Wine and Chocolate Pairing Guide – 4 Steps to FUN!

Did you know that National Chocolate Fondue Day is right around the corner? February 5th marks this special day in chocolate lovers’ hearts. To celebrate, we’re going to explore the world of Chocolate and Wine Pairing! But before we get to that, take a look at these tasty chocolate fondue recipes to celebrate all month-long! chocolate-fondue

What to dip? Here are a few ideas: marshmallows, pound cake, banana slices, pretzels, strawberries, pineapple, waffle bites, various cookies, graham crackers, chips, cinnamon roll bites, doughnut holes, pretty much anything you’d like to chocolate-ify!

Ok, now that you’ve read (and bookmarked!) some delicious chocolate fondue recipes to try all month-long, let’s have a good laugh with some of the funniest chocolate quotes we have found out there on the web. Just because. 🙂

“Why can’t I be comforted by carrots? Why does it have to be chocolate or wine?” – someecards.com

“Nobody knows the truffles I’ve seen…..” – George Lang

“The 12 step chocoholics program: Never be more than 12 steps away from chocolate.” – Terry Moore

“Chocolate comes from cocoa, which comes from trees – that makes it a plant. Therefore, chocolate counts as salad.” – Daniel Rafferty

“The parenting skill I’m most proud of is being able to shove a whole chocolate bar in my mouth then talk normal when my kid walks in.” SnarkECards

Now let’s get down to business – it’s time to learn about chocolate and wine pairing! We know wine is delicious on its own, but sometimes it’s fun to treat your taste buds to new and interesting combinations! Wine and chocolate go together like a horse and carriage – they’re a match made in heaven, but that’s not to say you can pair any chocolate with any wine and expect to hear choirs of angels. Let’s go through four basic rules for chocolate and wine pairing.

The 4 Cardinal Rules of Chocolate and Wine Pairing:

Rule #1 – Choose gourmet chocolate. Yes, you may have a great experience pairing leftover Christmas candies with wine, but it likely won’t be one for the record books. Whatever chocolate you enjoy, be it dark, milk, or white chocolate, it’s best to pick gourmet.

Rule #2 – Pick wine based on the sweetness of your chocolate. The distance of sweetness between the wine and the chocolate should be short. It’s safest to pick wine that is at least as sweet as the chocolate you’ve picked, even a touch sweeter. The further apart wine and chocolate are on the sweetness scale, the more bitterness creeps in.

Rule #3 – Match the richness. Light chocolate pairs better with lighter-bodied wines. The stronger the chocolate’s flavor, the more full-bodied wine you’ll want to pair it with, i.e. dark chocolate can stand up to a bold Cabernet Sauvignon better than white, or milk chocolate can. Also keep in mind that, in general, red wines tend to pair better with chocolate than white wines do.

A quick note before we go on to cardinal rule number four. Did you know that magic happens when you eat dark chocolate and drink red wine? It’s true. Research shows that chemical substances called polyphenols have a dilating effect on blood vessels, improving blood supply to the brain in terms of increased oxygen and sugar delivery. The result of this process allows us to solve complex problems with ease. Amazing!

Wine and Chocolate Pairing WineStylesRule #4 – Always taste the wine first! If you taste the chocolate before tasting the wine, your taste buds will be covered with cocoa butter, which will prevent you from getting a good reading of how the wine tastes on its own. Only take a bite of chocolate once you’ve assessed the wine. If you’re pairing multiple wines with multiple types of chocolates, be sure to cleanse your palate in between pairings. It’s also best, as with any tasting, to go from light to dark. Start with the lightest-bodied pairing, and work your way to the fullest-bodied.

Remember, everyone’s palate is different. What pairs well for one person may taste awful to another, and that’s what makes it fun! Remember, the goal is always to Taste, Learn, and Enjoy 🙂 To get you started, take a look at this simple wine and chocolate pairing guide.

Suggested Wine and Chocolate Pairings:Wine and Chocolate Pairing WineStyles

White Chocolate – A great match for Moscato d’Asti, a sweet Riesling, or a fruity Chardonnay. If you’re feeling dare-devil-ish, try pairing it with a red wine that has heavy tannins. Since this type of chocolate is made primarily from cacao butter, the strong tannins may cut through the chocolate’s fattiness and create a pleasant pairing.

Milk Chocolate – Pair your favorite gourmet milk chocolates with a smooth Merlot, Pinot Noir, Riesling, or dessert wine. Take care not to pair milk chocolate with dry red wines. The sugar in the chocolate can cancel out the fruit flavors in the wine leaving a bitter taste.

Dark Chocolate – For chocolate in the range of 50 to 70% cacao, pair with a bold Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, or Chianti. Once you hit the 70 to 100% cacao range, you’ll want to go all out in terms of full-bodied wines. Pair this range with Bordeaux, Malbec, Zinfandel, or Shiraz.

All – Pair champagne, sparkling or fortified wines with any type of chocolate to find a combo that tickles your taste buds!

Stay tuned for an upcoming post for you craft beer lovers out there – Chocolate and Beer pairing!

W&B_BootCamp_logoFebruary Wine and Beer Boot Camp, Dessert-Making Demo and Wine Pairings:

Want to skip the mess and treat your sweetheart to a night out this Valentine’s Day? Still looking for that perfect date idea? We can help! Check out WineStyles’ February Wine and Beer Boot Camp class, Dessert and Wine Pairings! Let your local WineStyles* team do the talking while you sit back and have fun tasting and learning side by side! Call your local WineStyles to reserve your seat! (Click here for WineStyles store locator).

*RSVP at your local participating store. Wine and Beer Boot Camp offers may vary at different WineStyles locations, dependent on local and state alcohol laws. Offer void where prohibited.

Thanks for reading,

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One thought on “Wine and Chocolate Pairing Guide – 4 Steps to FUN!

  1. Pingback: Beer and Chocolate Pairing Guide | WineStyles

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