If you’re looking for an alternative idea for a night in with friends, why not try a wine and chocolate night. If you love wine, and love chocolate, it sounds like the perfect combination. And to help, this article is here to make sure you make all the right decisions with a simple guide to pairing the two.
Pairing wine and chocolate: The basics
Before diving in with a bar of Dairy Milk and a bottle of Shiraz, there are few tips and tricks to making the right pairing.
Both chocolate and wine can have an intense taste, which is why the right pairing is so important.
To start the night, try a wine that is slightly sweeter than the chocolate. Sweet wines include sherry, port, and Madeira.
If you are a keen wine drinker and can tell the difference between light- and full-bodied options, try to match this with the heaviness or sweetness of the chocolate.
When setting up your pairing night, it’s worth working your way through the chocolate or wine in a logical way. Start with white chocolates and get darker, or set up the lighter-bodied wines together before trying the full-bodied glasses. By starting with the lighter tastes of white chocolate, you’ll avoid being overpowered by dark chocolate and being unable to taste anything else.
As white chocolate often has that classic buttery taste, it’s ideal for pairing with sweeter wines such as sherry and muscat. These drinks will draw out the creamy texture of the chocolate and highlight any slight fruitiness.
If you’re looking for a riskier pairing, you could opt for a Zinfandel. This will contrast the white chocolate taste but draw out the fruity taste of the wine much more.
A light-bodied Pinot Noir or medium Merlot will work perfectly with a creamy milk chocolate. Whether you choose a chunk of chocolate on its own, or want to spruce it up with a chocolate mousse or a cheesecake, this pair will leave you wanting more.
On the other side, a sparkling wine or dessert wine such as muscat can go just as well. The acidity of bubbly intensifies the gentler tastes within the chocolate, allowing you to find a new appreciation for this guilty pleasure.
Dark chocolate tends to have a higher cocoa content, which adds a bittersweetness. With this in mind, dark chocolate should be paired with a fuller-bodied wine with flavor-intense fruits. Across the globe, the spicy hints in a Zinfandel are commonly paired with dark chocolate in order to create a deliciously intense flavor combination.
You can pair delicious nutty treats such as Mozart Kugel chocolates with Madeira, port and sherry. These dessert wines combine with the hazelnut and marzipan in the chocolate to create a sweet and delightful taste that’s perfect for ending the night on a high.
Creating food and drink pairings can be a case of trial and error, and personal tastes. But with a little research into the best combinations, you could find yourself indulging in chocolate and wine a little more frequently.