With Valentine’s Day around the corner, there are many celebration clichés that come to mind. If you have a special someone to celebrate this affectionate holiday with, then the Valentine’s Day cliché of flowers, chocolates, and wines will be there to accompany whatever other extravagant plans that you have prepared. If you currently don’t have a special someone, there is something better you can do to celebrate, something that you probably wouldn’t think you could love more. Whether or not you have someone to celebrate with, these cliché elements of the holiday are suddenly going to sound so much better.
I don’t think I need to introduce wine or chocolate as something that is amazing, because we all know that already. But, let me introduce you to something even better; wine AND chocolate together, as one. Pairing wines and chocolates together is nothing new, they are often times paired together and sold together. They even have chocolate flavored wines out there. We see the chocolate, and then we see the wine, and we just go for it. However, they do not always go well together. According to Sara Schneider, Sunset wine editor, some wines like Cabernet Sauvignon, will taste harsh when eating it with chocolate, especially sweet ones. There are ways to make both these delicious inventions taste even better than they do. Knowing exactly how to pair the two will make all the difference in how they taste, thus introducing you to flavors you did not know existed. In fact, in recent years, it has become more of an art and hobby for many people than the actual pleasure of the tastes. Let me introduce you to some chocolate and wine pairing rules so you can make the most of your Valentine’s Day this year. (Or any other day of the year, really).
Here are a few general rules about wine and chocolate pairings.
- Always make sure that your wine is sweeter than your chocolate. If your chocolate is sweeter than your wine, they will clash, and the wine will lose its flavor or even make it taste bitter.
- Because chocolate coats your mouth when you eat it, choosing a wine that is more acidic is crucial for cutting through the chocolate. In order to determine how acidic a wine is, you can look at the alcohol content. The lower the alcohol content, the higher the acidity.
- Light flavored chocolate goes with light flavored wines, and darker chocolates are best paired with a dark red wine.
- Smoothness of the wines should also match the smoothness of the chocolate; although this might be hard to determine unless you’ve tried them both individually beforehand.
Now let’s begin with the light chocolates. White chocolate, although not technically a chocolate and a fact that I refuse to believe, is actually used quite a lot for chocolate and wine pairings. White chocolate pairs the best with dessert wines like Sherries, Moscatos, or a Sweet Champagne because white chocolate tends to be on the sweeter side. Since white chocolate has no cocoa, the acidic levels in a sparkling wine or champagne do not clash like they would with a milk or dark chocolate. If you like chocolate covered strawberries, you can create the flavor by pairing the chocolate with a more fruity and acidic white wine. The flavors will blend together and create a berries and cream taste.
Milk chocolates can be paired with Pinot Noirs and lighter bodied Merlots. These wines tend to share the same intensity levels as milk chocolates. If your chocolate has a filling, try to find a flavor of wine that has the same flavor notes as the fillings. Muscats are another popular choice for pairing with milk chocolate, because they have tarty flavors like peach and apricot, which complement the flavors that milk chocolates have.
Dark chocolate are very intense in flavors. Because of this, it needs to be paired with a stronger red wine that has concentrated fruit notes. It can also be paired with wines that have a hint of chocolate flavors. Cabernets and Zinfandels are strong candidates for dark chocolate. Cabernets bring out the fruity flavors that exist in dark chocolates, and Zinfandels tend to highlight the bitter kick we get from dark chocolates. Both milk and dark chocolates go well with wines that have citrus in them as well.
If you would like to learn more, here are some wine and chocolate classes and events that can teach you more!
We offer a large wine selection here at Garvey Wholesale. Stop by to pick out some of the wines listed here to start your chocolate and wine pairings! Let us help you play cupid this Valentine’s Day and create the perfect chocolate and wine couple!