Sunday, May 07, 2006

Chicago, Chicago

I spent a week in Chicago visiting my family, which is why I've been slacking on the blog. But it wasn't a bubbly-free trip by any means. I usually travel with a half bottle of bubbly slipped inside a neoprene wine carrier, just in case. On this trip, my travelling companion was the Rosa Regale Brachetto d'Aqui by Banfi. Yes, it's a mouthful, but such a delicious one!

At Yu's Mandarin in Schaumburg with my father and sister, I sipped a little bottle of Korbel Brut with my favorite crab wontons (you know fried puffs of crab and cream cheese) and a crispy spring roll before seguing into the best-ever version of Honey Walnut Shrimp. The Korbel, which is made by the traditonal methode champenoise, went down surprisingly well, considering what a bargain it is!

Later that week, visiting the sexy, purple Vosges Haut Chocolat store at 520 N. Michigan Avenue, I spent about 30 minutes just taking it all in. The line, created by chocolatier Katrina Markoff, features exotic, all-natural, handmade chocolate truffles and bars. There was so many tempting combinations, I couldn't decide what to buy. I sipped a cup of hot white chocolate infused with lemon myrtle and lavender while perusing the choices: Michigan cherries and dark chocolate, white chocolate and Grand Marnier, dark chocolate and balsamic vinegar.

The decision made itself when I spied the "Gatsby & Daisy" collection, which offers champagne infused chocolate truffles topped with rose petals. Dark chocolate is mixed with brut champagne; and white chocolate is paired with rose and a drop of rose water. They come nestled in a cute little box decorated with a 40s style pin-up girl. To find out more about the Vosges champagne truffles, click here.

When I returned to my cousin Dori's Gold Coast penthouse, it was time to break out the Brachetto. We both thought the wine's rosy aroma and sweet raspberry flavor tempered by a tannic cranberry note made it just the thing to eat with fine chocolate.

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