Today is National Hot Toddy Day, and it couldn't come at a better time. Last night I attended a Chocolate & Whiskey Pairing in San Francisco, sponsored by Pacari Chocolate.
I hadn't tasted Pacari Chocolate before, and I am pleased to say it hit the mark on several levels. There were 9+ fabulous Ecuadorian Pacari Chocolates to taste including the Raw Line, Lemongrass bar, Salt&Nib bar, Raw Maca bar, Merken Chili bar, and their Single-Origin line. My favorite was the Raw Nib Bar with Pink Sea Salt from Cuzco.
Pacari Chocolate is a great organic chocolate. Their first single-origin organic chocolate is made in small batches entirely in Ecuador. All of their ingredients are 100% organic and produced according to fair and equitable standards. Each of their single-region, raw and specialty chocolate products is crafted to maintain the complex flavor profile of the Arriba Nacional cacao bean. Pacari partners with small-scale cacao growers to preserve their traditional way of farming.
The pairing of chocolate with whiskey made a big impact on me. I wasn't a big whiskey drinker before last night, but this Whiskey & Chocolate Pairing made me a convert--both to whiskey, particularly Scotch, and to pairing with chocolate. I've used whiskey in truffles and bourbon balls and cakes, so I knew chocolate and whiskey went together--just hadn't tasted them together--a bite of chocolate-a swig of whiskey! They totally go together and each brings out the flavors in the other. The whiskeys on deck last night: High West Double Rye, Basil Hayden's Kentucky Straight Bourbon, Buffalo Trace Kentucky Straight Bourbon and Laphroaig Single Malt.
Knowing that today was National Hot Toddy Day, I asked the mixologist for his favorite whiskey to pair with a specific Pacari chocolate to make a Hot Toddy. Of course, this quickly became a 'heated' discussion with the Pacari Chocolate expert and everyone else at the tasting table. Since Hot Toddys are often consumed when one is a bit under the weather, the first Hot Toddy suggested might pair one of the whiskeys with Pacari Lemon Grass Chocolate since lemon grass has several healthy properties.
But I think the Raw Maca Bar would be even better as an ingredient in a hot toddy. Maca, an important traditional Andean food and medicinal plant, is regarded as a highly nutritious, energy-food, and as a medicine that enhances strength and endurance. O.K, it also has been known to act as an aphrodisiac, so if you're under the weather in need of a chocolate hot toddy, this is the chocolate to pick. You're bound to get healthier. Here are a few combinations: The Pacari Raw Maca Bar and the High West Double Rye which is a bit spicy-- or the Basil Hayden's Kentucky or Buffalo Trace Kentucky Straight Bourbon which are both smoother.
Want a little heat in your Hot Toddy? Try Pacari's Chile Bar. This Bar combines dark organic chocolate with Merkén, a spice traditionally used by the indigenous Mapuche people of Chile. It gives the heat of chili but with a spicy, smoky flavor. I'd pair this with the Laphroaig.
You don't have to heat up the whiskey and chocolate to enjoy them at a pairing, but since it's National Hot Toddy Day, you might want to give it a go. You don't have to be sick to have a Chocolate Hot Toddy!
CHOCOLATE HOT TODDY RECIPE (makes 4 cups)
1- 1/2 cups grated dark chocolate (see Pacari chocolate choices above)
1/2 cup dry milk powder
4 cups whole milk
8 tablespoons your favorite Whiskey
1. In medium bowl, mix grated chocolate and dry milk powder.
2. In medium saucepan, heat whole milk over medium heat. Once heated, stir in chocolate mixture and whisk until chocolate has melted and mixture is smooth and hot.
3. Pour 2 Tbsp. Whiskey into each mug (four mugs total), then fill each mug with the hot chocolate mixture. Serve hot. Add whipped cream if you want!
Pacari is hosting an open to the public Whiskey and Chocolate Pairing in San Francisco, January 16 at PhotoBooth, 1193 Valencia St @ 23rd, San Francisco, CA. If you go, be sure to comment below. Love to hear about your favorites!
Thank you, Sarah from Pacari, for a fabulous evening of Chocolate and Whiskey!