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Wine and Chocolate 101

Beth Ribblett

With Valentine's Day only days away, it gives me a perfect excuse to talk about two of my favorite things, wine and chocolate! Wine and chocolate pairing can be difficult and certainly some wines don't go well with any type of chocolate. But when matched correctly, wine and chocolate pairing can be a fabulous experience. Of course, taste is a very subjective thing but you if you'd like to experiment this week and don't where to start, here are a few guidelines:

Tips for Successfully Pairings Wines with Chocolate:

Tip #1: The wine needs to be at least as sweet, if not a sweeter, than the chocolate you are having. Otherwise, the taste may quickly turn towards sour.

Tip #2: Match lighter, more elegant flavored chocolates with lighter-bodied wines and the stronger the chocolate, the more full-bodied the wine should be. For example, a bittersweet chocolate pairs well with an intense California Zinfandel.

Tip #3: If you are experimenting with several varieties of chocolates, work from light to dark. Start with a more subtle white chocolate and end on a dark or bittersweet chocolate.
  • White chocolate tends to be more mellow and buttery in flavor, making it an ideal candidate for a Sherry, a Moscato d'Asti, or an Orange Muscat.
  • Pinot Noir or a lighter-bodied Merlot will complement a bar of milk chocolate, a creamy chocolate mousse or chocolate accented cheesecake.
  • Rieslings, Muscats or dessert wines tend to hold up well to mild milk chocolates.
  • Dark or bittersweet chocolates need a wine that offers a roasted, slightly bitter flavor itself, with perhaps a hint of its own chocolate notes. Cabs and Zinfandels have a history of perfecting the dark chocolate match, resulting in an unparalleled tasting combination. A Cabernet Sauvignon or a Zinfandel will more than fill your chocolate pairing expectations.
We've have really great chocolates in stock for your Valentine's Day gifts and if you'd like to try them before you purchase them, come to our Wine and Chocolate tasting on Tuesday where we pair our favorite chocolate friendly wines with confections that are available in the store such as:

Charles Chocolates - Named by Food and Wine as one of the top 10 chocolates, the pictured heart shaped box contains chocolate hearts filled with a rich, creamy ganache in three flavors: raspberry, passion fruit, and mojito in a thin 65% bittersweet shell. We also carry their Tea Collection boxed chocolates, the bars and other confections.

Bittersweet Confections
- Another find for us at the Crescent City Farmer's Market in 2006, we became the first retail account for Cheryl Scripter's locally made confections and many have smartly followed! Come to the store and check out her famous truffles in a martini glass, boxed truffles, fudge, caramels, coconut clusters and other delicious confections! Check out Sheryl's video below.

So for Valentines Day go out and buy some chocolates, and a few bottles of wine, and see what works. If nothing else you'll be eating chocolate and drinking wine. Now that's a perfect pairing!

Here's a short video of Sheryl in her shop talking about her truffles and other confections: