How to pair chocolate and wine

How to pair chocolate and wine

Wine and chocolate are two of the most amazing things on earth. Both bring you joy in their own way, so it’s always tempting to pair the two together. But before you pop the cork on a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon and tear into a box of gourmet chocolates, there are a few things you should consider so you don’t ruin the taste of both of your treats.


1. Match sugar with sugar

Unlike most pairings in life, where striking a balance is key, when it comes to matching chocolate and wine it’s best to avoid opposites. Sweeter chocolate like white chocolate does better when consumed with sweeter wines and bitter chocolate like dark chocolate enjoys being paired with dryer wines. Think of it as matching sugar with sugar. Sweet white chocolate pairs well with sweet wines high in residual sugars and bitter darks with dry wines with just a hint of residual sugar. A good rule of thumb is to always pair wines that are equally or slightly more sweet than the chocolate being eaten with it.

2. Match intensity with intensity

It’s not enough to just match sugar with sugar, you also want to match intensity with intensity. If you pair an incredibly delicately flavoured dark chocolate with a heavy, full bodied red, the intensity of the red will totally blow away any of the subtilty that might have been present in the chocolate. The same is true in reverse, a strong-tasting chocolate will destroy a delicate wine. Always remember: light flavoured chocolates enjoy being paired with light bodied wines and intensely flavoured chocolates prefer being paired with full bodied wines.

3. Pair flavours with flavours

Flavour notes in wine can draw out similar flavour notes in chocolate and vice versa. For instance, certain chocolates are naturally more fruity than others and do really well paired with fruity wines like a Moscato or a White Zinfandel. Enjoy chocolate covered nuts alongside a nutty wine like a Madeira or a Marsala. This is especially good to remember when enjoying truffles with wine.

4. Resist the urge to serve chocolate with Champagne

Yes, chocolate and sparkling wine sounds like an irresistibly romantic pairing, but, in truth, Champagne tends to be too dry and astringent to be enjoyed with chocolate. If you’re attached to the notion of bubbly and chocolate, consider rosé Champagne or a demi-sec or sweet sparkling wine instead of the dryer original.


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