January 30, 2016 – The Mansion at Glen Cove was a delicious destination for discovering the exotic pleasures of pairing chocolates and wines from around the world. The event was hosted by Chocolate Sommelier, Roxanne Browning.
Guests arrived before the tasting to sample some delicious dishes that were prepared by Executive Chef Andy Helliwell, including Beef Flanken braised in mole to compliment the variety of wines and chocolates that were going to be paired.
Chocolate and Wine.
The Fabulous Roxanne Browning, New York’s Chocolate Sommelier not only was the host but a fascinating guide for this “Soiree for the Senses.” The event was truly a one-of-a-kind exotic tasting experience.
This special adventure began at 7PM with a leisurely cocktail reception, followed by the luscious pairings of wine with chocolate.
Roxanne Browning, Chocolate Sommelier, from New York had all intentions as a child to save the world. She earned a BFA at the School of Visual Arts in New York City that led to a career in the ad world on Madison Avenue, far from the ideal of joining the Peace Corp. One day she woke up in 1990 in the small town of Northport, where she wanted to bring positive changes to her community, and so she decided to run for office. As a two-term elected official she was allowed to serve the people, which was both a rewarding and a humbling experience.
Glen Cove Mansion Chef Andy Helliwell with Cognac.
As the Mayor she was concerned about the local environment and infrastructure of her town. After two high energy careers, she retired the gavel in search of a sweeter life. That brought her back to the question she had as a child, “How can I help others?”
As an entrepreneur she merged two passions: chocolate and wine. Ultimately, a trip to the Ecuadorian Amazon Rainforest, where she harvested cacao and witnessed firsthand how the noble cacao pod transforms into a chocolate bar motivated her to create this unusual career. By empowering cacao farmers to lift themselves out of poverty, they reinvest back into their land and communities, and can feed and educate their children.
Founded in 2010, Exotic Chocolate Tasting, Inc. is a Certified New York State Women-owned business. This original idea of terroir-driven chocolate paired with wine showcases her knowledge and experience with guests while they enjoy their two favorite pleasures. Uniquely entertaining and enlightening, you can host your event at a restaurant, wine bar, conference room or your family room. The event concept is ideal for public, private soirees, professional functions, and fundraisers. A list of distinctive settings can be sent on request to Roxanne and she will customize and tailor it to your specifications.
Her “Green” mission and higher purpose is to bring awareness of the indigenous people that create sustainable chocolate from bean-to-bar, how cacao harvesting helps the rainforest, the health benefits of chocolate, and to demonstrate how to mindfully savor every morsel for your well-being.
During the event I sat down with Roxanne as she explained her passion for exotic chocolate and fine wine parings.
Chocolate Sommelier Roxanne Browning with Cognac.
Cognac: Welcome back darlings, I am Cognac Wellerlane and we are here at the Glen Cove Mansion and I am here with Roxanne and she is going to talk about a very special event that is taking place right here at this wonderful hotel and inn. It is all about chocolate and wine pairing. It is a wonderful tasting. Roxanne tell my audience about this event tonight. Tell us how you coordinated it.
Roxanne: Well I am a chocolate sommelier and my company is Exotic Chocolate Tasting. I have a methodology of creating pairings from arisen exotic chocolates and wine. This is one of the very few public events that I do. I mostly do corporate events or non for profits and private events. This is a lovely venue.
Oh, it’s gorgeous.
Roxanne: There are about thirty five people that will be attending. It’s sort of like a pre-Valentines Day pairing. So when I had that in mind I thought about floral notes and fruit notes that will be in two of the chocolates. The chocolate comes from–one of the chocolates comes from Tuscany, infused with red berries. Another one I brought back from Australia. The beans are from the Samoa Islands and there is another one from London and those beans are from Madagascar, and the very special one–because it is close to Valentines Day–is a chocolate infused with candied violets.
Wow, candied violets.
Roxanne: Yes that is paired with prosecco so that will be our opener. We are going from a prosecco and then we are going to go to the chocolate from Madagascar that’s paired with a wine that is a zinfandel that is California, and then we are going to Tuscany with the wine and the chocolate. We are going to end with a wine and chocolate from Australia.
Oh my goodness.
Roxanne: We are going around the world sitting in your seats.
It sounds truly amazing and quite fascinating. This is a new trend, am I right about that? Pairing wine and chocolates together.
Roxanne: I started this trend six years ago and I am still the only one that is doing it at least to this level of perfection and passion.
Glen Cove Mansion Director of Operations Gus Montesantos with Cognac.
Chocolate and wine pairings are the perfect sensory experience! Roxanne’s original idea pairs terroir-driven chocolate with wine to enhance their flavors and nuances. Sip the wine with the chocolate, and an “aha!” moment follows. Roxanne’s events are an infusion of flavors using all your senses that will certainly reveal a fun new way to enjoy your beloved treasures.