On a cold winter’s evening there are few things nicer than sitting in a comfy chair whilst cradling a glass of vintage port that glistens in the fire light. Such an experience can only be enhanced by the addition of something delicious to nosh on.
Something decadent. Something chocolate.
Port wine is lovely on its own or with a fine cheese, but pairs brilliantly with chocolate, especially chocolate brownies.
Port is a Portuguese fortified wine made by adding a proportion of grape spirit or brandy to the wine at some point during the production process. Port wine is made in the mountainous Douro Valley area of Northern Portugal, one of the world’s oldest vineyard regions where wine has been produced for at least two thousand years. Although it is produced inland, Port wine takes its name from the coastal city of Oporto where it is traditionally exported.
Brownies come in so many varieties of texture and intensity of chocolate that they are a delight to pair with the vast array of port wines available.
When you are looking to pair brownies with port, one thing to consider is the quality of both the brownie and the drink. A box mix brownie doesn’t need a high end port, but works just dandy with a basic ruby port.
Also consider the sweetness of both items. A very sweet brownie covered with a thick layer of icing or studded with fruit would be good with a Garrafeira, a unique port that connoisseurs swear has a slight taste of bacon. A very dark chocolate brownie with only a hint of sweetness would go beautifully with a rich, syrupy port. This sweet port would also balance well with a brownie topped or filled with toasted walnuts, hazelnuts, or pine nuts.
If you don’t fancy traditional chocolate brownies, consider pairing a blonde brownie studded with white chocolate and cranberries with a sweet, tawny port.
No matter what your favorite pairing, it is easy to make a delicious evening with port and brownies.
Dark Chocolate Cherry Black Bean Brownies
- 1 cup cooked black beans (or 1 can)
- 3 eggs
- 1/4 cup macadamia nut oil
- 3/4 cup raw cacao
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 tablespoon Kirsch
- 1/2 cup real maple syrup
- 2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 cup fresh cherries, pitted and halved
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Pour all ingredients except cherries into food processor or blender and puree until smooth. Fold in cherries.
Pour into greased 9” by 13” pan and bake 20-25 minutes. Don’t overcook or they will be dry.
Remove and cool before serving.
Photo credits: Cbeck527, author, and author.