Wine, Chocolate, and a Swiss Bernese Mountain Dog

Pie and Other Earthly Delights

My husband and I love to visit local wineries. It’s our thing. About twice a year we map out a galavant that includes tastings, a bit of sightseeing, and, of course, food. A crisp Friday in late October we headed north and made our way through dozens of small towns. We spent an hour at a crowded orchard where we picked up a few pecks of apples that I later used in my classic apple pies. We ate lunch at a Greek place in Washington. Our winery stops included a visit to White Oak Vineyards in Carlock.

White Oak is owned by Rudi and Mary, a German couple whose dream was to be farmers. They moved to McLean County in 1999, purchased a small farm, and soon planted grape vines. Their interest in wine followed as they cultivated their sturdy vines. The winery and tasting room opened in 2011 where they host tastings and special events. 

We loved every wine we drank there, but our favorite was Schlittenfahrt, a holiday dessert wine best served with dark chocolate. I think Rock just likes saying the name. Schlittenfahrt. Schlittenfahrt. That is the man I married. Anyway, Rudi gave us a dark chocolate Hershey Kiss to eat before tasting this wine. It was warm and lovely and comforting. Oh my. So we bought a bottle and decided to save it for a special occasion.

This Saturday we are having dinner with our dear friends Ann and Dick, and Rock wanted to bring this wine. I decided to make a Dark Chocolate Mint Julep Pie to complement the Schlittenfahrt. (Just say it out loud. It will make you giggle.) Yum and yum.

This pie is a dark chocolate delight filled with cream, milk, eggs, peppermint, bourbon (or in this case Jameson whiskey), and of course, chocolate. I bought four bars of Lindt smooth dark chocolate that I chopped up. When the mixture is all whisked together it creates a thick, creamy, chocolatey concoction. Sigh. I wish I could serve it to everyone, but, alas, it will be saved for the four of us. So here’s to a piece of Dark Chocolate Mint Julep Pie and a glass of Schlittenfahrt after our dinner. Sublime.

One more thing - my most favorite part of this winery visit was meeting Moritz, Rudi and Mary's Swiss Bernese Mountain dog. It was love at first sight. If we lived on acreage, I would get this breed of dog in a minute. Just look at her. Who could resist that face? 

Since I learned to share when I was little, here is a link to the recipe. Enjoy.