Sugar Rush

Scottsdale Culinary Festival: A Pretty "Meh" Showing At The Wine and Chocolate Experience, With A Few Exceptions

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See also: AZ Distilling Co. Wins Double Gold Medal At San Francisco Spirits Competition

As you might imagine, any event that involves eating chocolate and drinking wine for a good cause (arts education) is bound to be mighty crowded. This was certainly the case at the Chocolate and Wine Experience -- the Musical Instrument Museum was packed full of eager charity drinkers.

We started the evening off right with brittles from NutWhats. We were particularly fond of the Ecuadorean dark chocolate brittle with crystallized lemon. The chocolate's bright acidity was a perfect complement to the crispy lemon.

Less impressive was the Ibarra chocolate pudding and bittersweet truffle by Talking Stick Resort. The chocolate super-duo was gorgeously plated, but was not particularly interesting, cohesive, or technically impressive. The pudding was, to put it gently, confusing. Pockets of gritty, granulated Ibarra chocolate were present throughout each bite. It's unclear whether this was an intentional gesture - but if it was, it just didn't do it for us. The bittersweet chocolate truffle was great on its own, but its hefty, rum-like flavors just didn't mesh with the subtle milk chocolate of the pudding. The Capital Grille's dessert was also a disappointment. Their flourless chocolate espresso torte was lackluster at best. The crust was dry and fairly bland, and the filling had an ashy undertone. Whether this ashiness came from poor-quality espresso or bad chocolate, we're not sure.

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Zaida Dedolph
Contact: Zaida Dedolph