Why is Chocolate Good with Wine?
The truth is, we simply don’t know why so many pair chocolate and wine. But, we have our suspicions. Cocoa beans are naturally fruity. Which means that the chocolate itself pairs well with an equally fruity wine. It’s also no secret that for many years doting partners have gifted their spouses with sweet wines and delicious chocolate.
Taking it a step further – did you know that Chocolate Wine exists? Chocolate wine originated in 18th century England. That’s right, a mix of both chocolate and wine together. Perfect for all chocolatiers!
Now, it’s true that chocolate contains polyphenols, tannins, antioxidants, and flavonols, much like wine does. If you’re not careful, the two could simultaneously compete for palate space, leaving you in a terribly bitter situation. And no one wants to be bitter after chocolate! On the other hand, pairing a semi-sweet wine with mildly bitter chocolate can enhance both flavors, creating a fruity truffle aroma.
As some general rules when it comes to chocolate, steer clear of dry red wines, always keep your wine sweeter than your chocolate, and keep the heavy with the heavy, and vice versa. Follow these rules and you can safely navigate through the world of chocolate and wine, avoiding a tannin overload.
Milk Chocolate and Wine
As milk chocolate (like Hershey’s) is sweeter and higher in fat than dark, it is much more simple to find an acceptable chocolate pairing. Choose a semi-sweet or sweet wine, such as a Sirah, Pinot Noir or Muscat. There’s not as much competition when it comes to boldness and tannin, so you don’t have to walk on eggshells as much when choosing your beverage.
Semi-sweet sparking wines can also be a great choice for milk chocolate. The bright acidity and addition of bubbles brings out the rich flavors of the chocolate, especially if it’s flavored with any sort of fruit.
Dark Chocolate and Wine
Dark chocolate can be tricky – it’s actually the most similar to wine in tannin and should be dealt with carefully when pairing. It requires a full-bodied, robust and intense wine in order for the wine to not be overshadowed. No one wants that! But, keep in mind – the dark fruit aromas in the wine don’t hurt and can be very complementary to dark chocolate’s intense, bitter flavor.
For the most part, you will want to choose a wine that is just slightly sweeter than the chocolate, which can vary greatly depending on the percentage of cocoa. It’s safe to say that 55% will pair well with a Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon, which have a full, velvety smooth taste with flavors of almonds, fruit or vanilla. Fortunately, these wines have enough tannin to keep up with the dark chocolate and are a natural, easy pairing choice. Perfect combination!
White Chocolate and Wine
We know what you’re thinking, white chocolate doesn’t deserve to be on this list. Unlike their cocoa bean partners, white chocolate does not contain cocoa solids. And yes, you can tell! But some of us can’t let the creamy, buttery candy go. Not to mention, a sweet Moscato, with its delicate honey flavor, will definitely take your white chocolate opinion to the next level.
Luckily for us, the Moscato has a way of enhancing the mellow, creamy flavors and textures in white chocolate that you didn’t even know were there. If the chocolate has any fruit infused into it, the Moscato has its own way of highlighting them and bringing the aromas to the foreground. Trust us, give white chocolate a chance, this time with a glass of Moscato wine.
Whether you’re a chocolatier or a wine lover, there is something for everyone when you pair chocolate and wine!