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Pairing Recipe: Raspberry Chocolate Mead with Bruschetta


A tangy, sweet, and savory food + beverage pairing for this month.

We are huge fans of food, food and wine pairings, and ESPECIALLY food and mead pairings over at Dragonfire. 


We know you all agree! There’s nothing better than preparing a dish, whether it’s sumptuous or light, and then finding the perfect bottle to pour with it. 


Tasting a sweet, fresh, or richly seasoned bite… and following it with a sip of the mead that makes all the flavors sing? 


Phenomenal. 


There’s no way we can keep our favorites to ourselves- sharing mead recommendations is a huge part of why we even started Dragonfire Meadery.


 

SO… we’re now going to share monthly food + mead pairings for you. 


First, we’ll break down the tasting notes of the mead we chose. 


Then we’ll share the food to pair with it, and explain why it pairs so well.


AND we’ll share a recipe for the dish and a link to the featured mead, so you can re-create this tasting experience at home. You’ll have it ready for a date, for family, friends, or for the loveliest evening treat for yourself!


 

This month’s mead pick is: Raspberry and Chocolate! Known also by the name “Ekhidna.”



This February, we were in the mood for sweetness and chocolate. We kicked off the month with Imbolc, welcoming the coming spring– then we had Valentine's Day, and we also had the urge to stay as cozy and comfortable at home as possible.


Ekhidna, our Raspberry and Chocolate blend, was exactly what we were craving. Ekhidna is a mead blend flavored with tart notes of raspberry, which hit you first. Then, the finish is a rich note of chocolate. 


Why is this blend called Ekhidna? Well, the sweet seductive flavors remind us of the fabulous demigoddess of Greek legend. There are SO many tales about Ekhidna, the dragon-snake-woman who mothered many of the monsters from Greek mythology, including the Hydra, Cerberus, and the Nemean Lion. 


There’s a bonus story about her at the bottom of this tasting + pairing guide!


This mead blend is like tasting the freshness of summer combined with the dark, slower depths of winter, all within a lightly effervescent mead, bringing the notes of honey wine we always love as the base. 

 

Recipe for Bruschetta with Balsamic


On that same theme, we wanted to bring a sweet summer freshness into this pairing-- it's not warm yet, but hey, who says we can't pretend for an evening?


The recipe we picked for you is a bruschetta with a rich drizzle of balsamic vinegar.


Why does bruschetta and balsamic pair with our Raspberry and Chocolate Mead? 


Well, according to flavor pairing theory, it's essential to match foods that share similar flavor compounds. Funny enough, taste and flavor are two different things-- taste comes from the tongue, and flavor is from the aroma of the food. 


The balsamic vinegar in the bruschetta, and the chocolate in the mead, are doing a lot of the heavy lifting here. Their sweetness and depth share similar aromatic compounds, which match pleasantly in our brains as we taste. 

So, we end up with what you might think is a dessert mead pairing beautifully with a fresh summery tomato dish!


Before we start– it’s important to make sure you pick good balsamic vinegar.


Not all balsamic vinegars are delicious enough to make this dish, or this pairing, really pop. We can’t have you falling prey to some additives or fake flavors. 


Here’s what to look for to make sure you’re getting the right stuff: the vinegar should be thick, enough to coat a spoon. The bottle will say ‘aged,’ also will say ‘grape must’ in the ingredient list, meaning it’s been properly aged for at least 12 years.


If it says, ‘Aceto Balsamico di Modena’ AND it has a paper label with a DOP stamp, you’ve struck dark flavorful gold. The DOP is an Italian vinegar regulator that keeps high standards for balsamic. You know the Italians take good food seriously-- so do we!


All right, after all that fussing about balsamic, let’s get started. 


Here’s a tasty recipe for fresh tomato + balsamic bruschetta to pair with the Raspberry and Chocolate mead:



bruschetta to pair with Dragonfire Mead
Bruschetta



Ingredients:

6 tomatoes, Roma or other, diced

1/3 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped

5 garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon thick balsamic vinegar

Extra virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Fresh buffalo mozzarella

French bread or baguette





Instructions:

  1. Prepare the Tomato Topping: In a large bowl, combine the tomatoes, basil, garlic, and olive oil.


  1. Add salt and pepper to taste.


  1. Let the mixture sit in the refrigerator for about an hour to enhance the flavors.


  1. Make the Bruschetta Toasts: Preheat the oven to 400°F. Cut your baguette into 1-inch-thick slices, and lay them on a baking sheet. Lightly brush or drizzle them with olive oil. 

Bake 5 or 6 minutes, or until crispy and golden.


  1. Assemble: Lay your baked toasts on a serving plate. 

Top each toast with a generous spoonful of the tomato mixture, plus a smidge of fresh mozzarella if desired. Then drizzle generously with balsamic vinegar.


Pour a glass of Ekhidna Raspberry and Chocolate Mead. Take a hearty bite of bruschetta, then  a beautiful sip of mead. Notice the chocolate and balsamic harmony. Enjoy!



P.S. As promised! The Story behind Ekhidna.

The amazing art for the Ekhidna label was created by Amelia Leonards


Ekhidna appears in a version of the Labors of Herakles(aka Hercules), when he was traveling (staggering, really) through her realm with the cattle of Geryon. The cattle themselves were fairly ordinary cattle, but he’d wrested them from a three headed giant and a two headed dog–exhausting– and THEN Hera had tossed all sorts of roadblocks, some literal, in his path, and. . . he was probably just REALLY TIRED and a little done with it all.  And so he dared to take a nap.


Enter the Drakania Skythia. Evidently she took one look at him– and likely the moonlight glancing off his biceps– and purred “Well HALLO.”  


She was a lady who knew what she wanted.


So, she slithered out in the night and stole a number of the herd.  When Herakles awoke in the rose tinged dawn, it was to the smiling face of a stunning serpent woman, sweetly informing him that she’d stolen his hard won cattle and promising to return them if he’d spend a night with her. 

 

Unsurprisingly, he did so. I like to think there was a romantic dinner first, and the whole business erred on the side of seduction, but I wasn’t there so I can’t truly say! The end result was that he, through her, became the ancestor of a line of Skythian kings. 



Stay tuned for more recipes for food, drinks, and pairings from Dragonfire. We love to savor and share with you!



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