Valentine’s Day is around the corner, I like to do something special and out of the norm to celebrate this day of love. This year, I indulged on a 20-year old bottle of tawny port and created some handmade chocolates adorned with dried apricots, cherries, cranberries, almond, and walnuts. I can already picture Valentine’s evening sipping and savoring the aged tawny port and nibbling on chocolates as we enjoy an evening comfortably at home in front of a roaring fire.
Port is one of my favorite winter after dinner drinks along with a square (or two) of dark chocolate. Tawny port pairs nicely with dark chocolate and adding some dried fruit and nuts compliments the flavors often found in an 20-year bottle of aged tawny port.
The tawny port I’ll be enjoying on Valentine’s evening is Taylor Fladgate 20- Year Old Tawny Porto. Aged tawny ports can be found from 10-40 years old and up. The aged tawny ports are a lot like a nonvintage Champagne. They are a blend of various vintages to achieve a producer’s signature style. Taylor 20-year old port is known for its spicy and nutty aromas. The younger the port, the more fruit driven the flavor characteristics. The older ports are less fruity and more flavor intense. Aged ports will keep for up to a month (some say up to 3 months) under refrigeration.
The chocolates take about 20-30 minutes to make and about 1-2 hours to firm up and can be made ahead.
- 4 oz. quality semisweet chocolate finely chopped (I used Scharffen Berger Chocolate)
- 4 oz. quality bittersweet chocolate finely chopped (I used Scharffen Berger Chocolate)
- 1/8 cup dried apricots cut into slivers
- 1/8 cup dried cherries
- 1/8 cup dried cranberries
- 1/8 cup walnuts roughly chopped
- 1/8 cup almond slivers toasted
Line two sheets pans with parchment paper.
Place semisweet chocolate and half of the bittersweet chocolate in a microwavable glass bowl. Microwave on high for 30 seconds and then stir with a rubber spatula. Continue to microwave chocolate for 20 seconds at a time until chocolate is just melted. Stir after each 20 seconds.
Immediately add the remaining bittersweet chocolate and stir vigorously until the chocolate is melted and smooth.
With a 1/2 tablespoon size spring loaded ice cream scoop or regular teaspoon, drop a teaspoon size amount of chocolate on the baking sheet lined with parchment paper to form a small circle about the size of a quarter. Top each chocolate circle with dried fruit and or nuts of your choice. ( I make about 5 chocolate circles at a time and then top with fruit and nuts.)
Set aside for 1-2 hours until firm.