Nothing makes taste buds cheer as much as a harmonious food and drink pairing – one of the most famous being the simple yet decadent combination of wine and chocolate. The union of these two indulgences is a delicate balancing act between the sweet velvety textures of chocolate and earthy yet complex flavors of wines. If not paired well, the outcome can be potentially disastrous. Even though the pairing of chocolate and wine is synonymous, there is no clear-cut way to make each and every match. Unless you’re a world class sommelier (I am sad to say most of us aren’t) there’s going to probably be a bit of trial and error involved in picking out the perfect combination of wine and chocolate (which if you ask us isn’t necessarily a terrible thing). We can certainly think of worse pairings. Ultimately, you should always keep your own personal taste preferences in mind but here are a few tips to help you in your search for the perfect pairing:
- The wine should be either of equal sweetness or greater than the chocolate. You don’t want to overwhelm your senses in a negative way.
- Like goes with like. Have a wine with nutty notes and a chocolate with nutty notes. They are probably complimentary. Likewise, dark chocolate pairs well with dark wine (dark wine being a vibrant, rich, and heavy flavor).
- Start with the sweetest chocolates and wines and pair down to dark when tasting wine and chocolate.
- Pay attention to the tannins in the wine when pairing. Aim for soft and round tannins that produce a smooth drinkability. They will taste better with chocolate as opposed to a wine with harsh tannins.
The more knowledge you have about the tastes of certain chocolates and wines, the better you will be able to pair them together. Curious as to what pairings are recommended? Check out how these stack up:
- White chocolate goes well with sweet and fruity wines like Riesling, Sherry, and Orange Muscat. Sparkling wines are a good match for white chocolate as well. White chocolate is technically not a true chocolate because it has no actual cocoa and gets its smooth flavor from milk solids and cocoa butter. Vanilla, honey, butterscotch, and caramel are common additives. It’s smooth and rich combination makes it an attractive companion to lighter wines.
- Sweet milk chocolate pairs well with wines that have a medium to light body. Moscato, Ruby Port, and Riesling are a few popular pairings. Milk chocolate has a higher amount of milk and sugar when compared to its cocoa content, resulting in a softer chocolate. Typically, there will be less than 40% cocoa solids. Pairing this with similarly sweet wines is considered complimentary.
- Dark chocolate is considered to be the match for dry, red wines with full to medium bodies. The strength from the two meshes extremely well together. Instead of overpowering one another, they work to bring out their individual flavors that may be missed when not consumed together. Dark chocolate is typically described as bitter with little sweetness because it has a cocoa content range of 60%-100% cocoa. Most dark chocolates dwell within the 60%-80% range where the cocoa remains somewhat sweet and palatable for most. However, all dark chocolates generally pair well with both medium and full-bodied red wines. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Malbec are considered excellent options.
As with all food and drink combinations, it depends on your palette and individual preferences; however, we encourage you to try all of the suggested pairings (perhaps not all in one sitting though) to experience the different types of flavors! Does all this talk of complimentary foods have you wanting to indulge in your own chocolate and wine pairing? Try pairing Emily’s Chocolates with all of your favorite wines and let us know what your favorite pairings are in the comment section below!