Have you really tasted chocolate? Through a guided tasting, Roxanne, New York's Chocolate Sommelier, will combine the pleasure and fine nuances of chocolate in a entertaining, educational and fun adventure for corporate or private guests. Discover exceptional artisan chocolates from around the world, paired with wine or a chocolate tasting. Savor the fusion of aroma, texture, and flavor in this multi-sensory experience for a truly memorable event.
Some ideas to host an event:
• Corporate-the draw & close for your presentation
• Client/staff Appreciation
• Wineries & Wine Bars
• Assoc, Alumni or Club event
• Team Building
• Private Home Tasting/Pairing
• Posh Soiree
Hosted events for:
American Bar Association
Price Waterhouse Coopers
Nixon Peabody, LLP
Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP
Family Wealth Decisions Group
Portnoy Messinger Pearl - HR
National Retailers Federation
Hyatt Regency Jersey City on the Hudson
Tom Schaudel - Restauranteur
Remedy Health Media
NY Elves-House Beautiful
Nicosia Winery - Italy
Cento Cinquanta - Italy
Empire Wine Importers
Several Long Island Wineries
Sawgrass TPC PGA
Old Westbury Gardens
American Heart Assoc
and many other well known non-profits
MY "GREEN" MISSION
The higher purpose is to bring awareness of the indigenous people that create the chocolate from bean-to-bar, how cacao harvesting helps save the rain forests, the health benefits, and to demonstrate how to mindfully savor every morsel for your well being.
Artisan chocolate is like a fine bottle of wine; every step is a labor of love. Cooperatives of cacao farmers and “Bean to Bar” chocolate makers using old world, hand made techniques and fine rare cacao beans of single origin. The flavors of each bar are indigenous to where the cacao beans are grown, like the terroir of the grape in wine making. Exotic Chocolate Tasting offers you the experience of tasting these special chocolates from around the world at your pleasure.
Note: ECT does not represent any chocolate company, but showcase a variety that meet ECT standards.
April, 2011 - Graduated from Kevin Zraly's Windows of the World Wine School (formally at the World Trade Center) in NYC. It was a rough 6 weeks, swirling, sipping, tasting, and smelling wine! http://www.kevinzraly.com
"When Roxanne proposed us to pair wine and chocolate, we were not totally convinced; we typically mix cheese and wine and making something different was out of our comfort zone. So we trusted in Roxanne, crossing our fingers, until the first piece of chocolate came in our mouth; then we understood. After the event, we had the feeling to be part of a community of high skilled people and we really want to build up a long time relationship." - Graziano Nicosia, owner of Nicosia Winery, Sicily
"It was a pleasure to have you for the evening and you were absolutely wonderful! All my colleagues had a great time.
Let’s just say we will never look at commercialized chocolate the same way again! Again, thank you for the book and all the wealth of information."
Ada Khun, Assistant Vice President - BNP PARIBAS
"We had a great turnout and I just kept hearing very positive feedback about the event. Thank you so much! I look forward to working with you again in the future!"
- Team coordinator for a Fortune 500 Financial firm
"If you were a Broadway play, you would be getting rave reviews. The guests couldn't stop talking about how much they enjoyed the wine and chocolate pairings, how much they learned, and even more important, how they're going to change their buying habits. Good-bye Hershey kisses. We're going for the good stuff!
Truly, your message about being mindful consumers hit home. Everyone was fascinated to learn about the origins of the chocolate we eat and to better understand what makes a quality product.
On a personal note, I can't thank you enough for how easy you made the party planning. From the very first phone call to the last, you were the consummate professional. Easy going, accommodating (very!!!) and always delightful to speak to. Honestly, I would recommend you to anyone who wanted to do a party, event or fundraiser that was engaging and memorable.
Continued good luck with your endeavors and discoveries. You are a one-woman treasure!" Saralee Rosenberg, published author
"Our Savor the Season wine and chocolate pairing with Roxanne Browning was an eye opening event not to be missed. Beyond the sold out crowds, the delicious tasting, and the informative and interactive nature of Roxanne’s presentation, the night amounted to a most memorable experience. I extend my personal thanks to Roxanne for her seamless organization in making this event a smooth success. Old Westbury Gardens and our visitors greatly appreciated it!"
