Chocolate Brownies and Sparkling Wine

24th February 2022

Austrian Fizz and Brownies

The Chocolate Brownie is like the king amongst chocolaty treats, that fudgy or cakey texture delivering that unmistakable flavour that fills your mouth, enchanting you under its spell, making it a challenge not to take another bite, with a treat so delicious, it’s not easy thinking of Sparkling Wine that will both stand up to the deep chocolatey flavours and also make you want to enjoy them both together.

The Brownie can of course be enjoyed with a scoop of ice cream or whipped cream on top, but with this pairing, I just want to be mesmerized by the chocolate flavours from the Brownie, of course, if you prefer the ice cream or whipped cream on top, add it on and see how the combination fares.

The Brownie’s Creation

The one thing which is not disputed is that the brownie was born in the United States of America at the end of the 19th century, the first account of the brownie is one that is considered more a legend, but not disbelieved.

One day in 1893, at the Palmer House Hotel (which is still open today), Bertha Palmer, the wife of the owner of the hotel, was preparing for her socialite friends to visit to celebrate World’s Columbian Exposition, which was an event held between 1 May 1893 – 30 Oct 1893, it focused on celebrating the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’ arrival in the New World, for this event Palmer wanted a dessert suitable for her friends, so she asked her pastry chef to create a “cake-like confection smaller than a piece of cake that could be included into boxed lunches”.

The Pastry Chef brainstormed for a little bit them can up with the iconic Palmer House Brownie, which is made from chocolate, walnuts and an apricot glaze, the original recipe is still being used at the Palmer House Hotel, so if you’re ever in the neighbourhood and feel like a brownie, make sure you stop by. The name for it was given a little while after in the same year, I’m assuming Palmer’s friends very much enjoyed the little bite-sized chocolaty treats, so they decided they needed to create some more and share them with whoever wanted a slice of chocolate heaven.

I’m not sure how you’ll feel about this, but the first time a Brownie was mentioned in a cookbook it didn’t contain any chocolate, it appeared in the Boston Cooking-School Cook Book by Fannie Farmer in 1896, it references the brownies as molasses cakes baked individually in tin moulds. Molasses is a black substance made from refining sugarcane or sugar beets, so the cakes Fannie made, still came out looking a bit like chocolate.

It was in Machias Cookbook, in 1899, that first mentioned ‘Brownie’s Food’ in chocolate form, the cookbook consisted of many recipes by many different people, but it was Marie Kelley from Whitewater, Wisconsin who is credited for creating the recipe, you take a look for yourself, the book is free on an open library, which you can see here.

The Sparkling Wine

As the Brownie is going to be sweet and chocolaty, it’s going to take a sweet Sparkling Wine to stand up to the flavours. Chocolate and Sparkling Wine is not always looked favourable upon by industry professionals, but it is one combination which is enjoyed by many people, a quick search online suggests Rosé Champagne, which I’m not going to disagree with, but there’s certainly more Sparkling Wines out there that can pair well with chocolate. These homemade Brownies that I’m making contain milk chocolate, which is easier to pair with than dark chocolate, as dark chocolate comes with a more powerful chocolaty flavour, which would normally require an even sweeter or more powerful Sparkling Wine.

I’ve picked out an Extra Dry Sparkling Wine from Austria, Extra dry is on the sweeter side of Sparkling Wines, it’s one up from a Brut, which is considered the standard for consumers.

The Szigeti Winery was founded in 1991 by Peter Szigeti, it is located in Gols in the Austrian state of Burgenland. Peter and his cellar master have both spent a lot of time ensuring that his Sparkling Wine meets the highest quality and captures the varietal characteristics of the grape varieties.

Interesting Fact: When looking at their Prestige line you will notice an emblem of a Knight, this is a tribute to the Knight of Gols.

Sektkellerei Szigeti – Klassik Muskat Ottonel Extra Dry

Aroma 👃 “Ripe green fruits, lime, fresh garden mint and herbs and freshly cut grass on the aroma.”

Flavour 👅 “Similar flavours to the aroma, silky, smooth, ripe green fruits, lime, herbs and more on the palate.”

This Austrian Sparkling Wine Won a Gold Medal in the Dessert Category at the Glass of Bubbly Awards 2021

Sparkling Wine and Brownie Pairing

Pairing Notes – “The Sparkling Wine adds in delicate lime and lemon flavours, including ripe green fruits, it enriches the chocolate flavours making them even more desirable to the palate.”

Brownie Information

Oliver Walkey

Champagne and Sparkling Wine Writer, Focused on Bringing the Exciting and Fascinating World of Bubbly to You.