3 Delicious Wine and Chocolate Pairings
Wine and chocolate seem like a natural pairing. Both are aphrodisiacs. Both contain flavanols known for their antioxidant properties. But maybe you’ve discovered a bitter taste when the wine you drank clashed with your chocolate. Yuck.
But there is a way to successfully pair the two.
It’s all about choosing the right wine with the right chocolate. And when that happens... Oh, what a beautifully decadent pair!
Just a few wine and chocolate pairing tips:
- Taste from light to dark for the chocolate or the wine.
- Start with wine slightly sweeter than the chocolate (“sweet” can mean fruit-forward flavors).
- Pair lighter, more elegant chocolates with lighter-bodied wine. And stronger chocolates with full-bodied wines.
- Consider other ingredients in the chocolate (like nuts, fruit, caramel, and salt) and how those flavors will interact with the wine.
- Think of wine as another ingredient – it should highlight and allow the subtle flavors of the chocolate to emerge.
Let’s now nibble on the 3 top chocolates and their best wine pairings.
White chocolate is not considered a “true” chocolate since it lacks cacao. That’s the yummy brown ingredient with all the flavanols. But it’s still a favorite – especially when dipping strawberries.
White chocolate is more mellow than other chocolates. You’ll often discover notes of butter, cream, or honey in the chocolate.
When choosing a wine, look for a Rosé or Riesling on the sweeter end to help cleanse your tongue of the rich flavors. It also pairs nicely with other sweet wines like Sherry, Moscato d’Asti, or Orange Muscat.
Milk chocolate is made with chocolate, milk, and sugar. And has flavor notes of brown sugar, vanilla, and cream.
With its smooth characteristics and creaminess, milk chocolate pairs well with light to medium-bodied wines with ripe fruit profiles. The lighter body and silky tannins of Pinot Noir and the medium-bodied Merlot are excellent pairings. Riesling is great to pair with a “darker,” richer milk chocolate.
And if you prefer something bubbly, champagne works wonderfully with milk chocolate-covered strawberries. The bubbles and acidity highlight the fruit flavors!
The biggest differences between dark chocolate and milk chocolate are 3 ingredients. Dark chocolate requires no milk, has minimal sugar, and has a minimum of 35% cacao solid content (milk chocolate can have as low as 10%). With a higher cacao content and lower sugar, dark chocolate can be more bitter.
So these intense flavors and earthy, fruity undertones need robust aromas from a full-bodied wine.
Cabernet Sauvignon with its black fruit flavor and bold profile pairs well with drier, darker chocolates. Zinfandel is another wine that can handle the intensity of dark chocolate. And if your chocolate is 55% cacao, reach for a bottle of Merlot.
You’re now ready to create your own chocolate and wine flight!