Traverse City Record-Eagle

February 14, 2013

Port wine, dark chocolate make for romance

Special to the Record-Eagle
Traverse City Record-Eagle

---- — TRAVERSE CITY — Old Mission Peninsula’s Chateau Chantal has been producing a proprietary dessert wine for 15 years named in the language of love: Cerise, the French word for cherry.

Befitting the holiday, the cherry red color of this gold medal winning port-styled wine makes the perfect pairing with dark chocolate. Made by adding cherry Eau de Vie (40 percent alcohol) to cherry wine, Cerise is opulent and packed with black and red cherry flavors with a hint of almond. At 19 percent alcohol, this sweet dessert wine is served in small glasses, paired here with a decadent chocolate dessert.

Chef Perry Harmon created this dessert recipe for the Chateau Chantal Wine Dinners held each summer and fall. A similar dessert will be offered Feb. 16 for the winery’s multi-course Valentine’s Wine Dinner by Chef Les Hagaman.

Limited seating is available for this special dinner where Cerise will be served. Visit

Dark Chocolate Pots De Crème

3/4 c. sugar

1 c. whole milk

11/2 c. heavy cream

1 t. vanilla extract

8 oz. best quality dark chocolate (such as Lindt 70% dark), roughly chopped

6 egg yolks, lightly beaten

Preheat oven to 270°. Place 6 ramekins in a large baking dish and pour cold water into baking dish until it reaches halfway up ramekins

In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, milk, heavy cream and vanilla.

Bring mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally. Add dark chocolate and whisk until mixture is thickened and smooth. Take mixture off heat.

Place egg yolks in a large bowl. Slowly add chocolate mixture, whisking until completely smooth.

Divide chocolate mixture evenly among ramekins. Cover baking dish with foil.

Bake until custard is cooked but still jiggles in the center, about 1 hour 20 minutes.

Remove ramekins from water bath and bring to room temperature. Chill in refrigerator until cold.

Serve with a wedge of chocolate bark, a drizzle of caramel sauce, whipped cream and raspberries. Makes six servings.

—@news:Chef Perry Harmon

Chocolate Bark

11/2 c. walnut halves (6 oz.) or other nut, cocoa nibs or seeds (use less if nibs or seeds)

9 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

1 c. dried sour cherries (4 oz.), coarsely chopped

2 T. finely chopped crystallized ginger, if using

Preheat the oven to 350°. Spread the walnuts on a baking sheet and toast for 8 minutes, or until golden and fragrant. Let cool and then coarsely chop.

Line a baking sheet with parchment or wax paper. In a glass bowl, heat two-thirds of the chocolate in a microwave oven at high power in 30-second bursts until just melted. Stir until smooth. Add the remaining chocolate and stir until melted. Stir in the walnuts, cherries and crystallized ginger until evenly coated.

Scrape the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet and spread it into a 12-by-8-inch rectangle. Refrigerate for 10 minutes or until firm enough to cut.

Cut the bark into 48 pieces (6 rows by 8 rows) and transfer to a plate. Serve cold or at room temperature. Makes 48 pieces.

Note: The bark can be kept in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days or refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.

—@news:Chef Perry Harmon