A good times gal like me would be remiss without mentioning the Pisco and chocolate tasting we experienced at Xocolatl during our chocolate travels in Lima.
I had always thought a deep dark chocolate went best when paired with a big red wine like Malbec. But I’m now learning that there are many other libations that pair very nicely with chocolate, and chocolatier Giovanna Maggiolo wanted to be sure we understood that the Peruvian brandy was no exception.
Learning from a Pisco Sommelier
She invited Pisco sommelier Lucero Villagarcia to teach us about the clear, distilled liquor made from the bitter Pisco grapes grown between Lima and Tacna along the beautiful Peruvian coast. The grapes come in both white or red, and it takes seven kilos of grapes to make one bottle of Pisco. No wonder it’s relatively expensive to buy at about $40 a bottle. This site shows the different varieties you can buy.
Eight different varietals of grapes produce different varieties of Pisco, basically divided into aromatic and non-aromatic with all sorts of exotic flavour enhancements to entice you.
The non-aromatic Quebranta variety offers hints of apples and raisins. The Mollar variety features hints of apples, herbs, citrus and pecans. The aromatic Italia variety is fruity, with floral flavours and hints of lemongrass and roses and is my personal favourite. And the Muscatel variety offers hints of peach, pineapple and plum.
Any of these can be blended with the Pisco grape to make one of the four major types of Pisco as designated by the regulatory board:
- PURO Pisco is made from only one varietal of grape (pure, single origin).
- AROMATICAS is an aromatic Pisco primarily made from Muscat-derived grapes and is unique to Peru.
- ACHOLADO Picso is a blend of two or more grapes and generally used in Pisco Sour cocktails.
- MOSTO VERDE Pisco is made from unfermented wine and results in a smoother, sweeter and less intense liquor bearing the most expensive price tag of the four types.
Pairing chocolate with Pisco
- 1 cup pisco
- 4 cups ice
- 1/3 cup lemon juice
- 1/3 cup white sugar
- 1 egg white
- aromatic bitters to flavour