When I went to the Peterbrooke Chocolate Valentine’s Day Preview Tasting last month, Lisa from Orlando Uncorked was there representing Quantum Leap Winery. She told us about an upcoming event at Quantum Leap called Wine & Chocolate Perfectly Paired. It was going to be a pairing class at Quantum Leap featuring their wines and Peterbrooke Chocolate’s chocolates. Sounds great huh? So when last week my pal Karen asked if she could treat me to this event as a Valentine’s Day present I was totally on board!
Unfortunately we almost didn’t make it to the event due to Karen’s work schedule. Let’s just say that an incoming snow storm was throwing quite the wrench into our plans even though we live in Florida. Thankfully I found out the morning or the event that some things had changed and she would be able to make our girls night out after all. Sweet!
We started off our night at Carmel Cafe in Winter Park for happy hour. They have this great 4 for 4 deal – 4 wines, 4 drinks (cocktails & beer) and 4 appetizers that are just $4 each. Karen hadn’t been before and it was just 10 minutes from Quantum Leap so it worked out perfectly. It also gave us somewhere warm and dry to “hide out” while the rain filled cold front moved in. We both tried the Strawberry Rickey (so yummy) and shared the Chickpea Fries and Mini Mezze Platter. It was a very tasty start to our evening.
We arrived to Quantum Leap a little early, but it gave us a chance to hang out with my friend Lisa from Orlando Uncorked who was leading the class. Quantum Leap is located just off a main road in Orlando and you would NEVER think you’d find a winery back there. A winery in Orlando you say? Yup. They actually have “grape juice” shipped in from all different regions of the world and then make and bottle the wine here in Orlando. They are also a very eco-friendly winery which is pretty cool in my book.
The evening consisted of 6 wine & chocolate pairings. Yep – 6 different wines and 6 different types of chocolate. We were definitely some very happy, and slightly buzzed, girls by the end of the evening. The first pairing was Riesling and Milk Chocolate Covered Popcorn. You were handed the wine as soon as you showed up and there were baskets of the popcorn on the bar. Oh my yum! The Riesling was a dry one, which I usually don’t like, but paired with the sweet chocolate covered popcorn it was great. Jill, one of the owners, explained that most Rieslings (even the dry ones) have 3-4 grams of sugar while this one only has a 1/2 a gram – so this definitely was not a sweet wine. We enjoyed our Riesling and popcorn while we waited for the other class participants to arrive. The rain had people a little delayed but it gave us a chance to visit with Lisa and enjoy a little extra Riesling from Jill. Eventually we found our seats (we decided on a 9 top table with some pretty funny folks) and the class officially got started.
It was great hearing Jill tell us about how Quantum Leap Winery got started. Jill has always been in the food industry while her partner David used to own a recycling company. Her knowledge of wine paired with his environmentally friendly outlook came together to form Quantum Leap Winery. A core value of their business plan is to find an environmentally friendly solution for transporting wine to markets and ultimately the consumer. The Quantum Leap Winery model is to search for good quality, sustainably grown wine, wherever it is around the world but to transport it in large vessels to the Orlando winery. It is in this facility where wine will be stored, finished, blended and packaged. Jill and David know this process substantially reduces the carbon footprint associated with traditional wine production. How cool is that?
Over the next 2 hours we tried 5 additional wine and chocolate pairings. Each one was more delicious than the previous one. I’m not a huge red fan, but I still tried each of them and enjoyed the chocolates they were paired with. Regardless of whether or not I liked the wines it was very cool to learn about where the wines came from and what to look for in wines. I now understand why some people are SO serious about their wines.
Karen & I finished off our night chatting with Lisa before heading back out into the rain. It was a perfect night with one of my best friends! We are already talking about trying to make it to the next event on March 12th. Lisa told us they would have some different wines at the next event and that made us even more interested. Who wants to go with us next time?