Northland Cultural Food Academy Chocolate and Beer pairing

Drink, Melbourne / 27 February 2017

Northland Cultural Food Academy offers an unexpected pairing with chocolate and beer

Northland Cultural Food Academy has once again brought us a wonderful, yet unusual pairing of two of the world’s most loved things: chocolate and beer. Hosted by master chocolatier Arno Backes from Ganache Chocolate and brewer Murray Robsinon from 3 Ravens Brewery, we’re treated to a perfectly paired chocolate and craft beer flight.
Arno’s passion for all things chocolate definitely make this Northland Cultural Food Academy master class that bit more special. For 18 months he travelled across South America searching for exceptional chocolate and coffee, including his favourite discovery; a delicious chilli chocolate.
Murray enlightens us with the history of the 3 Ravens Brewery, which was established by three engineers who loved drinking at the Brandon Hotel in Carlton. In 2003, the three thirsty engineers decided to create their own brewery and 3 Ravens Brewery was born.
To start our masterclass, we’re delighted with the Figaro paired with 3 Ravens “English” 4.5%. The chocolate, consisting of hazelnut praline, slivered almonds, Amarena cherries and dark chocolate, is a nutty sensation. Named in honour of Mozart for his composition titled The Marriage of Figaro, it made for a flawless marriage with the English-style extra special bitter beer. The “English”, with hints of fruit, caramel and biscuit flavours, is a fantastic way to lead the tastings.
Northland Cultural Food Academy - Chocolate and beer flight
Next is the Noir paired with 3 Ravens “Black” 5.5%.  As the name Noir suggests, the chocolate is dark – a whole 75% dark. Preparing this chocolate is a multi-day process. After the ganache is made it is cut the next day and dipped in Ganache Chocolate’s 60% dark coverture chocolate. A transfer sheet is applied the following day and after another two-three days the Ganache sets and voila! The result is a rich, melt-in-your-mouth treat. Just don’t worry about the 18% sugar content. The matching English-style Oatmeal Stout, as the name suggests, is black in colour. Your tastebuds will be tantalized with flavours that are creamy, fruity, grainy and roasted.
The Melbourne Honey paired with 3 Ravens “Druid” 10% is a winner. The dark chocolate ganache, made with honey sourced from Ganache’s own South Yarra rooftop hives, is rich and buzzing with flavour. The matching beer is a Belgian-style Quadruple aged in PX and Pinot Noir French-oak wine barrels. This annual vintage release at 3 ravens brewery spends three months aging in the barrels. It conveys an interesting bubblegum, berry and prune flavour, and it is the strongest 3 Ravens beer. If you’re keen to try the “Druid”, keep your eyes peeled for the next release, which is currently fermenting and should hit the bottles in about three months.
Our fourth pairing, the salt caramel dome paired with Mash “Copycat” 6.8% is a soft caramel ganache with a hint of pink sea salt. Piped in a 60% dark chocolate dome, with 23 carat gold dusting for decoration, this creation is surely the king. As you bite into the chocolate, the mould snaps to release a luscious gooey centre. The accompanying American-style India Pale Ale is from sister brewery Mash, located in Swan Valley, Western Australia. The beer, containing Galaxy hop, is sweet with hints of tropical fruit, toffee and bitter. “Copycat”was the winner of the Australia National beer awards in 2014 so it’s little wonder this brew is a hit.
Northland Cultural Food Academy Ganache Chocolate Arno Backes
Lastly, we get our hands dirty -quite literally – and make our very own Valrhona truffle, by piping and rolling these little gems. This dark chocolate ganache, made with a French 70% dark coverture, is a Belgian style truffle. The truffle is then rolled in alkalized cocoa powder, which is the purest form of cocoa powder. Matched with the 3 Ravens “Wild Ravens Old Red Ale” 6.7%, the beer is a Belgian-style Flanders Red Ale. The taste is very distinct and sour, much like the taste of balsamic vinegar, with hints of cherry and oak. With the richness of the truffle, the sour overtones of the beer provide an exquisite union.
As the Northland Cultural Food Academy evening comes to an end my belly is replete with chocolate and beer and I’m clutching a goodie bag that’s got some treats for later. I stroll through Northland’s Fresh Food Precinct and take a moment to appreciate the variety of cultures and foods on offer that Preston is so well known for.
If you’re a chocolate fiend, check out Ganache Chocolate for a chocolate, coffee or even a chocolate cocktail (available at their South Yarra store). Or if you’re in the mood for a great beer, 3 Ravens Brewery has a bar in Thornbury that’s worth a visit to work through the brews and quench your thirst.
Northland will be hosting more Cultural Food Academy Masterclasses so keep your eyes peeled for the next event.
Northland Cultural Food Academy
Fresh Food Precinct – Northland Shopping Centre
2-50 Murray Road, Preston
Ganache Chocolate
245 Collins Street, Melbourne
Open: Mon-Thu 8am-8pm
Fri – 8am-11pm
Sat 9am-11pm
Sun 10am-6pm
250 Toorak Road, South Yarra
Open: Mon-Thu 8am-8pm
Fri 8am-10pm
Sat 8am-10pm
Sun 9am-8pm
3 Ravens Brewery
1 Theobald Street, Thornbury
Bar Open: Thu 3pm-10pm
Fri 3pm-11pm
Sat 12pm-11pm
Sun 12pm-6pm