Pairing Beer & Chocolate

The first annual Burlington Beer Festival is coming up quickly (July 18th – 20th) and we’ve got Craft Beer on the mind!

Burlington Beer Festival | Christy's Gourmet Gifts Though Bernie loves experimenting with pairing our Brittle to local Craft Beers, he is always drawn back to chocolate – after all, he is a Master Chocolatier!

This week at the shop, we did some taste-testing and pairing with Craft Beer and Belgian Chocolate (is this really a job?!) and decided we should share our findings with all our fellow beer and chocolate enthusiasts!

Bernie - Master Chocolatier | Christy's Gourmet Gifts

We hope Bernie’s tips inspire you to do some pairings and tastings at home!

The rules of pairing are simple:

  1. Find and match flavours that taste great together
  2. Pair high-end with high-end and inexpensive with inexpensive
  3. There are no rules on what is right or wrong, it’s all about taste!
  4. Have fun!

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White Chocolate: White Chocolate is generally made with cocoa butter and includes no cocoa mass.  White chocolate may have the following flavour notes: cream, milk, honey, vanilla, caramel and/or fruit.

Belgian White Chocolate Callets | Christy's Gourmet Gifts | Pairing Chocolate and Beer

For pairing, we suggest lighter craft beers with subtle citrus undertones.  Brews with fruit, honey or vanilla flavours will pair nicely and won’t overpower the sweetness of the white chocolate.

Pairing Suggestions:  North American Light Lager, North American Lager, German Style Wheat Beer, Belgian Style Wheat Beer, Cream Ales, Fruit Beer, Ciders, Pilsner

Examples:  Nickel Brook – Green Apple Pilsner

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Milk Chocolate:  Milk Chocolate is generally made with cocoa butter, milk and 35%-45% cocoa mass.  Milk chocolate may have the following flavour notes: brown sugar, milk, cream, vanilla, honey, caramel, nuttiness, coffee and or malt.

Belgian Milk Chocolate Callets | Christy's Gourmet Gifts | Pairing Chocolate and Beer

For pairing, we suggest a medium strength craft beer which will work in harmony with the sweetness of the milk chocolate. Brews with brown sugar, caramel, coffee and nutty undertones are the best bet.

Pairing Suggestions:  Amber Lager, European Style Lager, Honey/Maple, Cream Ales, British Pale Ales, North American Pale Ale, India Pale Ale, Amber Ale, Porter

Examples: Nickel Brook – Maple Porter, Nickel Brook – Cuvee Ale 

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Dark Chocolate: Dark chocolate is generally made with cocoa butter and greater than 55 % of cocoa mass.  It has a strong flavour with a good balance of sugar but is not too sweet. Dark chocolate may have the following flavour notes: nutty, spicy, smoke, coffee and/or earthy notes with hints of cherry and caramel.

Belgian Dark Chocolate Callets | Christy's Gourmet Gifts | Pairing Chocolate and Beer

For pairing, we suggest a darker craft beer which will complement the bitterness or strong flavour of the semisweet chocolate. Brews with nutty, spicy or earthy notes are the best bet.

Pairing Suggestions: Dark Lager, Bock, North American Pale Ale, India Pale Ale, Dark Ale, Porter, Stout, Strong Beer

Examples: Nickel Brook – Bolshevik Bastard Imperial Stout, Nickel Brook – Old Kentucky Bastard Imperial Stout 

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Are you interested in a private beer and chocolate tasting? We would love to hear from you!  Our Master Chocolatier is always interested in working with local craft breweries.

Contact us at: sales@christysgourmetgifts.com

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To read more about Chocolate and Beer Pairings, visit these links:

http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/07/28/beer-types-decoding-different-beers_n_1711279.html

http://www.thenibble.com/reviews/main/chocolate/flavors.asp

www.mynslc.com/Content_MarketingPages/Content_Beer/Content_BeerAppreciation/Beer Pairings/BeerandChocolate.aspx

http://www.sheknows.com/food-and-recipes/articles/983087/how-to-pair-chocolate-with-beer

Let Us Make Your Day Extra Sweet!

Valentine’s Day is coming up quickly and Christy’s Gourmet has you covered in the gifts department.  Let us help you make the event extra sweet for your special someone with some of the following gifts:

Valentine’s Themed Belgian Chocolate Puddle:

Solid Belgian milk chocolate and decorated with a marshmallow heart candy, cinnamon heart candies and Belgian dark chocolate drizzle.

Christy's Gourmet Gifts | Valentines Product Feature Pic 1 | Burlington, OntarioValentine’s Themed Milk Chocolate Christy’s Crunch:

Belgian Milk Chocolate combined with almonds, pure butter toffee and a light cookie crunch. Packaged beautifully and ready to give to your Valentine!

Christy's Gourmet Gifts | Valentines Product Feature Pic 2 | Burlington, OntarioBelgian Chocolate Hearts:

Heart-shaped Solid Belgian Chocolate and Vanilla Sugar Cookies dipped in Belgian chocolate are available at our shop and decorated in various ways. There’s a product to suit everyone’s taste!

