Daring Pairings with Scotch and Chocolate

Marcus Von Albrecht and David Mincey at The Hotel Rialto. Photo by Ellie Shortt

For some, there’s nothing better than a sip of fine whiskey. For others, there’s nothing better than a bite of beautiful chocolate. But for many, these two pleasures aren’t an expected duo – something that may very well change in the near future.


This past Saturday Victorians were able to partake in a scotch and chocolate tasting experience run by enthusiasts of both of these “intriguing indulgences.” Marcus Von Albrecht, a chef and whisky connoisseur, and David Mincey, owner of Camille’s restaurant, Preservation Foods and a well-known local chocolate enthusiast, put on the event with the support of The Hotel Rialto. The experts  paired four distinct scotch whiskeys with four artisanal chocolates. With successful events in Vancouver and the Victoria Whiskey Festival, Van Albrecht decided to bring this winning concept to a more formal sit-down affair where guests could sample rare scotches, nibble on some unique chocolates and learn tips on experiencing both of these delights on their own and more importantly, together.

The first scotch was a Tantallan 10 year old Highland whisky, where notes of butterscotch and clove were highlighted by a smooth and creamy cardamom crème brulée white chocolate, encased in a milk chocolate heart from Vancouver’s XOXOLAT.


This was followed by a pairing of a rare Knockdhu 10 Year Old scotch, with a 70% dark chocolate by Madécasse. The Knochdhu is so unique that there are only three bottles left in the world, one of which was joyfully consumed at this very event. The chocolate, which comes from a cooperative plantation in Madagascar, contained citrus and red berry flavours that married well with the honey, lemon and spicy finish of this Speyside whisky.


The third scotch, another Speyside, was a 2002 Sherry Cask Craigellachie that carried sweet notes of rich stewed fruits and spices, and a touch of cherry and leather. Bonnat chocolate, the only chocolate in Europe still using production methods from 100 years ago, provided the perfect pairing with Indonesian milk and notes of tobacco and caramel.


The final tasting was what Von Albrecht referred to as “the scotch that sets the men apart from the boys.” The Finlaggan Cask Strength packed a punch with powerful tar, smoked leather, and salty notes, and a long, almost medicinal finish. For something that could hold its own to this dominating Islay scotch, Mincey offered a XOXOLAT Bacon chocolate with triple smoked, maple caramelized bacon, espresso infusion and silky milk chocolate.


A fun and informative event, The Scotch and Chocolate Tasting at The Hotel Rialto was a hit with scotch enthusiasts, chocolate lovers, and (newly minted) indulgent pairing specialists.




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