The Secrets of Pairing Wine and Chocolate
There are fewer pleasures to the culinary palate than the combination of a great wine and sweet chocolate. Whether the occasion is a romantic evening with a special loved one or an after-dinner treat, pairing these two flavorful options is a mouthwatering experience.
The key, however, to successfully combining a chocolate confection with a fine wine – while not complicated – does require a bit of thought in order to properly complete a complex blend of textures and flavors.
The following are a few no so secret tips that will assist you in making the most of the delights of pairing these two dining favorites.
Use a wine that is as sweet as your chocolate
While this is not necessarily a hard and fast rule, generally speaking, you will find that your wine has a bitter taste if paired with a significantly sweeter chocolate.
Your best option is to find a balance, with both your chocolate and wine selections having an equal sweetness, with neither overpowering the other.
This is true, for example, with a Syrah or even a Merlot. More than likely, to avoid this pitfall, you may be required to endure a bit of chocolate and wine tasting in order to find the right combination.
Of course, this is usually a welcomed benefit of the experimentation.
One problem that can certainly derail a good chocolate/wine pairing is to utilize an inferior chocolate selection. Think of your chocolate in the same way you consider a fine wine.
You will want to use a brand that offers high quality taste and texture. This is true regardless of the type of chocolate you prefer, whether a dark, white or milk.
The use of a “dull” chocolate will certainly hinder the pairing with a higher quality wine.
Pair according to color
You will want to pair dark or light chocolate with an equally colored wine. Essentially, the darker the chocolate you select, the darker the wine (and vice versa). So, for example, if you have a nice red wine, you will want to opt for a dark chocolate to pair it with.
Alternatively, if you prefer a white wine, then perhaps a white chocolate with a bit of a nutty flavor works well.
For chocolates with strong and intense flavoring, you will want to pair these selections with a full-bodied wine. Fail to do so and you will find that your chocolate will overpower the flavor of your wine, negating the purpose of pairing.
Try a Sparkling Wine
An interesting and pleasurable flavor combination is achieved if you pair a sparkling wine with a favorite chocolate. The lighter and often fruity taste of a sparkling wine from your home wine cooler provides a wide variety of contrasts with a sweet chocolate that you may find enjoyable.
Tried and true combinations
The following is a short list of good chocolate and wine pairings that keep in mind the preceding tips:
White Chocolate: wines that you may find pleasing with this chocolate option include Chardonnay (a fruity variety) or a Sherry.
Dark Chocolate: You will want to match a dark chocolate with a full-bodied wine such as Zinfandel or a Cabernet.
Milk Chocolate: You will want to really experiment with milk chocolate because of the high sugar content this option usually contains. Dessert wines, Merlot or a Muscat are typically nice options for this pairing.
Do not be afraid to experiment
While these tips are certainly helpful, remember, they are just tips. Not everyone has the same preferences when it comes to taste. While this guide is a great start, you will want to experiment to see what best agrees with your personal palate. Experiment with different blends to find what is right for you.
Indeed, with a bit of effort, you will find the best chocolate/wine combination for your dining experience. Have fun while you try out different blends and remember that the end result is more than worth the time and energy that you devote to this endeavor.