There are some key points of similarity between chocolate and wine. Both chocolate and wine are made from fruit (chocolate from the cacao pod) and (wine from grapes). The flavor and aroma yielded by both the cacao pod and the grape are a function of their rootstock, soil, climate, and weather conditions. And both chocolate and wine are both made from a blend of beans or grapes, each with distinct flavor profiles.
There is some skill involved in pairing the right chocolate with the right wine. And yes chocolate and wine do complement each other! Follow these strategies and you will be able to engage your palate to the fullest – just think of pairing the most exotic chocolate truffle with a glass of vintage Bordeaux!
White chocolate tends to be mellow and buttery in flavor, making it ideal for Champagne, Sparkling Wine, Fruity Chardonnay, Orange Muscat or Sherry. These styles of wine will pick up on the buttery, fatty tones in the chocolate
The classic milk chocolate pairing is Port; other considerations are lighter-bodied Pinot Noir, Merlot, Riesling, Muscat, Desert Wines, Brut Champagnes or Sparkling Wines. Watch out for the high sugar levels in milk chocolate as these can cancel out the fruitiness in reds
Dark chocolate (50% to 70%) needs a wine that offers a slightly robust flavor such as Cabernet Sauvignon and intense, in-your-face, Zinfandel – this dark chocolate match results in an unparalleled tasting combination. Other choices are Pinot Noir and Merlot. Champagne and sparkling wine can handle dark chocolate around the 55% cocoa mark. Tawny or Vintage Port also offers a well-balanced pairing approach to dark chocolate. Note: some reds have their own chocolate notes – in taste and nosing
Bittersweet chocolate (70% to 100%) enters the bitter range with deep intensity. Chocolate gourmands adore this range of taste, so the wine should live up to it. Excellent choices are Bordeaux, Beaujolais, Shiraz, Orange Muscat, Port, Malbec, and Zinfandel
Champagne generally works well across the chocolate spectrum yet some Champagne are high in acid and can react poorly with your chocolate choice.
The perfect pairing balances sweetness, fruitiness, and acidity—and your own flavor preferences!
While it creates a challenge to find the perfect suitor for a box of assorted truffles; it also makes it fun to seek your favorite pairings.
THE FUN PART
• First take a sip of the wine
• Then take a piece of the chocolate and let the heat from your tongue melt the chocolate – avoid biting
• Followed by another sip of wine
• Engage your palate to the fullest, and
• Indulge in your senses
Wine and Travel Writer