I heart Banyuls

During my Valentine’s Day dinner out with my husband, I met a new love. So sorry, dear.

It was at Bonne Soiree in Chapel Hill, at the end of a meal that already had enticed and satisfied. I ordered pot de creme made with Valhrona chocolate, and had the kind of impetuous idea the romance inspires. I wanted to order a dessert wine with it instead of the usual coffee. I like dessert wine, but rarely order it. It’s often too sweet for me with a dessert, sucking the flavor from the dish.

When I asked for a suggestion, the waiter’s pulse visibly quickened. I could see his smile in the candlelight. He said he knew just what I needed, that would perfectly match the chocolate. He returned with a red wine called Banyuls. I took a sip while waiting for my pot de creme. It wasn’t extremely sweet; rather like port, actually. Good.

The dessert arrived, and sipping the wine with the chocolate turned both into a different experience. One heightened the other, leading sip to bite, bite to sip. Like any wonderful relationship, it’s hard to put into words.

The proprietor of the restaurant told me that Banyuls is made in southwestern France, from grenache grapes, and is well-known as a companion for chocolate. She said any labels are good, but the one she serves, from the Chapoutier family, includes Braille on the label because the maker’s sister is blind.

The next day, I went in search of more. And I found I was not alone in my love – both The Wine Merchant and Whole Foods offered varieties of Banyuls. Oh, well. If I must share my delight, I must.

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One Response to “I heart Banyuls”

  • Debbie,
    The recipe for the pot de creme au chocolate from Bonne Soiree will be in my book, Chefs of the Triangle: Their Lives, Their Recipes, Their Restaurants. What a coincidence! It looks fabulous.

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