Chocolate is divine. Wine is eloquent. Yet, many of us are doubtful about them as a match. Marriage of wine and chocolate seems an unusual idea. None of us want to spoil our taste palate, and the compatibility depends on pairing. The coupling is a challenging task as both have sweet and intense flavors.
However, if done right, it leads to a happy marriage. The compatibility sings through sensation in the taste buds and mood. Odd pairing could lead to disastrous experience and the ultimate breakup of this pair. Individual preferences may differ from person to person in terms of intensity of flavors of chocolate and sweetness of the wine.
It is always good to select a wine that is stronger than chocolate in terms of sweetness. Generally, white wine works fine with chocolates that are subtle or light in taste. The chocolate doesn't overpower the wine. Red wine and dark chocolate are also good combos. Let's have a look at some of the wine and chocolate combos that are sure to delight us.
1. WHITE CHOCOLATE AND ICE WINE
If you’re looking for a corporate gift to make your impression, don’t be hesitant to choose white chocolate and Ice wine. It’s a combination that is sheer joy. White chocolate was first introduced by Nestle in the 1930s. It is prepared from cocoa butter, sugar, milk solids, and lecithin. It has a pale ivory appearance and lacks cocoa solids. Technically it’s not chocolate and doesn’t taste like one. It has a buttery, creamy texture and subtle taste. The mildness of it supplements ice wine, Orange Muscat.
Ice wine is produced in countries with cold climates like Germany and Canada. It is made from frozen grapes when they are still on the vine. Unlike water, sugar in the grapes does not freeze or rot. The concentrate is processed to produce ice wine after months of fermentation. Ice wine has a characteristic refreshing sweetness balanced by high acidity. The sugariness level is remarkable and intensely flavored, which makes it a delectable dessert wine. German Riesling Eiswein, Vidal Blanc, Gewurztraminer, Cabernet Franc, Sylvaner are the most famous ice wine available in different flavors like cherry, strawberry, cranberry, pomegranate, apricot, etc.
White chocolate’s subtle taste is coherent with ice wine intensity. The mellow taste is not overpowering and well -adjusted by the acidity of the wine. The wine gives a fruity, sugary feel to the buttery chocolate, which tingles our taste buds.
2. MILK CHOCOLATE AND MADEIRA
Swiss giant, Nestle in 1875, developed milk chocolate. It is made from chocolate liquor, sugar, milk, cocoa butter and lecithin as an emulsifier. It has an aroma of milk and cream. The milk masks the intense tang of chocolate liquor. It is velvety and melts in the mouth. Madeira compliments the white chocolate. Madeira is fortified wine available in dry and sweet types. It has a unique taste due to repeated heating of the wine. Varieties like Ser-seal, Boal, Malmsey pair well chilled with chocolates. With light milk chocolates, it gives spicy, herbaceous notes. It has a stony mineral character on the palate. The slight sweetness of the chocolate is offset by the acidity of the wine. The complex, aromatic lift of wine is excellent with chocolate as dessert added with nuts and figs, salted caramel.
3. DARK CHOCOLATE AND PORT
This classic needs no introduction. The sweet, red fortified wine from Portugal is used in the dessert for its richness. Tawny Port is another variety that is sweeter and nuttier. The flavor profile includes raspberry, blackberry, cinnamon, Choco sauce, etc. A sip of Port wine with Dark chocolate is sensational. The pairing works amazingly.
Dark chocolate has a bitter, roasted aroma and astringent mouthfeel. It brings out the fruitiness of the wine. Avoid dry Port as it brings strong flavor and acidity in comparison with the chocolate. Choosing dark chocolate gives a lot of options with different Port wine. Older Port vintages contain Rancio flavors that don’t work well with sweet chocolates. This classic is always a safe choice to sip on the holidays.
4. SALTED CHOCOLATE AND ZINFANDEL
Salted chocolate is a mouthwatering creation. Salt pops the sweetness of the chocolate and brings natural flavor by restricting the intensity of sweetness. Sometimes, the crunchiness and coarse texture are the secrets of tasty chocolates available out there. This complexity might seem difficult to pair up with wine. However, we find one bold combination that appears to fit i.e., Zinfandel, an exotic wine originally from Croatia/Italy (called Primitivo). This bright red wine has a smoky flavor with little spicy notes. The salt in the chocolate works well with a smoky taste. It is a mouthful, and the two flavors oddly pair well.
5. MINT CHOCOLATE WITH MOSCATO D’ ASTI
As the name suggests, mint chocolates are flavored using peppermint or spearmint. Mint adds freshness to the chocolate and counteracts the sweetness. Mint combined with dark chocolate cuts the bitterness matching the taste. Minty chocolate is the right combination with Moscato d'Asti. This white wine is sweet, having aromas of peaches, fresh grapes, orange blossoms, and crisp Meyer lemons. It is lightly carbonated, which tingles on the tongue. This dessert wine, when served chilled with mint chocolate, bursts into flavors. It is sensational due to the freshness of mint and carbonated fruity taste. The above combination suggests that chocolate and wine could be allies on the palate if there is a proper balance of texture and flavors. A dry wine with chocolate isn't an admirable combination as it brings out imbalance resulting in heightened sourness and bitterness. Chocolate and wine, both contain antioxidants. The combination could be very sweet if both contain a high amount of saccharine and spoil the mood on celebrating occasions. Also, these may end up clashing against each other if the flavors don’t complement each other. While the classics are always a safe option to go for, one can always experiment with new combinations. There are great wines available around the world and different chocolates to hook on. Valentine’s day is an ideal day to surprise your loved one with fabulous wine and chocolate combinations. Compliment your chocolaty partner being the wine.