This time of year we hear a lot about wine and chocolate for Valentine’s Day, but do the two actually pair up well? The answer is a definite maybe. With some thought (the hard part) and some research (the fun part) wine and chocolate can be matched up very well. Keep in mind that the suggestions that follow are general ideas and that only trying them together will allow you match up the more subtle notes that make for a perfect pairing.
Some pairings are more obvious than others, such as port and dark chocolate. I like a chocolate with a high cocoa content and low sugar with either a ruby or a tawny port, but given a choice would prefer a nice tawny. Madeira can also be a good choice. It is typically sweet enough to match up with almost any chocolate, even varieties that include fruit flavors.
A pairing that I once had that really surprised me was milk chocolate and a California chardonnay. While there are certainly stunning examples to be had of both, I am usually not a big fan of either. In this case
Here are some things to consider as you begin looking for good matches. A good rule of thumb when pairing wine with any dessert is to make sure that the wine is sweeter than the food. This isn’t written in stone when pairing with chocolate, but can make it easier. Choosing less sweet chocolates works for that reason, as well as the fact that sweeter chocolate often contains milk solids which can coat the tongue and interfere with the ability to taste the nuances in the wine.
Another good way to find good matches is with chocolate covered fruits. Many times it is possible to very successfully match the fruit notes in the wine with what is covered by the chocolate.
So, while wine and chocolate may not be the match made in heaven that many writers claim it to be this time of year, with some attention to detail and diligent research, it can be done. If you keep in mind that the wine and the romance need to come first, your pairing should take care of itself.