For more information:
Co-founder, Kyya Chocolate
Gene and Cheryl Long
Co-founders, Sassafras Springs Vineyard
For Immediate Release
January 22, 2016
Northwest Arkansas food artisans launch country’s first wine-infused chocolate
Kyya Chocolate, Sassafras Springs hosting a Valentine’s weekend of chocolate/wine immersion
NORTHWEST ARKANSAS—Chocolate and wine inspire some of the most intense flavor pairing opportunities in the culinary world. Two Northwest Arkansas food artisan companies took that intensity to a new realm when they created the country’s first wine-infused chocolate.
Kyya Chocolate and Sassafras Springs Vineyard created a Hispaniola single-origin chocolate bar that is infused with Sassafras’ Syrah red wine. The proprietary process to infuse the chocolate with the wine took more than three months to develop, Rick Boosey, co-founder of Kyya Chocolate said.
“We topped that off with a sprinkling of Uganda Nib into the back of the bar, he said. “It’s a very complex bar. While it’s a dark chocolate, it tastes more like a sweet chocolate.
“We can’t find anything else like it,” Boosey continued. “We have been able to find Bon-Bons with wine fillings in the center, but not infused in the chocolate itself. It was fun collaborating with Sassafras on this project.”
Both wine and chocolate are affected by terroir, which is how a plant’s growing conditions influence its flavor and texture (another example is tomatoes). Syrah’s are usually medium to full-bodied wines with medium-plus to high levels of tannins and flavors of blackberry, mint and black pepper notes. Chocolate from Uganda is deep rich chocolate with hints of cinnamon and biscuit. Hispanolia chocolate has citrus tones with whisper of burnt orange.
The wine-infused chocolate bars are currently only sold at Sassafras Springs Vineyard (6461 East Guy Terry Road, Springdale, Arkansas 72764) and the two companies will co-host a Valentine’s weekend of chocolate and wine infusion to officially introduce the bar.
Wine/Chocolate Immersion Weekend at Sassafras
Saturday, Feb. 13 will feature the “Wine and Chocolate Lovers Dream” for $150 per couple. The experience begins at 7 p.m. with a wine tasting cocktail event in Sassafras’ new enclosed patio. This will consist of a four-wine flight paired with meat and cheeses from local artisans.
At 7:45 p.m., guests will adjoin to the stables for dinner with light jazz music presented by JM Band. The dinner will include: wine, Lagniappe Salad, Steak Labouchere paired with a tender filet of chicken, served with a medley of sautéed vegetable scampi, and homemade biscuit with the finale of the wine-infused Kyya and Sassafras collaboration bar. At 8:30 p.m., Kyya will present 20 different “flavors” of single origin artisan chocolate. The evening finishes with the 16-piece jazz band JM Band offering an evening of dancing.
Sunday, Feb. 14 features a different kind of event with a “Chocolate Dream” open house at Sassafras Springs Vineyard from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Kyya Chocolate bars and flights of Sassafras wines will be available and guests will have the opportunity to have an artisan chocolatier hand-make their own custom chocolate Bon-Bons while enjoying a wine tasting. Tickets are $35 per person or $60 per couple.
Guests for either event can call Sassafras to reserve tickets 479.419.4999 to purchase your tickets or email SSVwinery@gmail.com
Gene and Cheryl Long, co-owners of Sassafras Springs Vineyard, and Rick and Cindy Boosey, co-owners of Kyya Chocolate, met during an open call at Whole Foods last year. Their mutual passion for creativity and serving others made for a perfect Arkansas-based culinary collaboration.
“We love to work with other artisans who have the same core values and work ethic that we do,” Cheryl Long said.
Rick Boosey agreed.
“We don’t live for average. We want to do creative things,” he said. “There are 2,400 wineries and 150 craft chocolatiers in the United States. We like to be unique and to try new things. This project with Sassafras gave us that opportunity. We’re proud of what we collaboratively created.”
About Kyya Chocolate
Kyya Chocolate was the first bean-to-bar chocolatier in Arkansas. Over the past year, Kyya has added single origin cocoa powders and syrups to their product lineup. Kyya’s customized cocoa press allows them to create hand-crafted artisan powders and syrups.
Founded in 2012 and located in Elm Springs, Kyya Chocolate purchases most of its beans from farmers Uganda, Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Jamaica, Madagascar, and Ecuador.
Kyya offers their chocolate bars in more than 125 retail locations throughout Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma and Kansas. They also sell their bars on Kyyachocolate.com.
Kyya now employs 10 people including full and part-time positions.
About Sassafras Springs Vineyard
Founded in 2014, the 15-acre Sassafras Springs Vineyard crafts its own wines in its newly constructed wine production building. It features a growing number of varietals. They host a number of events on their property including weddings, reunions, birthdays, and many other celebrations. They are also open to the public daily for wine tastings.
Their wines are available in a growing number of local stores and restaurants in Northwest Arkansas and a full selection is available at the Winery at Sassafrass Springs Vineyard
SSV’s website is http://www.ssvwinery.com.