Tips For Pairing Chocolate With Wine

June 24, 2014 at 3:06 pm

Did you know, both cocoa beans and wine are fermented with the very same type of yeast? It’s no wonder there are so many wine and chocolate lovers! When these two come together, it can be a beautiful thing, but only if paired correctly. We strongly suggest pairing our Ritual Chocolates with one of our tasty wines the next time you’re in the neighborhood.  Find out which goes along best with your favorite wine below. As with all wine and food pairing suggestions, these tips should only be used as guidelines. It is important to do your own experimenting since palates respond differently. 

Tips For Pairing Chocolate With Wine

  • Begin by follow these four steps:

1) Smell the wine. Twirl the wine in a glass and breathe in all of the aromas in a long, smooth whiff.

2) Smell the chocolate. Lightly rub the chocolate’s exterior, place towards the nose and smell the chocolate to stimulate your senses.

3) Taste the chocolate. Do not chew your chocolate. Take a small bite and rest the tongue for 10-15 seconds. Notice how different aspects of the chocolate’s composition melt at different times, and your senses highlight multiple flavors throughout the experience.

4) Taste the wine. Take a sip of wine and sense the balance and complexity of the chocolate and wine on your palette.

  • For the optimal tasting experience, start with lighter wines and finish with more full-bodied wines.
  • Do not have the chocolate sweeter than the wine you’re pairing it with. You’ll find the wine tastes bitter if you have it less sweet than the chocolate.
  • Pair chocolate and wine according to the darkness of the chocolate. As with food, the general rule is that the darker the chocolate, the darker the wine. So, reds are ideal for dark chocolate.
  • Obey the wine rule of tasting from light to dark. Start with the light milk and white chocolates, and move to the medium intensity chocolate, ending finally with the very dark and bitter chocolates. Match the wines in ascending order of weight and darkness.

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Pairing Suggestions:

  • White chocolate: Match with Sherry, Muscat, a fruity Chardonnay, or a Moscata d’Asti. These wines will pick up on the buttery, fatty tones of what isn’t always considered to be a “real” chocolate. For those who don’t mind a risk, a contrasting wine heavy in tannins might just work to cut through the fattiness of white chocolate.
  • Milk chocolate: Try Merlot, Pinot Noir, Riesling, Muscat, and dessert wines. Be careful of the higher sugar levels in milk chocolate, as these may cancel out any fruitiness in dry red wines, leaving them tasting bitter.
  • Dark chocolate (50% to 70%): Pair this with more robust wines, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Pinot Noir, and Port. A Chianti can match well with chocolate around 65 percent cocoa content.
  • Bittersweet chocolate (70% to 100%): This chocolate type enters the bitter range with deep intensity. Chocolate gourmands adore this range of taste, so the wine should live up to it. Good choices include Bordeaux, Beaujolais, Shiraz, Orange Muscat, Port, Malbec, and Zinfandel.
  • Champagne or sparkling wine: Try these with all chocolate types. It is a variety that compliments many flavors. Many fortified dessert wines work well across the chocolate spectrum as well.

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