Pairing wine with chocolate is not always an easy task mainly due to the wide variety of both wine and chocolate. It becomes a tricky endeavor when you have to find the right chocolate to pair with the various types of wine. Just like in any other type of wine pairing, the general rule when making chocolate and wine pairing is to mix a lighter flavored chocolate with lighter wines. On the other hand, fuller bodied wines should go with strongly flavored chocolates.
Chocolate is well known to match perfectly with wine mainly because both are made through a similar process of fermentation and infusion with yeast. According to experts, there are specific types of wine and chocolate that pair perfectly, despite the fact that personal tastes and preferences can defer between different individuals. This is a brief guide to chocolate and wine pairing.
White chocolate is considered to be among the most versatile wine pairings mainly because it only contains cocoa fat. When pairing white chocolate and white wine, it is recommended that you go for a sweeter wine than your preferred chocolate. You should avoid using dry wine as it accentuates the dryness. Sherry is a great match for white chocolate, especially Pedro Ximenez Sherry and Oloroso style. This is because it cuts through the chocolate’s creaminess.
Moscato and Orange Muscat also works well, especially when using a chocolate containing fruits. White chocolate also forms a great pair with sparkling wine and Champagne. Other popular wines that can be paired with white chocolate include Rose Port, Vintage Port, Ice Wine, Lambrusco and Sweet Tokaji. Spanish Chardonnay makes a better pair with caramel-rich white chocolate.
Stronger types of chocolate such as dark chocolate make better pairings with concentrated and stronger wines such as Malbec, Shiraz or Cabernet Sauvignon. The concentrated flavors of the fruits used in the chocolates match the high concentration of red wine. Most dark chocolates contains about 35% cocoa and also make great pairs with Banyuls, Maury, Vin Santo as well as Chinato.
Milk chocolate appeases most chocolate lovers and often consists of chocolate and half cream which add some extra fat. This is the main reason why it works better with a wider variety of wines as compared to dark chocolate. Some of the recommended wines to pair with milk chocolate include Aged Vintage Port, Creamy Sherry, Montilla-Morilles as well as Rasteau. Other red wines such as Pinot Noir and Merlot also go well with milk chocolate, which is not only creamier but also softer due to its high sugar content. Milk chocolate is also great with Hungarian Tokaji, especially due to the wine’s richness.
Caramel is often used in chocolate to add extra sweet salinity. Caramel chocolates are considered to be a perfect combination of fat, salty, bitter and sweet. Caramel chocolate and wine pairing can either be complimentary or congruent. Complimentary wine pairing involves wines such as Lambrusco, Champagne and Moscato d’Asti. Congruent wine pairing consists of Cream Sherry, Amontillado Sherry, Vin Santo and Madeira. Caramel chocolate also makes a great pair with dessert wines such as Tawny Port and Oloroso.
There are many other types of chocolate available in different flavorings and spices such as mint, ginger, chile and cherry. When pairing wine with flavored chocolate, your main focus should be on accenting the flavor.[Image Credit]