I anxiously opened the pictures of my experiment.Â I was completely shocked to see the photo below, and couldn’t believeÂ how well my first attemptÂ turned out.Â It must have been the patient instruction!Â A little color goes a long way to upping the glam factor on this beauties.
Impressed by theseÂ truffles?Â Support me by Liking them on The Sugar Cube Facebook page.Â My glorious truffles pictured above are competing against the mean green truffles of my sinister competitor.Â Make sure to check it out and LIKE MY TRUFFLES!Â Â Participating Punch readersÂ will getÂ a special code forÂ a free truffle in The Sugar Cube store.Â Remember, victory is sweet and vote Team Punch!
Punch Palate Correspondent Megan McGrath is a serious foodie turned avid food blogger. Megan believes that food is fun, and is always looking for the next big thing on the DC food scene! She is the Assistant Director of Employer Outreach at a local law school in Washington DC, and works with all different types of legal employers and law students. Megan lives in Arlington, and can often be found experimenting in her kitchen for her blog http://imperfectlydelicious.com. Follow her on Twitter @imprfctlydelish.