English sparkling rosé truffles

The perfect Valentine’s Day combination: chocolate truffles filled with sparkling wine

There are two schools of thought when it comes to Valentine’s Day. The first, more cynical view is that the honouring of love’s patron saint has had whatever genuine meaning it might once have possessed hollowed out by rampant commercialism. The second, softer view is that dedicating a day to love and flowers doesn’t do anyone any harm. You don’t have to have a partner. You can express your love to your friends, family, colleagues, even yourself, with as much or as little ceremony and champagne as you wish. In such a spirit did we approach Artisan du Chocolat’s English sparkling rosé truffles, produced in partnership with the acclaimed Chapel Down vineyard.

Light and delicate
Their marriage is one of geography—both artisans are based in the rolling hills of Kent—and calibre: they’ve won countless awards, and supply some of the country’s finest restaurants and retailers. “We picked their fantastic Chapel Down Rosé Brut and paired it with our fine milk chocolate strawberry truffle,” says Princessa at the Artisan du Chocolat stall. The wine is made from pinot noir grapes, the zingy red-fruit flavours of which pay perfect complement to the strawberry, while the soft, biscuity notes on the bubbles round out the milk chocolate. Where most commercial champagne truffles will likely be laced with Marc de Champagne, a strong alcohol distilled from the residue of champagne grapes, this pairing is light and delicate, “not too alcoholic at all”.

Princessa pairs hers with coffee. “I’ve never thought about having alcohol with alcoholic truffles,” she says, making us silently doubt our life choices. We still pair ours with sparkling wine, though—more out of curiosity than anything else. We wanted to know what Chapel Down Rosé Brut was like before it had been embraced in the rich, velvety folds of chocolate, strawberry and cream. The answer, of course, is that the sparkling wine is delicious, but that the truffle is marginally better, being—like every good partnership—the best possible version of its constituent parts, encased in chocolate and dusted with a glittery, shiny coating.