The good news: there really aren’t rules when it comes to pairing chocolate and wine. Everyone’s taste preferences are different. In other words, YOU GET TO TRY EVERYTHING. The bad news: we’re talking about chocolate and wine! No bad news here. (Just make sure you drink responsibly.)
Since part of the fun is trying different combinations and seeing what you like best, a chocolate and wine pairing can be a fun activity to plan with your sweetie or a group of friends – especially around Valentine’s Day! And, you can make it as informal or formal as you want. For example, you could get a selection of chocolates and wines and casually try various ones, or you can make a tasting scorecard and record your pairing flavor notes as you go.
Here are some general tips when pairing chocolate and wine:
- Pair lighter chocolates with lighter bodied or even sweet wines.
- Pair more intense chocolates with more full-bodied wines.
- Look for similar flavor notes (nutty, fruity, earthy) or look for contrasts that complement well.
Begin by breaking the chocolate into squares and putting them into a ceramic or glass bowl. Placing your hands on the bottom of the bowl, bring your nose to the rim of the bowl and inhale deeply to experience the aroma. If you’re using a tasting scorecard, write down your thoughts.
Pour the wine into glass or plastic cups. Much like smelling the chocolate samples, bring your nose to the rim of the cup to smell the aroma and write down your thoughts.
Begin by taking one square of chocolate and put it into your mouth. Chew the chocolate slowly, allowing it to coat your tongue until it has partially melted. Think about the flavors and textures you are experiencing. Then, take a sip of your wine and note how the flavors interact. Write down your thoughts or share them with the other participants in the tasting. Take your time and taste the combination again. Did anything change? Are there new flavors emerging?
I got our Chocolate Tasting Panel (yeah, that’s a thing) together to do some “research.”
We purchased a variety of wines, all in the $12-$19 per bottle range:
- Sparkling Rosé
- Pinot Grigio
- Cabernet Sauvignon
And gathered eight Equal Exchange chocolates, ranging in flavors and intensities:
- Organic Extreme Dark Chocolate (88%)
- Organic Milk Chocolate (43%)
- Organic Dark Chocolate Mint (67%)
- Organic Dark Chocolate Almonds (55%)
- Organic Dark Chocolate Orange (65%)
- Organic Dark Chocolate Caramel Crunch with Sea Salt (55%)
- Organic Very Dark Chocolate (71%)
- Organic Dark Chocolate Lemon Ginger with Black Pepper (55%)
We had a lot of favorites…
- Malbec with Organic Dark Chocolate Orange (65%)
- Sparkling Rosé with Organic Milk Chocolate (43%)
- Merlot with Organic Dark Chocolate Mint (67%)
- Malbec with Organic Milk Chocolate (43%)
- Bordeaux with Organic Very Dark Chocolate (71%)
- Pinot Grigio with Organic Dark Chocolate Lemon Ginger with Black Pepper (55%)
- Cabernet Sauvignon with Organic Dark Chocolate Almonds (55%)
- Bordeaux with Extreme Organic Dark Chocolate (88%)
- Merlot with Dark Organic Chocolate Caramel Crunch with Sea Salt (55%)
- Sparkling Rosé with Organic Dark Chocolate Orange (65%)
Have fun and let us know your favorite pairings in the comments!