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Chocolate or cheese? NOTL wineries offering both with February passport
Peller Estates has its unique Ice Cuvée Rosé available for tasting alongside house-made chocolate bark during the Chocolate & Cheese promotion. Julia Sacco
Marynissen's Cabernet Syrah complemented the blue cheese and onion tart well. This combination will be available throughout weekends in February with the Chocolate & Cheese discovery pass. Julia Sacco
Château Des Charmes took tasters on an international journey with its pairing of sparkling wine and Brazilian cheese dots. Julia Sacco

During weekends throughout February, Wineries of Niagara-on-the-Lake is giving pass holders the opportunity to sample some of the area’s best wines and their perfect pairings with the Chocolate & Cheese touring pass. 

The experience features 20 wineries across Niagara-on-the-Lake with passes allowing for eight tastings a day at $75 a person. The Lake Report checked out three of the stops.

Marynissen Estates Winery

To pair with their 2020 Heritage Collection Cabernet Syrah, Marynissen served up a delightful blue cheese and onion tart, provided by PigOut Catering, with shaved dark chocolate on top. 

“I love the pepperiness of the wine with the blue cheese in the tart,” said retail supervisor Cathy Roy.

And the pepper flavour certainly does come to the forefront when combining the pair, making for a comforting and savoury flavour explosion. 

“We’re hoping that there are some leftovers to snack on at the end of the day,” joked Roy. 

Aside from the tasty and eye-catching pairing, Marynissen offers a unique tasting experience in its homey wine boutique nestled along Concession 1.

Château Des Charmes 

A “trip to Brazil on a French plane sitting on apple sauce with thyme” is how wine associate Karl-Heinz Medel described the multicultural pairing offered at Château Des Charmes.

The winery paired its Brut Sparkling Wine made from both Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes with a Brazilian cheese dot prepared by Paz Bakery, on a bed of thyme-spiced apple sauce. 

The cheese dot, which is traditionally a breakfast food in Brazil, is made with tapioca flour, so it is entirely gluten-free and entirely delicious. Combined with the apple sauce, this pairing brought out the fruity flavours of the wine.

“We do the apple sauce with thyme because the wine has a bit of apple flavour. The combination is divine,” said Medel.

Peller Estates 

If you’re hoping to top off your tasting with something sweet, look no further than Peller Estates. 

The winery’s pairing offers the perfect endnote to a tasting experience with its signature Ice Cuvée Rosé accompanied by house-made chocolate bark.

“The chocolate bark features dried cranberries, freeze-dried rose petals and pistachio nuts on top, and our Ice Cuvée has a dosage of icewine in it,” said team lead and wine country concierge Janice Mayer.

The combination of rosé and icewine is one of the highlights of the Chocolate & Cheese pass experience. 

The program is runs from Friday through Sunday during February. 

Passes are available at wineriesofniagaraonthelake.com

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