Lisa Reichenberger - Environmental Educator
Old Westbury Gardens
"I attended one of Roxanne's seminars several months ago, and haven't forgotten a thing, it was marvelous!! She is so passionate, and informative, and the entire event was extremely educational, as well as tasty!! I am now hooked on her single origin chocolates which are easier to find than one would have expected... If you love wine, and you love chocolate, image the fun when you mix the two, sign up and attend one of her events, you'll be addicted!" - FP
"Everyone was raving about the wines and chocolates, but most of all how knowledgeable you were and how entertaining you made everything. We are still savoring the chocolates and wines from the party this week! Thanks again - I'm so happy you do what you do, and that I was able to find you! :)"
- Private Party in NYC
"Roxanne, thanks for hosting our company's wine and chocolate pairing event. Everyone had a great time. It was certainly a fun and different way to experience two things we already love!! Your passion for chocolate really shows in your presentation and I think we all learned a lot about how chocolate is made and why your chocolates are different from what you find in the candy aisle!"
Rebecca - Large NYC Insurance Company
"Thank you very much! It was a pleasure meeting you and participating in your wine & chocolate pairing. We had a terrific time last night." Fran - Large Financial Institution - client appreciation
"You just won over the biggest West Side Snobs" - Guest at a private party in NYC
"Everyone really enjoyed it and you managed it perfectly. They are a spirited group...I am now even more excited about our partnership and know that it will be a big success." - General Manager of a International Hotel on Long Island
"You were awesome. Thanks for everything. I've been fielding calls from everyone with nothing but compliments about the tasting. The evening was a great success, in no small part by you and your incredible professionalism and (obvious) knowledge, love and passion for what you do.
I can't wait to have another event and have you do your thing" - Private Party
"I had the opportunity to see Roxanne in action and I must
tell you that she is very terrific. Her expertise is apparent and she gets the crowd interested, involved and enthused. (And yes, the chocolate and wine are good too:) )"
I would recommend that you connect with her for
networking purposes and think of her for personal and corporate events." - A's Network Endorsement
"I, too, can attest to Roxanne's expertise. The Long Island chapter of Friendship Force International recently home hosted a group from Leuven, Belgium. One of the activities we planned for them was a trip to the North Fork for a picnic, a farm tour, a vineyard tour, and then a wine
& chocolate pairing led by Roxanne. They could have been a tough crowd-- Belgian's & chocolate! They raved about Roxanne." - Sheila Z, Friendship Force
"Thank you so much for presenting your extraordinary chocolate and wine pairings...The feedback from every person with whom I spoke was a rave review." - Chairperson from a Breast Cancer Foundation.
Click to short video of Exotic Chocolate Tasting events
Roxanne Browning, New York’s Chocolate Sommelier, will guide guests on a journey discovering chocolates from the Amazon rain forest to the tropical Islands paired with wine or straight up. A passport around the world from your home, office, restaurant, or wine bar. A happening event that is both entertaining and educational. Have fun with friends, family, or associates in this palate pleasing adventure!
Tasting chocolate is different than eating chocolate
Handcrafted chocolate makers rely on the flavor of rare cacao beans to shine. Unique as a snowflake, each single-origin bar will have a distinct flavor profile. Enjoy these award-winning chocolates while Roxanne describes their journey from bean to bar, how they sustain the rainforest and its indigenous people, and mindfully savor each bite for your well being.
Chocolate & wine…now that’s a perfect sensory experience! Roxanne’s original idea that pairs artisan chocolate with wine to enhance the flavors and nuances of both is proven when a guest has a sip with the chocolate. An “aha!” moment follows, infusion of flavors using all the senses will reveal a fun new way to enjoy these beloved pleasures.
Beer and spirit pairings are also available. See the video below for a peek!
A Chocolate Pairing or Tasting includes:
• Each event customized to meet your needs, budget and time
Chocolates paired with wines
• The world of chocolate – an interactive presentation – History of chocolate, how it’s made, the health benefits, how it helps the indigenous
people that create the chocolate from bean-to-bar, and how cacao harvesting helps save the rain forests.
• Guided pairing with wine or tasting of flights of chocolate. Experience sustainable organic dark, milk, white, fusion, from 60%-80% cacao from all over the world
• Chocolate tasting place mats for rating; describe the aromas, textures and flavors
• References and rates available upon request
At your venue or suggestions of wine bars, winery or restaurants in the New York area. Details & pricing to host an Exotic Chocolate Tasting – contact Roxanne: 631-252-0658 or ExoticChocolateTasting@gmail.com
When held, public events are listed to the right in the NY area
One of many NY area venues where you can find the only Chocolate Sommelier. Whether a public or private event – wine bar, winery, restaurant, living room or board room, each wine and chocolate pairing will be a different and an exotic experience. Roxanne does the hard work – tasting handcrafted chocolate and sipping wine to create the perfect pairing …you enjoy!
