While not always the most obvious partnership, wine and chocolate can be a pairing that packs a real punch. The traditional view is that, to get the most from that combination, the wine should be sweeter than the chocolate. If this isn’t the case, the wine will have a bitter taste as it follows the cocoa hit. For this reason, the wine should be fruity with some natural sweetness.
That applies whether it’s a bar of your favourite chocolate, a gooey dessert or a slab of cake. When it comes to matching the two, the best pairing for different grape varieties will depend on the amount of cocoa in the chocolate. As with the wine, the choice of chocolate is an individual thing, and there are many different ways of weighing up one against the other – for example, you can expect good quality chocolate to taste better than the own-label bars at your local supermarket. And then there is the amount of cocoa, the fruit or nuts in the bar, and the mood you’re in.
So, choosing your sweet fix can be just as complex a decision as selecting the wine you plan to drink with it. But, keeping it simple, here are our thoughts on marrying the two.
Not strictly speaking chocolate given the absence of cocoa, but for some sweet-toothed fans, it’s a perfect fix for a night in. In our view, a great accompaniment is Muscat, or we can also recommend a Gamay/Pinot Noir blend if your preference is for red.
- Rivesaltes Ambré Hors d'Age 50cl, Domaine Lafage, Roussillon, France NV
- Gamay Pinot Noir de Touraine, Domaine de la Rochette, Loire, France 2016
A low to medium cocoa level goes best with something such as a well-balanced German Riesling if white is your thing, or a fresh and fruity Tempranillo if it’s red you’re after.
- Riesling Trocken, Schäfer-Frölich, Nahe, Germany 2018
- Tempranillo, Finca Fabian, La Mancha, Spain 2018
An aromatic Gewürztraminer for the white wine drinkers or something a little more intense, such as a Malbec, for those who tend to choose red.
- Gewurztraminer, Little Beauty, Marlborough, New Zealand 2011
- Malbec, Recoleta, Mendoza, Argentina 2017
There is just as much debate about eating chocolate and the best way to maximise your enjoyment, as there is about wine. The common view is that you’ll get the best balance if you take a sip of the wine, then nibble the chocolate and let it melt in your mouth. Then take another sip of the wine. If you get it right, the combination will be delicious.