Pairing wine with food is an art, and those who have perfected it are the ones that experience true flavor refinement. Wine is derived from the juice of crushed grapes and fermented over a few weeks until the natural sugars become alcoholic.
There are over 10,000 varieties of wine around the world and drinking it is more than a hobby. Expert wine drinkers exist to taste and pair wines with food … for money.
There are many types of foods that pair well with wine, such as beef, fish, cheese and our favorite… chocolate! We’re here to give you some tips and tricks to pairing wine with chocolate so you can impress others (and your taste buds) at the next dinner party.
- Dark Chocolate – dark chocolate contains the highest percentage of cacao, and the percentage determines how bitter & dry (yet still delectable and with earthy undertones) the taste will be. Experts suggest that it’s best to pair these darker chocolates with sweeter and even fruity wines. Some of these include: Think Pinot Grigio, Zinfandel and Merlot. That’s right, it’s not recommended to pair dark chocolate with dry wines. The result will be tannin overload, which will create the feeling that you have a film over your tongue.
- Milk Chocolate – milk chocolate is quite sweet, containing a high amount of sugar and a low amount of cacao. People who study wine pairings suggest a sweet chocolate like milk should be paired with a medium bodied or slightly bolder wine. Pinot Noir, Merlot, Cabernet and Gewurztraminer are three wines experts suggest drinking while eating milk chocolate.
- White Chocolate – white chocolate is made with cocoa butter. The sugar and milk make it extremely sweet, yet different from the other chocolates. Due to its lack of pure cacao, white pairs well with Riesling, Moscato d’Asti and Sweeter Rosè. Some even say a sparkling wine goes well with white chocolate.
There are other factors to take into account when pairing wines and chocolate, such as whether or not the chocolate has other inclusions, such as fruit or nuts. Experts say that when it comes to finding the right wine for your chocolate, find something slightly sweeter, or “riper,” than the chocolate itself.
They also suggest trying a softer wine, which means a lower tannin count, or “pucker power.” You’ll want a wine low in tannins to balance it out with a darker chocolate.
Given the many types of wine along with the variety of chocolates out there, there’s no shortage of pairings you can experiment with. It’s fun, delicious and a great way to gain more culinary knowledge!