Love Month: Finding the Best Chocolate Pairing for Your Wine Night
If you thought that pairing wine with chocolate is not a thing, then you might need to think again because it is actually a fun and popular combination for many wine and chocolate enthusiasts alike. It is a combination that simply makes sense: both can be sweet, delectable, and are known to be aphrodisiacs — something that is relevant for the month of February. Aside from that, there really is no general consensus as to what the best wine and chocolate pairings are, so experimentation and a little creativity are required if you are to find the best combination possible that suits your palate.
Whether you’re a seasoned wine and chocolate veteran or a novice looking for a place to start, here is a short guide or blueprint to help you find the best chocolate pairing for your wine night.
Milk chocolate is considered by many to be the most basic, yet pure kind of chocolate. Most of the time, this type of chocolate is comprised of equal parts cocoa and cream. The simple composition and resulting flavor profile make it easy to pair with wine.
As a general rule of thumb, matching the sweetness or intensity of both the chocolate and the wine can make for the best kind of pairings. That being said, here is a list of different wines that taste good with milk chocolate:
- Pinot Noir – a popular type of wine grape that is usually sweet and particularly low in tannins.
- Merlot – Another popular type of wine grape you’ve probably heard of, but you should go for the light and fruity version of merlot for an optimal combination.
- Madeira wine – a fortified dessert wine (i.e. has a sweet flavor) coming from the island of Madeira in Portugal.
- Port wine – another type of Portuguese dessert wine that you can go for if Madiera wine is too strong or hard to acquire.
Since milk chocolate is relatively easy to pair with due to the wide availability of silky, sweet, and light-bodied wines, you can go for the classics if ever you are in doubt. A little taste test can go a long way in this regard.
If you are a white chocolate kind of person, then there is no need to worry because there are wines that pair with it quite well. However, white chocolate tends to have a relatively gentle and buttery flavor, so you have to be a little more careful with your wine selection.
Here are some suggestions to give you an idea:
- Sherry – a well-known Spanish fortified wine made from white grapes that is both sweet and fresh.
- Chardonnay – a popular grape used for sparkling wines that have a rather crisp citrus flavor that matches well with white chocolate.
- Moscato d’Asti – commonly referred to as ‘Asti’, this light sparkling white wine complements the white chocolate’s creamy nature.
As you can see, sparkling white wines are always viable because they tend to be fresh and creamy — following the general rule of matching tastes and/or intensity. While you might be inclined to pair white chocolate with its wine counterpart, don’t do it without taste-testing because it is not always a given that white and white go together.
Going into the more lush and decadent type of chocolate, dark chocolate has been ever-growing in popularity due to its health benefits and bitter taste that people are getting more and more accustomed to. This calls for richer, full-bodied wines, but you can also break the rule of thumb and go for a contrasting sweet dessert type of wine.
Try going for these wines if you’re having difficulty choosing:
- Cabernet Sauvignon – this popular type of wine is best known for being the perennial dry or full-bodied wine that many wine lovers adore.
- Pinot noir / Merlot – Just as these wines can be light, there are also full-bodied varietals that can easily synergize with dark chocolate.
- Port – Making another appearance is port wine because it is sweet, yet very rich in terms of mouthfeel.
- Zinfandel – this is a less-popular wine commonly sourced from California that is sensational when paired with dark chocolate due to its bold fruity flavor and robust aroma.
Without sounding too repetitive, the rich dark chocolate goes well with rich, full-bodied, ‘dry’ wines. Try it out if you are in the mood for a borderline-overwhelming wine and chocolate experience.
Miscellaneous chocolate-wine pairings
Now that all the common types of chocolate are covered, here is a quick rundown of other known chocolate and wine pairings:
- Chocolate with nuts – dessert wines like Madeira, Pedro Ximénez, and sweeter versions of Sherry.
- Mint chocolate – Cabernet Sauvignon, Moscato d’Asti, and sweet red wines.
- Chocolate-covered strawberries – Chardonnay, Champagne, and sparkling red wines if you are able to find them.
As you have read, the world of chocolate and wine pairing is diverse and full of possibilities. Whether you are looking for a creative way to spice up your upcoming valentine’s day celebration or simply trying new ways to enjoy your favorite wine and/or chocolate, the combinations listed above can be a great way to do it.
However, this guide is only meant to give you an idea as to what specific kind of wines pairs well with the common types of chocolate. The world really is your oyster when it comes to the best chocolate and wine pairings, so have fun with them and never stop trying different combinations. The important part is that you and the people who you are planning to enjoy it with are pleased with the outcome.