SIPS . . .
GRAND VELAS CHOCOLATE FESTIVAL FEATURES FINE CHOCOLATE & WINE
By Bonnie Carroll
Que Bol Chocolate Presentation
Guests Que Bol Chocolate Presentation who where at the Grand Velas Resort Puerto Vallarta in late March were treated to a beyond sweet experience during the hotel's Festival Del Chocolate, featuring the star of Mexican Chocolatier's Jose Ramon Castillo, founder of Que Bol Chocolateria Mexicana Evolutiva, who delighted guests with a sensational tasting of his unique one-of-a-kind Que Bol chocolates, paired with exceptional wines selected by Grand Velas Sommelier Kritzia Barrientos Eggers.
Jose Ramon Castillo's deep knowledge of modern cuisine combined with artisanal techniques produces some of the most amazing and pleasurable flavors and taste sensations I've experienced as a chocolate judge. These chocolates are original, colorful, sometimes whimsical and totally exciting. The wines selected for pairing included Fragolino La Gioiosa (Fragola Grape) (Red Wine Semi-Sparkling), Muga Blanco (Viura Grape) (White Wine), Famille Castel Cuvée Rose Brut (8 Grapes Blend) (Sparkling Dry Rosé) and Mezcal Amores Blanco by Agave Espadín.
Fragolino La Gioiosa (Fragola Grape) (Red Wine Semi-Sparkling), Muga Blanco (Viura Grape) (White Wine) Famille Castel Cuvée Rose Brut (8 Grapes Blend) (Sparkling Dry Rosé) and Mezcal Amores Blanco by Agave Espadín
The result of Castillo's maintaining his faith in domestic ingredients without the use of fillings containing creams, butters or sugars is a simple explanation for his title of Master Chocolatier of the Americas along with many other awards worldwide. My personal favorites were made with orange blossom, and banana, but the one that exploded in my mouth was a chocolate made with cardamon – so delicious!
Executive Sous Chef Isaac Esparza, Sommelier Kritzia Barrientos Eggers, Executive Chef Guillaume Morance, Chocalatier Jose Ramon Castillo
Grand Velas Executive Chef Guillaume Morance participated in the tasting along with Isaac Esparza, Executive Sous Chef. Pilar Perciavalle, Managing Director of Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit acted as host and did introductions and welcomed guests at the event. Grand Velas will schedule another Festival Del Chocolate in 2019. Visit www.grandvelas.com to find next year's dates or to make reservations.
WINE + FOOD FESTIVAL AT SBMNH
Get your favorite sun bonnet ready for the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History Wine + Food Festival Saturday June 30, 2018, 2:00-5:00 PM. Visit www.sbnature.org for tickets and information. A bevy of the finest foods & wine purveyors will be serving and pouring once again in the beautiful backyard of the Museum of Natural History.
Velas Summer Margarita Cocktail Recipe
Cucumber & Habanero Chili Margarita
8 oz Tequila
4 oz Cointreau
2 oz Simple syrup
Pinch Tajin Chili (can substitute course sea salt)
10 Lime wedges
½ Habanero Chili
4 C Ice
Wash all fresh ingredients, peel the cucumber and remove the seeds. Cut the Habanero Chili in half, removing the seeds. Squeeze the limes to make a fresh juice. Mix the ingredients with ice and blend until forming a frozen drink. Rim a glass with salt and Tajin chili, fill with frozen Margarita and enjoy its refreshing taste.