Chocolate and Wine – man’s greatest invention, and two of the happiest words ever to be used in the English language. But can the two really dance together happily on the palate?
Many sceptics will declare it simply can’t be done, but choosing the right style of wine to compliment the right type of chocolate can be a match made in decadent heaven!
When selecting a wine, a good tip is to consider what fruit flavours the wine offers that would work well against the type of chocolate. So here are a few pairing tips to keep in mind.
A true dark chocolate by definition has a minimum of 35% cocoa solids. Dark chocolates with their lively bold tones typically don’t like to share ‘palate space’ with other bitter, non-sweet flavours – avoid big, tannic Malbecs or Cabernet Sauvignons, instead aim for fuller body wines with distinct, sapid and intense fruity flavours which balance well with drier style dark chocolate desserts.
Bayfield’s Match –Pinot Noir, Merlot, Syrah, Sherry, Tawny or Vintage Port
Because white chocolate doesn’t contain cocoa, it technically is not really a chocolate, (but we won’t let on). The good news is that this means white chocolate is far more versatile with wine. White chocolate is also softer and delicate enough to compliment a range of white wines and our top pick is definitely a crisp and aromatic Pinot Grigio.
Bayfield’s Match – Pinot Grigio, Riesling, Vintage Port or Orange Muscat
Seriously who doesn’t like milk chocolate? And a good milk chocolate is usually about half chocolate and half milk. The creamier flavours of milk chocolate make it easier to pair with cherries and spice flavours you’d find in a Pinot Noir for example.
A top tip to get most flavour from your chocolate is to break it up into little bite sized pieces – the crisper the chocolate, the better tempered it is. Place chocolate on your tongue and allow it to dissolve rather than chew through it.
Bayfield’s Match – Pinot Noir, Merlot, Creamy Sherry or Aged Vintage Port
Nothing amps up the flavour of chocolate than Caramel – it offers a buttery, sweet saltiness that compliment flavours of peach in a Botrytis Semillon for example.
Bayfield’s Match –Light Botrytis, Tawny Port or Demi-Sec Champagne
If in doubt keep it simple – stick sweet with sweet; a wine slightly sweeter than the chocolate will go down well, and if sweet is not your thing simply match intensities. A lighter chocolate marries well with lighter bodied wines, and stronger chocolates with more robust fuller flavoured tipples!