Reviewer’s Note: Samples of the products discussed here were provided to me for reviewing purposes at no cost.
Famed Monterey County winery Estancia has partnered with Chicago’s adored Silverland Bakery to create a limited edition collection of unique bakery bars infused with wine. It was my recent honor to sample these for review.
Taking Estancia’s two most beloved wines for its creative muses, Silverland Bakery created the Estancia Pinot Noir Bakery Bar and the Estancia Chardonnay White Chocolate Caramel Bar. As an avid aficionado of each wine variety as well as all things baked and sweet, I was excited to see them arrive in the Flavorful World kitchen.
My initial reaction to this product was that the box makes a favorable first impression. There’s little to it by way of art or visual fanfare, yet loud and clear is the suggestion that good things lie within. Here we have a product that speaks for itself with eloquence.
The Pinot Noir Bakery Bar does justice to the wine variety that inspired it. Topped with a raspberry and crumb topping, its visual presentation is immediately impressive. The bar has a jammy, elegant raspberry aroma that defies one to smell it without wanting to take a bite. Slightly chewy, the pastry’s texture calls to mind fresh-baked shortbread: firm but not dense, flaky without being crumbly. This bar packs a great deal of rich, rustic flavor impressions into a 2 x 3 inch square.
The Chardonnay White Chocolate Caramel Bar, representing its inspiring wine as ably as the Pinot Noir bar, is lighter and brighter on the nose. It smells of vanilla and apples, of butter and birthday cake. Its texture and hints of sweet almond that I tasted remind me of a French macaron. This bar’s sweetness is a bit more expressive, as opposed to its red wine-themed counterpart whose darker, less emphatic sweet notes register a moment after it hits the tongue. Wearing a generous coating of caramel sauce, this bar is also, as its name discloses, studded with large buttons of white chocolate. These lend an added dimension of creamy sweetness to the squares as well as making for a more interesting texture. The effect is pleasing enough, but seems almost superfluous to a bar that I have no doubt would sacrifice none of its delightful ‘melt-in-your-mouth’ goodness had the white chocolate been left out. Admittedly, it would then cease to be a Chardonnay White Chocolate Caramel bar, but I digress….
As we enter a season that’s known for entertaining and gift-giving, laying hands on a box is definitely worth looking into. In the Estancia Wine-Infused Bakery Box, the most attractive subtleties of California Chardonnay and Pinot Noir meet the delicious small-batch freshness for which Silverland Bakery’s creations are widely known. No, these sweets will not inebriate you, and no they don’t drip with actual wine. But these bakery bars are delicious proof that beautiful harmonies can be struck when the right elements work together toward a common end. And speaking as much of the collaboration between Estancia and Silverland Bakery as of the interplay between each bar’s ingredients, I’d say that all the right elements are in play with this product.
The Estancia Wine-Infused Bakery Box contains six Chardonnay White Chocolate Caramel Bars and six Pinot Noir Bakery Bars, each individually-wrapped. As of this November 5th, 2014 writing, this exciting sweets collection is available for purchase on www.SilverlandBakery.com, but don’t procrastinate. They’re limited edition after all, so he who hesitates could be forced to go bar-less.
And that’s no way to spend the season, right?