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Portafortuna creates Cognac with cacao nibs

Dutch brand Portafortuna has released Pax44, a VS Cognac flavoured with cacao nibs, intended to commemorate a moment of humanity during World War Two.

Portafortuna Pax 44 cognac cacao
A gentle shake of the bottle frees the cacao nibs to briefly float before settling at the bottom

Operation Market Garden, made famous by the 1977 film A Bridge Too Far, pitched the forces of Germany against Britain and Poland on the streets of Dutch city Arnhem, the home of Portafortuna’s development team.

In September 1944, the shooting stopped. The starving British troops gave a bottle of Cognac to the German forces and received the Germans’ chocolate rations in return.

Owen James, founder of Portafortuna, commented: “We are honoured to handcraft this commemorative brand and be part of telling the story of Arnhem’s gift to humanity – a pax, a truce, a moment of peace to ensure the sacrifice from both sides is never forgotten.”

“The challenge of the drink was to introduce a Port influence into the powerful and dominant Cognac, allowing the dark chocolate to infuse and the cacao nibs to rest naturally without a stark contrast in flavour.”

Portafortuna’s VS Cognac is made with a minimum aged blend of eight years and is matured in Limousin oak and finally rested in Port barrels, before raw, fermented, solid, cacao nibs are added.

The liquid has a 44% ABV and comes in 500ml handcrafted bottles. The 2023 launch is a limited edition of 44 bottles, which will be presented to charitable associations throughout the year to commemorate the 79th anniversary of the war event and to raise awareness and funds.

Significant recipients of the first bottles are the Airborne Museum in Oosterbeek, the VC Gallery in Wales and the Loggerhead cocktail bar in Kyiv.

Portafortuna XO, a blend of XO brandy and vintage Port, won a Silver in the Speciality Spirits category of The DB & SB Spring Blind Tasting 2023.

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