by Yael Levin
Israel: “For the first time in the world, a gourmet chocolate and wine tasting center has been opened in a winery.
The joining of knowledge between the French chocolate company VALRHONA and TISHBI winery has created a uinque concept of tasting gourmet chocolate with the finest wines.”
When I first heard of the opening of the new Tishbi wine and chocolate center I felt as if years of my life had been redeemed. I knew it, I knew it! I kept on shouting these 2 words to everyone in an outburst of happiness: “I knew”, the same “everyone” who had been mocking me for so long for this strange habit of mine: mixing dark chocolate with red wine. The ultimate gustative pleasure, the divine union of my 2 favourite tastes. In a strange alchemy, I have always had the feeling that each of the two tastes brings out the best in each other, as if the wine potentiate the aroma of the chocolate and vice-versa into a mysterious and powerful explosion of taste and smell.
The perfect romance
Actually, I used to share this weird habit of mine with only one other person, my best friend, Elisabeth. We would phone each other, on our way out of work and make sure we would buy the 2 essential items for our evening together. The evening when chocolate made love to red wine. We would have a quick bite to eat if we were very hungry and then we would simply relax enjoying the melting of the strong chocolate, the pungent taste of the wine, the way they managed to create that unique harmony of flavor. Our secret. Our pleasure. Just chocolate and wine.
Over the years, I have begun to experiment with other types of wines and chocolates, from the milky, sweet ones to the crunchier versions, from my absolute favourite red, dry wine to subtler and sweeter ones. I cannot imagine eating chocolate without wine. And I cannot imagine a better way to relax at night. As romance goes with roses so does chocolate go with wine. The perfect love affair.
The religious experience of wine and chocolate
So, I went to the wine tasting with the enthusiasm of a lost child who had finally found his true family. The experience was intense, almost religious, as if there were so much more to matter than just molecules. Just as wine should be. My mind spoke of Chemistry but my soul knew only Man could put together such a divine ritual. I found my place around the wooden bar. I looked at the glasses and the box with six pieces of chocolate, each paired with a specific wine to bring out the flavors in both. I was in heaven. I was at home.
The center was crowded and in the first days of its opening they had over 40,000 visitors. Among them, I actually felt like a connosseur. But I remained silent about my little secret: I have been a wine & chocolate addict for years.
The Tishbi family’s romance with grapes and wine began in 1882 when the present generations great-grandparents were commissioned by Baron Edmond de Rothschild to plant the first modern wine grape vineyards in Israel. After more than a Century of grape growing tradition, Jonathan Tishbi founded the Tishbi Estate in1984, which produces four series of wines, each offering consistent quality and flavor ,as well as value and style within its class.
Set near Zichron Yaacov, at the foot of the Carmel mountain ridge near the coast, the Tishbi Estate is surrounded by its home vineyards which enjoy the cooling breezes of the Mediterranean Sea. The Tishbi family also plants, grows and harvests premium grapes at higher elevations to the North, to take full advantage of the cool mountain night air and the long sunny Mediterranean growing season ,and in the Negev Desert to the South, where hot arid days and cool windy nights combine with sandy soils to yield superior grapes.
To this day, owner Jonathan Tishbi, together with his family, personally supervises the growing, harvesting and bottling processes, tasting and evaluating each vineyard lot separately before creating final blends and award winning wines, sparkling wines and brandy.