Christy's Gourmet Gifts | Valentines Product Feature Pic 3 | Burlington, OntarioValentine’s Day Gift Packages:

This beautiful gift comes with 600 grams of our decadent Christy’s Crunch in 3 flavours, including milk chocolate, white chocolate with cranberries and dark chocolate plus a Valentine’s themed Belgian chocolate puddle.

Christy's Gourmet Gifts | Valentines Product Feature Pic 4 | Burlington, OntarioThese products and more are available online or at our shop at 3530 Mainway in Burlington! Please come visit us and make an impression with your sweetheart.

Easiest Ice Cream Cake

Entertaining is fun but sometimes the party preparation can be exhausting!

No worries – we are here to help with your party dessert preparations. We came up with this quick and super easy ice cream cake which is sure to be a crowd pleaser. It’s literally the easiest cake you will ever make! Now you can spend more time socializing and less time slaving in the kitchen!Ice Cream Cake – Picture 1 Edit – Christy’s Gourmet Gifts

Check out the how-to below:

What you will need:

  • 1 Ice Cream Brick (I used 2 for a lot of visitors)
  • Christy’s Crunch “Ice Cream Topping” – $5 in-store
  • Chocolate Syrup

Ice Cream Cake - Picture 2 - Christy's Gourmet GiftsHow To:

  • Remove ice cream brick from paper wrapping and place on a cookie sheet.
  • Pour Christy’s Crunch crumbs all over cake covering top and sides. This can get quite messy (the cookie tray will catch your crumbs).
  • Use a spatula and your hands to carefully lift the ice cream block off of the cookie tray and place onto a nice serving tray.
  • Drizzle with chocolate syrup.
  • Serve and enjoy. 🙂

Ice Cream Cake - Picture 3 - Christy's Gourmet Gifts

A Spooky Halloween Party

BOO!

Are you excited for Halloween? We know we are! We get super excited this time of year because we know immediately following Halloween our “Chocolate Season” begins!!

This year we decided to play around with the idea of planning our own Halloween party.

We chose to do a Halloween party that was family-friendly… something the kids would have fun at, but the parents would appreciate and enjoy.

Here are some of our Spooky Halloween Party ideas:

Decor:

It’s entirely up to you how you would like to theme your decor. If you want to do a brighter, livelier decor for the kids, stick with colours like orange, greens, purples etc. For a more adult-theme, a rustic-spooky and woodsy decor style is what you could aim for.

– Balloons with Jack o Lantern Faces

Christy's Gourmet Gifts | Halloween Party Theme Blog | Pic 1 Jack o Lanterns

Retrieved from http://www.marthastewart.com/273329/pumpkin-balloons?czone=holiday%2Fhalloween-center%2Fhalloween-center-decor&gallery=275513&slide=273329&center=276965

– Spooky Lush Halloween Decor

Christy's Gourmet Gifts | Halloween Party Theme Blog | Pic 2 Spooky Lush Decor

Retrieved from http://www.cocokelley.com/

– For a Backyard Halloween Party try Paper Lanterns in your colour theme.

Christy's Gourmet Gifts | Halloween Party Theme Blog | Pic 3 Paper Lanterns

Retrieved from http://www.ontobaby.com/

Food:

For the kids: have fun with the food! That’s what Halloween is all about. Make regular food a bit creepy or funny, such as the apple mouths below. For the adults, stick with something that embodies the harvest season, such as our *Limited Time* Pumpkin Spice Craft Beer Brittle

– Christy’s Gourmet Gifts’ Pumpkin Spice Craft Beer Brittle

Christy's Gourmet Gifts | Halloween Party Theme Blog | Pic 4 Pumpkin Spice Beer Brittle– Scary Apple Mouths (Apples, Marshmallows and Peanut Butter)

Cover one side of an apple slice with a light coating of peanut butter, line up mini marshmallows on top of the peanut butter, top with another apple slice covered in peanut butter (face down).

Christy’s Gourmet Gifts | Halloween Party Theme Blog | Pic 12 Apple Marshmallow Mouths

Retrieved from Family.go.com

Favours

Christy’s has you covered on the party favours! Why not try our Chocolated-dipped Oreos or Fudgeos? We also offer a “Mummy Marshmallow” which is spooky (and tasty!) in the best sort of way.

– Christy’s Gourmet Gifts’ Chocolate Dipped Oreos and Fudgeos

Christy's Gourmet Gifts | Halloween Party Theme Blog | Pic 7 Oreo Cookie Dipped– Christy’s Gourmet Gifts’ Mummy Marshmallows

Christy's Gourmet Gifts | Halloween Party Theme Blog | Pic 8 Marshmallow MummyExtras

What makes a party a great one? A great party is created when you plan all of those little details before-hand. That’s the stuff that people remember! Try these “extras” to make your party a hit with your guests.

