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Chocolate & Wine: A Valentine’s Day Match Made in Heaven

Valentine’s Day is really just another excuse to indulge in two of my favourite things- chocolate and wine! I don’t need a holiday to do this, but if society is going to celebrate this pairing- why not embrace it. Whether you have that special someone to share with or not (more for you, to be honest I rarely share) here is a quick guide on how to pair wine and chocolate.

Sweetness Matters

Have a sweet tooth? And love milk chocolate that is creamy and very sweet? Don’t get me wrong; it is a great treat to indulge in. But when it comes to pairing this delicious confectionary with a bottle of wine- it can be hard. Important things to consider are the extra cream added to the chocolate, as well as the amount of sugar- sorry to tell you- a lot. But given the holiday is meant for us to throw caution to the wind and indulge, why not go all the way? I actually really like sparkling wine with creamy milk chocolate. Now this might not be everyone's preference, but I think sparkling wine goes with just about everything, and, it is a really cute gift idea (ahem, hint, hint, gentlemen).

Here’s Why: The cream/butter notes of the sparkling wine match the creaminess of the chocolate. Also, I pick a sparkling with some residual sugar so it meets the sweetness of the chocolate. The acidity of the sparkling wine will cut through some of that thick texture in your mouth after letting a piece of chocolate melt on your tongue- think palate cleanser.

If Milk Chocolate is your favourite, try:

Yellowglen Pink SparklingRosé

Oyster Bay Sparkling Cuvée Rosé Veuve Ambal Grande Cuvée Brut Rosé Crémant de Bourgogne

Dark Chocolate

The darker the chocolate, the more cocoa is in it, and the less sugar in the treat. This can create a bitter after taste that some people love and others despise. I love it, and find this is the best option for a dark, deep, tannic, dry red wine.

Here’s Why: The tannins in the wine can hold up to the bitterness of the chocolate. Because the dark chocolate isn’t that sweet, pick a red wine without any or very little residual sugar with a black fruit flavour profile and some dried herbal notes. It is a great pairing that seems very grown up (we are watching our sugar intake) but at the same time indulging in something delicious.

If Dark Chocolate is your favourite, try:

Vina Robles Estate Petite Sirah 2013

St. Francis Old Vines Zinfandel 2014

Wynns Coonawarra Estate Black Label Cabernet Sauvignon

Chocolate and Caramel

Such a wonderful pairing of sweet and lusciousness, caramel not only adds sugar to your treat, but also a complexity to the confectionary that has some people scratching their heads on what to pair. But I will always recommend a Port or Sherry with this sweet treat for multiple reasons. Remember, these wines are fortified- so they are packing some serious alcohol. A little will go a long way with this pairing!

Here’s Why: Caramel is actually a very common tasting note in many Ports and Sherry wines. This comes from the use of oak barrels that may have been scorched before use. These wines are also made to have a significant amount of residual sugar left in them after being made, and so can stand up to the sweetness of the caramel.

If Chocolate and Caramel is your favourite, try:

El Maestro Sierra 12-Year-Old Amontillado

Bodegas Baron Micaela Amontillado

Graham's 20 Year Old Tawny Port

Remember, wine pairing is a personal thing- just like how you like your coffee or tea. Some like it sweet, others like it black and strong. If you find a pairing you like- stick with it! Happy Valentine’s Day to all you fools in love!

If you want to learn more about pairing wine and chocolate, why not host a wine event? Pick some friends and let's get together and eat some chocolate and drink some wine! Contact me, Danielle@newagenonnawineandfood.com and follow me on Instagram @NewAgeNonna.

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New Age Nonna

905-902-0806

Burlington, ON, Canada

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