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Rhonda Kave (aka Roni-Sue) from Roni-Sue’s Chocolates and Anne Saxelby from Saxelby Cheesemongers presented a sweet and savory pairing of chocolate and cheese, showcasing what each does best at last night’s “Chemistry of Love” event.

The event is part of Chocolate & I, New York, an annual celebration of chocolate and good eating taking place February 8th- 14th, 2010 at 511 West 25th Street in New York City.

Roni-Sue’s Chocolates and Saxelby Cheesemongers are located inside the historic Essex Street Market on NYC’s Lower East Side.

The first pairing: Roni’s “Red Rose” truffle (callebaut bittersweet chocolate ganache blended with rose petal jam, dried rose petals and rose liqueur, dipped in dark chocolate) and Brebis Blanche, a light and fluffy sheep’s milk cheese.

The second pairing: a pecan pie truffle (handmade perzipan with chopped, toasted pecans infused with bourbon) and “Constant Bliss,” a soft ripened raw cow’s milk cheese.

The final pairing: Roni’s “Down the Hatch” candy (a fusion of salty/sweet butter crunch and green chilies from Hatch, New Mexico) and Spring Brook Tarentaise, a rich and super aged cow’s milk cheese.

I thought all three pairings went extremely well together as the chocolate and cheese favors intensified with each round.  Did you know that both chocolate and cheese go through a fermentation process?  The most surprising chocolate was “Down the Hatch,” which presented the most subtle amount of heat not instantly tasted at first bite.  Ah ha, there it is.

As a big fan of chocolate and cheese, Roni-Sue’s and Anne’s were top notch, proving that unless you are exposed to fresh ingredients produced by passionate people dedicating their life to perfecting their craft, you don’t know what you’re missing.  While having manchego and brie in the fridge is nice, it’s time to expand my cheese knowledge and participating in this event did just that.

The Chocolate & I opening night party featured a special exhibition of art including CW&T’s chocolate timepiece, Charnan Lewis’ artwork using candy dots on paper and the talents of projection artist Holly Danger.  I was amazed by the work of Celina Alvarado, information architecture and user experience designer who created “Try Me” a wearable that measures the time a hug lasts and posts it to twitter.  Check it out.  Drinks courtesy of Tanteo Tequila (chocolate tequila) and Brooklyn Brewery (black chocolate stout).

Chocolate & I, New York (CINY) is an annual celebration of chocolate and good eating in New York City presented by Migration of Senses. The event is designed to awaken the senses and enchant not only chocolate aficionados, but also offer new experiences and knowledge through quality events that exquisitely melt chocolate with food, design, and the arts.

It is the goal of CINY to transform New York City into a sensory homage to chocolate during the week of St. Valentine’s as we invite guests to learn more about the unique virtues of authentic chocolate; discover the work of various artists and the many new cultures in our midst; connect to new brands; and reach a new level of social/environmental awareness through these innovative chocolate tastings, pairings, discussions, and art installations. For more information, visit www.chocolateandi-newyork.com.

– Leslie Richin

Image via City Sweet Tooth