The concept of chocolate enhancing the flavors and nuances of wine is proven each time a guest has a sip with the chocolate. An “aha!” moment often follows — blending of flavors create new flavor profiles. A fun new way to enjoy these beloved pleasures. Perfect for foodies that want something new or for anyone who wants to enhance their appreciation of wine and chocolate. Beer/spirits chocolate pairings are also available.
Roxanne from Exotic Chocolate Tasting harvesting a cacao pod in the Amazon
Roxanne, New York’s Chocolate Sommelier from Exotic Chocolate Tasting recently traveled to the Kallari Cocoa Cooperative in the heart of Ecuador’s Amazon rainforest to learn chocolate making from the cacao pod to the bar. Living with a host family in their thatched roof hut in the small Kichwa village of Ilayacu, the community welcomed her interest on how they have been harvesting cacao for centuries. Her hands-on experience has since been incorporated into her wine and chocolate events in the New York area.
Luis opening a cacao pod in the Amazon on his family's plantation
The origins of cacao began there thousands of years ago, when the Kichwa farmers harvested and sold the valued beans to the Incas to create the “Food of the gods.” Today, Kallari Chocolate is on of the few farmer-owned chocolate bars and has created sustainable income so Kichwa people can fulfill basic family needs without logging the rainforests or giving up their land to oil companies.
The experience enriched Roxannes’ ability to convey the importance of location, cocoa bean variety and the terroir that make up the flavor profile of chocolate. Additionally, it put a face on the farmers who produce the product–an important part of the growing farm-to-plate education trend.
Most people think that fine dark chocolate comes from France, Switzerland or Pennsylvania, and don’t know it’s a fruit grown in a tropical rain forest.
Knowing the source of their food empowers consumers, they can make a choice between sustainable chocolate versus commercial chocolate made from bulk cocoa beans imported from West African countries that exploit child slaves.
Inside a fermented cacao bean showing three varieties of heirloom cacao
Once they are aware, will consumers opt for the dark chocolate bar, bunny, or Santa made from commercial chocolate or Direct or Fair Trade chocolate? Roxanne’s mission is to bring awareness so that they will opt for the one that helps, not hurts children from other nations.
Natalie MacLean, a certified sommelier and named theWorld’s Best Wine Writer at the World Food Media Awards, recently contacted Roxanne Browning, New York Chocolate Sommelier for a video chat about the difference between great chocolate and candy, pairing it with wine, Fair Trade and serving tips.
“Roxanne’s life-long search for the “ultimate bar led her down to the Ecuadorian Amazon rain forest where she helped with the cacao harvest …”
More about Natalie MacLean, a wine writer, speaker and judge. An accredited sommelier, she is a member of the National Capital Sommelier Guild, the Wine Writers Circle and several French wine societies with complicated and impressive names. Funny, brainy and unapologetically tipsy, her goal in life is to intimidate those crusty wine stewards at fine restaurants with her staggering knowledge.
Thank you for being part of my chocolate world. It has been almost four years since Exotic Chocolate Tasting was launched. Many of you have been with me since the beginning appreciating chocolate in a whole new way. Just like you, I have evolved, too. With each experience I’ve been blessed with new insights that I can’t wait to share with you.
This year has brought many changes to Exotic Chocolate Tasting. No longer focused on public events, most of my chocolate and wine pairings are for business socials, special occasions in homes, and not-for-profit fund raisers. With these changes comes unique challenges and great opportunities.
Recently Nicosia, a Sicilian winery seeking an importer chose to feature
Roxanne and the Nicosia team at the Culinary Loft in SoHo. (click to Culinary loft)
their wines paired with chocolates to the New York City wine community. Fifth-generation owner, Graziano said, “When Roxanne proposed us to pair wine and chocolate, we were not totally convinced; we typically mix cheese and wine and making something different was out of our comfort zone. So we trusted in Roxanne, crossing our fingers, until the first piece of chocolate came in our mouth; then we understood. After the event, we had the feeling to be part of a community of high skilled people and we really want to build up a long time relationship.” The event was a success and they have secured an importer. Read blog by Peter Conway, wine writer on the event
Already planning my third trip to Italy with my husband to explore the Northwest wine country of Piedmont, the Nicosia wine family invited us down to Sicily to learn more about their Etna wines. Well, of course, I said, “Yes!”
