Two of the best-loved treats in life are chocolate and wine, but while many of us would love to indulge in a box and a bottle, the two do not always mix well. Both chocolates and wine can be very rich and luxurious, making pairing the two difficult. The flavours of one can overpower the other, masking any subtler tastes, or the sweetness of the chocolate could prove too much for the wine, spoiling the taste.
Luckily, chocolate comes in many forms, with a vast range of flavours and styles, allowing you to better combine the sweet treat with your favourite beverage. To help you better match the chocolate to the drink, there are a few simple rules to follow.
Match the Chocolate and Wine in Terms of Sweetness
One of the easiest ways to properly enjoy a glass of wine with some chocolate is to first consider the sweetness of each. Milk chocolate or caramel can be particularly sweet, making a dessert wine, such as Sherry, a great option, as the sweetness of the wine will compliment it. Likewise, the slightly bitter flavours of a dark chocolate can withstand the bolder flavours of fuller-bodied red wines, with the higher tannin levels in a Cabernet Sauvignon, for example, providing equally bitter notes.
Pair Chocolate and Wine Based on Colour
Similar to the rules of pairing red meat with red wine and white meat or fish with white wine, chocolate and wine can also be paired based on colour. For the most part, the rule should be that the darker the chocolate, the darker your wine should be. Following this rule works, as white chocolates pair best with white wines such as Riesling and Champagne, whereas dark chocolate is best matched to Merlot.
Keep the Quality of Chocolate High
A higher quality chocolate will be smoother and altogether more delicious! When pairing with wine it is important not to sacrifice any flavour (or enjoyment) by spoiling the taste with an inferior chocolate. While some may argue that you can’t go too wrong with chocolate, if you’re choosing to pop open one of your best bottles, it’s probably best to match the quality level with your chocolates. Of course, this also gives you a great excuse to sample some deliciously fancy truffles!
The Texture is Just as Important as the Taste
While the sweetness, flavour and colour of the chocolate are important, the texture of the treat should also be taken into consideration. Chocolate that contains nuts or chocolate covered nuts will be particularly crisp and crunchy, making it work well with a smooth and velvety glass of Port or Shiraz. Plus, with fruit and nut being a classic combination, the fruity and sweet notes of rich dessert red will pair excellently with nutty chocolates.
Check out our pairing guide infographic for more ideas on how to pair wine with chocolate!
Do you like chocolate with your wine? Let us know your favourite pairings by leaving a comment below or getting in touch via our social media channels. When pairing wine with chocolate, make sure your glassware reflects the luxuriousness of your treats by using delightful mouth-blown glasses by Lehmann Glassware!