I think it was December 26th when I saw the first Valentine’s Day chocolates infiltrating the aisles of Walgreens after a quick stop to grab a four-pack of 5 Hour Energy to survive the rest of the Christmas break with my kids. I have not met one human that actually buys their Valentine’s loot IN DECEMBER. I am literally still secretly throwing away all that cheap/nasty Halloween candy that’s still above my fridge used to bribe my kids in dire “Put your shoes on NOW” situations.

In a world where we have to constantly manage the ingredients that go into our bodies, I made it my mission this Valentine’s Day to “Up my Chocolate Game!” As a founding member of Scout & Cellar Wines, it was only natural for me to think of what pairs perfectly with good chocolate? Good Wine! Listen, nobody is saying we won’t have an occasional craving for Cheetos mixed with Pirate Booty dipped in queso; but for the whirlwind of things us moms have to put up with on the daily… we need to treat ourselves with some top-quality products made from natural and high-end ingredients. Products that won’t make us feel like crap the next day, or have us waking up at 4 am parched for water and Tylenol! It’s time to get fancy!

I work with a company that partners with people who create something found in nature, manipulate it with minimal intervention, then magically turn it into a substance that ‘mom’entarily makes us forget about the smell in the minivan.  WINE. Not just any wine, but wine that won’t negate all the hard work you did in that $30 per class workout. Wine that won’t destroy all those low-carb meals you ate to look decent in your mom-jeans. This said company is Scout & Cellar, and if you have not heard about it, now you will. The company is helping give moms, millennials, nutritionists, bloggers, and just about anyone over 21, a better alternative to drinking wine. Not only does it have to pass rigorous lab-testing to make sure it doesn’t have any of the 250 additives and up to 16grams of added sugar found in most mass-produced wine, but it also has to taste good. When you source grapes from the best regions, pick them by hand at the perfect time, and hand-craft the wine, you don’t need the additives. You just upped your wine game. Moving on. So how can the same be said for chocolate?

I recently met with chocolate maker Annie Rupani of Cacao & Cardamom and she taught me that they follow a process (similar to the process of organic wine) called “Bean to Bar,” which means they work with the raw cacao bean. Our American palette has been “dumbed down” as far as quality chocolate goes, and many think that a Hershey’s bar is what chocolate is meant to taste like. Rupani says, “What’s really similar about our companies is that we take pride in having a product that is true to its natural form. Single-origin chocolates are similar to Scout & Cellar because we don’t add any preservatives, we don’t add any sugar we don’t need, and we try to keep our chocolates as pure as possible.” Rupani suggests pairing our Fieldhouse White Blend with her beautiful Raspberry Pistachio chocolate.  For a red wine pairing, she suggests the 5 Spice Praline with our Resident Pinot Noir from Willamette Valley.

Chocolate maker Dany Kamkhagi from Mostly Chocolate & Catering also has an eye for beautiful chocolates and suggests looking at the tasting notes on wines to help with pairing. Scout & Cellar has tasting notes listed on our website, which can be helpful for choosing the perfect wine for your chocolate pairing. Dany suggested pairing their award winning Hazelnut & POPROCKS chocolate (don’t you dare let your kids in on this fancy-fun…this is for Mommy ONLY) with our Rivamonte Prosecco from Veneto, Italy. For a Chardonnay, he said the vanilla notes in our creamy Resident Chardonnay would pair well with the citrus notes in their passion fruit chocolate (the contrast between the vanilla and citrus can really work well together).

For our Field House Cabernet Sauvignon that is Earthy and Bold, he suggests their Truffle Honey chocolate (they use actual truffle shavings and not a synthetic truffle oil) or, their Single Origin Dark Chocolate truffle, so it doesn’t fight with the bold flavors in the cab. You can try Cacao & Cardamom Chocolates paired with Scout & Cellar Wine at an upcoming private event on February 15th, click here for details. You can also book Mostly Chocolate & Catering for a private wine and chocolate pairing, or have them cater your next event in their chocolate factory!  Click here for their next event. 

**About the Author: Keri Henry grew up in West University, is a West U Mom to two girls, is known by many for her rescue efforts during Hurricane Harvey, and for raising awareness for her niece Caroline who suffers from a rare disease called Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease. Keri is a founding member with Scout & Cellar Wines and is extremely knowledgeable and passionate about the Company, and about her work. You can reach Keri through her Instagram page @keri_henry or through her Facebook Page “Wine & Bites with Keri.” To purchase Scout & Cellar Wine, join her wine team, or to book her for a tasting, visit Keri’s Website at www.clean-wine.com

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