As simple as it may seem, pairing chocolate and wine is quite a tricky endeavour that requires detail and intricacy. Understanding the difference between flavour and taste is fundamental to choosing the right wine and chocolate pair. Almost everybody loves chocolate and wine, so what’s not to like when they are put together?!. In fact, wine has recently overtook beer as ‘Britain’s favourite drink’. Whether this is due to people selecting the right chocolate and wine combination, I don’t know. I often ask myself why wine is so popular; is it the variety of flavour? Is it the sophisticated social position it gives you if you drink it like an aristocrat from a crystal glass? Is it used for cooking as widely as it’s used for drinking? Is it because it’s relatively cheap in comparison with other alcohol? Or is it each and every one of these answers combined? You only need to find the right wine that suits you. Simple.
So, let’s start with Dark chocolate. Dark chocolate and red wine is undoubtedly the most well known chocolate pair. Peanut butter and Jelly, Simon and Garfunkel, Movies and Popcorn…they just work. The most common wines to pair with dark chocolate is dry red wines; Merlot, Shiraz, Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon. Red wines are considered to be ‘sophisticated, chic’ and more complex’ than others, which makes for the perfect pairing with dark chocolate. Red wines range from soft and gentle in taste, to distinctive and sharp on the tongue. The reason these two combine so magically is the soft, velvety texture they both possess. Dark chocolate and sweet wines is a no-go, the flavours do not compliment one another. Red wine, although fruity, has a softer, less acidic touch which accentuates the chocolate and creates a sensational treat.
So what’s next? Milk chocolate! Many consider red wine and milk chocolate as the perfect duo, but they couldn’t be more wrong. Red wine and milk chocolate DOES go together, providing the wine is a sweeter, fruitier red such as Pinot Noir. Milk chocolate and red wine provides a refreshingly sweet taste, whilst also avoiding that sickly feeling we all get after eating too much chocolate. HOWEVER, too much sugar in milk chocolate can lessen and eliminate the fruitiness of dry red wines, leaving a bitter taste.
In addition to this, Milk chocolate also pairs well with various white wines; Chardonnay and Ca’ di Alte Sauvignon Blanc. White wines are backboned by acidity, often described as both ‘crisp’ and ‘citrusy’ which allows decadent chocolate flavours to coat the mouth without turning bitter. Typical Chardonnay’s have a rich peachy taste, with a buttery, velvet tone. Champagne, providing it’s sweet enough, can also pair with milk chocolate, although with less emphasis on the rich taste.
Finally, white chocolate! The less popular type of chocolate, but ultimately just as good. Many associate white chocolate with Milky bar as it’s undoubtedly the most popular brand, however to ensure your wine and chocolate heighten one another, it’s better to stick with quality chocolate at a more expensive cost.
Believe it or not, white chocolate doesn’t contain ANY cocoa whatsoever. White chocolate is subtle in tones but heavy on creamy, buttery notes.
The first and most prominent rule to choosing the right wine for your bar of white chocolate…SPARKLING! It’s important to ensure you choose wines with body, colour and sweetness to puncture the rich creamy overcoat..Sparkling wine has enough rich depth and viscosity to stand up to sweet white chocolate creating the perfect companion. White chocolate also expresses the right aromas to match with a soft rose such as ‘Bulletin Zinfandel Rośe’. Again, the fruity flavours compliment the creamy tones of white chocolate to create a fit.
Fan of white wine but dislike white chocolate? No problem! Alternatively, you can always combine a crisp white wine such as our ‘Alpha Zeta C Chardonnay’ with strawberries dipped in milk chocolate. The fruity strawberry zest combines with softer white wines to create an exciting summer treat.