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By Kerri Jackson Case
It all started when Nick Proia, MD, and his wine club decided to try something different. Typically, when they would get together, each brought wine and cheese. One night, someone suggested something other than cheese for some variety. The next meeting involved chocolate.
Some of the chocolate and wine pairings were marvelous, others dreadful. It seemed there should be better understanding of how chocolate and wine could pair. So in 2007, Proia and cofounder Bruce Barber launched Brix Chocolate for wines.
“It’s not a new concept,” said Barber. “Wineries and wine clubs have been experimenting with some of this for years. But there’s never been an easy way for consumers to do this at home. With such an extensive amount of chocolate and wine to choose from, it can become daunting.”
The two partners created four formulations using cocoa from Guyana. The best part: the labels on the Brix chocolate tell consumers what kinds of wine go best with each flavor of chocolate.
- Extra dark: (70% cocoa) pairs well with bold red wines, such as Cabernet or Bordeaux.
- Medium dark: (60% cocoa) accents the taste of medium body wines, such as Merlot, Zinfandel or Shiraz.
- Smooth dark: (54% cocoa) works best with champagne, sparkling wines or Riesling.
- Milk chocolate: (46% cocoa) is ideal for dessert wines or a Rose’.
The process of chocolate formulation and wine pairings allows them to playfully brag, “Move over cheese. Wine has found a new love.”
While the packaging allows wine lovers with all levels of palette sophistication to enjoy Brix chocolate, the quality of the product has attracted high praise from wine makers and masters all over the world.
Today, Brix employs a half dozen people with strategic partnerships including a manufacturing facility, distributor and broker networks. It’s sold in some of the finest wineries and wine shops in the U.S., as well as ten countries around the world.
Looking forward, Brix is experimenting with new ideas and flavors to decided where to grow their business over the next decade. Perhaps a Brix for spirits, coffee or tea will be the next product group in the line.