300ml water
150g caster sugar
2 cinnamon sticks
½ tsp allspice berries (optional)
3 cloves
75g dark chocolate, chopped
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tbsp dark rum
Pinch of salt
4 semi-firm ripe South African pears, peeled, halved and cored

South African Weisser Riesling (Rhine Riesling) will work well with this dish. Riesling has adapted well to South African’s soil and climate. This grape variety produces very full and flavourful wines which will develop well with bottle ageing. The wines have a honeyed spicy nose and a flowery sweetness on the palate.

Wine recommendations by Wines of South Africa


  1. In a large saucepan, bring the water, sugar, cinnamon sticks, allspice (if using) and cloves to a simmer over medium-high heat to dissolve the sugar.
  2. Cool for 5 minutes, then remove the cinnamon stick, allspice berries and cloves. Add the chocolate, cocoa powder, rum and salt. Return to heat and stir with a wooden spoon until the chocolate is melted and smooth.
  3. Poach pears separately in gently simmering water for approx 20 minutes, turning them over once halfway through the cooking process so they cook more evenly. They should be tender enough so that a knife inserted in the thickest part will easily slip in and out.
  4. Keep the pears warm until ready to serve with the hot chocolate sauce.

Tip: If not being used right away, you may refrigerate the pears in their poaching liquid in an airtight container for up to 2 days. To reheat, warm the pears in their poaching liquid in a saucepan over medium- low heat.

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