Wine and Chocolate Pairings
Chocolate and wine are natural companions. Both are made from fruit where terroir plays an important role. Just as grapes grown in one area of the world possess a unique quality that is specific to that region, cacao beans are also characterized by the land where they are grown. The long and delicate process – harvesting, fermentation, roasting, pressing, maturation – create complex flavors, nuances, and notes with similar components, making chocolate and wine an ideal partnership.
We’ve shared the following insights to guide you and get your tasting journey off to the right start. As with wine flights, start with mild flavors and work your way toward bolder flavors.
- Milk chocolate, with its highly caramelized sugar notes, works with a sweeter white wine, a demi-sec Champagne, or even a light red.
- Dark Chocolate, usually 50-70% cocoa, has strong complex flavors and pairs well with robust red wine like a Shiraz or a Cabernet, which highlight the fruity and peppery notes in the chocolate.
- Spicy chocolate complements fruity, fortified red wines like a Port or a full-bodied Zinfandel, which balance out the raciness of the chocolate.
As you bite into the chocolate, let it slowly melt on your tongue. Now swirl the wine and sniff the aroma, taking note of the scents. Take a sip and let it combine with the chocolate. How does it change the flavor of the chocolate?
There is no one correct way to pair chocolate and wine. Explore and try new combinations. The beauty of pairings is the discoveries you’ll make along the way.
Dark chocolate pairs well with full-bodied red wines: such as a Cabernet Sauvignon, which highlight the fruity and peppery notes in the chocolate, or a Zinfandel, which brings out the chocolate's spicy subtleties.
On the coldest of winter nights, add a little spice to the chocolate selection by including chili-infused chocolates, such as Organic Spicy Aztec Squares or Aztec Truffle. A fruity, fortified red wine, such as a Ruby Port, will balance the heat with a little sweet.
Sea Salt Caramel
The buttery caramel with a touch of natural sea salt pairs well with wines such as a Hungarian Tokaji or a dry Oloroso Sherry. These wines both have a fruity and nutty bouquet, which complement the caramel well.
Chocolate Panned (Covered) Nuts
The saltiness of the nuts marry well with a medium dry sherry, which is slightly sweet, and accents the sweetness from the chocolate.