Mt Etna, Europe’s only active volcano
Lorenza could not be a more gracious host, starting in the waterfront town of Catania at the foot of Mount Etna, where the winery and vineyards of Nicosia are located. The grapes draw from its unique volcanic soil that give their wines its distinct flavor profile. After a traditional Sicilian lunch in their restaurant, Giuseppe gave a tour of a 200 year-old wine
making structure when women would stomp on grapes to songs, then fast-forwarded to today’s methods. The experience of visiting Nicosia will live with me forever; the charm, passion, and hospitality of the Nicosia family matched the beauty of the winery and the wines. Link to photo album
The next day Lorenza took us to the charming Baroque town of
Roxanne, Pierpaolo, Lorenza, & Antonina
Modica, once occupied by Spain in the 15th and 16th centuries. There the Spaniards passed on the secrets of Mexico’s Aztec chocolate making. Chocolate maker, Antica Dolceria Bonajuto, who has the oldest and best chocolate shop since 1880, gave us a tour and tasting led by six-generation Pierpaolo Ruta. Not only are the chocolates world class and held on to the original recipe of stone grounding the cacao beans, the bakery offers the best handmade cannoli I’ve ever had. A very different savory traditional little pastry stuffed with minced meat, chocolate and spices, called Mpanatigghi, was another surprise treat. Pierpaolo took the time to demonstrate to us this ancient art of chocolate making, then presented a gift of his chocolate bar collection. I hope to pair his bars with Nicosia Etna wines in a future event in New York. Link to photo album
Back in Turin (Torino), the beautiful capital city in the heart of Piedmont surrounded by the western Alpine arch, now known for the birthplace of Fiat, Vermouth and the chocolate capital of modern chocolate, I visited the finest chocolate maker Guido Gobino in the city center. Since 1946, this family-owned business has had an eye towards innovation with the respect for the traditional recipes of Turin. The classic Gianduja (chocolate and Piedmont hazelnut) was born here and the first
wrapped chocolate in history. Luca escorted us to a private room for a tasting of all their chocolates. Gianduja, Cremino, a three layer square of chocolate and Gianduja, single-origin chocolates of South America, and many other confections. Ending with Vermouth and a surprise treat, a cracker with their award-winner, Cremino al sale, a Gianduja with sea salt, drizzled with regional olive oil on top. Amazing! We left with a gift of all their chocolates and a book, Chocolate Turin. Soon I will be able to feature their chocolates in select chocolate and wine pairing events. Link to photo album
In the rolling hills of the Langhe region of Piedmont, we met winemakers and winery owners of some of the famed makers of Barolo, Barbara and Nebbiolo. In Malvira, Massolino, G.D. Vajra, Vietti, Borgogno, and Banca Del Vino, the wine bank where they store most of Italy’s wine in a castle cellar for historic preservation, we sipped vintage wines to not-ready-to-be released wines in barrel tastings. Again, meeting the most generous and friendly people, rarely leaving
Meet Jairo Gustavo Neira, winemaker for Malvirà
without a bottle or two. The wine community here has embraced the concept of chocolate and wine pairings as Nicosia has done in the south of Italy. Plans are underway to host chocolate and wine pairing events in New York City that will feature these fine wines. Link to photo album
After 12 days of collecting wine, chocolate, and many regional foods, the challenge was how to get 20 extra pounds back to New York safely! Not an easy task. We were like mules carrying the additional delicious treasures, along with our original baggage, through the airports, Immigration, customs, and security…all with success! I now have more friends in Italy and maybe more in New York, now that I have so much to share.
Welcome. “Chocolate with a Conscience”is where you have just arrived. Chocolate has found its way into your heart and body, but has it reached your soul? Not just any chocolate… the best chocolates are made by farmers that are fairly compensated and preserve the delicate ecosystem of their rain forests. (Known as Direct Trade, Fair Trade or Farmer-owned) Ethical chocolate makers partner with the
chocolate and wine
farmers then transform cocoa beans with few ingredients with integrity and love to capture chocolates true essence in a dark chocolate bar.
My mission though Exotic Chocolate Tasting is to bring awareness of the indigenous people that created the bean-to-bar chocolate, how cacao harvesting helps save the rain forests, chocolate health benefits, and to demonstrate how to mindfully savor every morsel for your well being in a guided tasting experience.
Explore this site, whether you decide to book an event or not, leave with a little more intent for your soul.