– Ghostly frozen hand in the punch

Christy's Gourmet Gifts | Halloween Party Theme Blog | Pic 9 Frozen Hand

Retrieved from http://www.vitamin-ha.com/halloween-party-food-16-pics/halloween-party-food-14/

– Skeletal inspired milk bottle with sign “Good for the Bones”:

Christy's Gourmet Gifts | Halloween Party Theme Blog | Pic 10 Good For the Bones

Retrieved from http://www.loraleelewis.com/blog/?p=17443

– Pumpkin bowl for an ice bucket

Christy's Gourmet Gifts | Halloween Party Theme Blog | Pic 11 Pumpkin Bowl Ice Bucket

Retrieved from http://www.vitamin-ha.com/halloween-party-food-16-pics/halloween-party-food-04/

And that’s it! The Halloween party planning is complete and the guests are in for a great time.

Happy Halloween!  Do you have plans for Halloween? What will you dress up as?

Christy’s Gourmet Launches New Boozy Brittles Flavours

You may be familiar with our Boozy Brittles product line – which includes favourites such as: Craft Beer Brittle, Spicy Beer Brittle and Pretzel Beer Brittle, along with a Wine Infused Chocolate Toffee. We are extremely excited to announce to our customers and fans of Boozy Brittles: we will be introducing two new flavours of Wine Infused Chocolate Toffee!

Christy's Gourmet Gifts - Craft Beer Brittle LineThe two new flavours include: Merlot Black Pepper and Cinnamon Basil Baco Noir. They are both to die for –  if we do say so ourselves – and those who have tried either flavour are already hooked!

The Merlot Black Pepper begins with a red wine infused pure butter toffee, which is then mixed with freshly crushed black peppercorns. The toffee is drizzled in a Belgian dark chocolate and topped with peppercorns.

Christy’s Gourmet Gifts | Merlot Black Pepper Wine Infused Chocolate Toffee | New ProductThe Cinnamon Basil Baco Noir begins with a red wine infused pure butter toffee, which is mixed with freshly ground cinnamon and dried basil leaves. The toffee bar is then drizzled with a Belgian milk chocolate. (May we also add – this one smells amazing when it’s being baked. Yum!)

Christy's Gourmet Gifts | Cinnamon Basil Baco Noir Wine Infused Chocolate Toffee | New ProductStop by Christy’s shop in Burlington to try one of our new flavours for yourself – or contact us at sales@christysgourmetgifts.com to find a retailer near you.

Breakfasts in September – Quick & Easy Recipe

With the return of September, many Moms and Dads are beginning to think about quick and easy breakfasts to make for the kids. One of our favourite speedy and simple breakfasts is definitely oatmeal. As a special back-to-school treat, we decided to “spice up” our oatmeal with a special topper of Christy’s Crunch! We crumbled White Chocolate Cranberry Crunch overtop our maple and brown sugar oatmeal and boy was it ever good. The toffee and white chocolate melted slightly, which meant that even after we had eaten the Crunch up– the delicious flavour lingered on.

Christy's Gourmet Gifts - Quick and Easy Recipes for September - Back to School - Oatmeal TopperNow, we know this may not be a breakfast you’d want to serve your kids everyday… but it’s perfect for a special treat to beat the back-to-school blues. Try serving it with some yummy berries on the side for a more wholesome meal.

Some of our other favourite oatmeal toppings (perhaps more Mom-approved options) include:

  • Jams or Jellies
  • Yogurt
  • Sliced fresh fruit –  apples, bananas or berries
  • Dried fruit – apricots, mango, pineapple etc.

What are your favourite toppings for oatmeal OR your favourite easy breakfast recipes for the kids? How are you planning to beat the back-to-school blues?

Christy’s Gourmet Gifts presents Dancer’s Cookie Bouquets

Though you may not expect it, one of Christy’s Gourmet Gifts’ busiest times is during the months of May and June! Why, you may ask? The reason is…it’s dance recital season! One of the products we are well-known for is our Cookie Bouquets. They are a very unique product and a great alternative to traditional flowers. We are always adding new cookie cutter shapes and chocolate moulds to our repertoire. We have recently added a beautiful Tutu cookie, Dance Medallion moulds, a Dress cookie and much more! Check our website for details www.christysgourmetgifts.com.

Christy's Gourmet Gifts New Cookie Cutters and Chocolate Moulds

With the high-demand for Cookie Bouquets during dance season, we have a specific cookie bouquet just for dancers! Our “Dancer’s Cookie Bouquet” comes in three different sizes, and three ribbon colours. The small bouquet comes with one medallion and one cookie. The medium bouquet comes with one medallion and two cookies. The large bouquet comes with two cookies, one medallion and three chocolate marshmallow roses. Now that’s something to smile about!

Christy's Gourmet Gifts Dancer's Cookie Bouquet

The Cookie Bouquets even include a customizable card, so you can let your little Dancer know how proud you are!

We have many different cookie cutter shapes, as well as chocolate moulds. If you’re looking for something specific – please don’t be shy! We love to customize and create something specific for you… our wonderful customer.