Pairing Wine and Chocolate
February is the month of love, but you don’t have to limit yourself to one month to enjoy the romantic treat of well-paired wine and chocolate. Pairing wine and chocolate might seem like a daunting taste, if you can’t imagine mixing dry tannin flavors with sweet candy. Putting together pleasant combinations of wine and chocolate isn’t as tough as you might think. You only need to take the time to try out your combinations thoughtfully.
Choosing Your Elements: Chocolate
The first key to these pairings is to pay attention to the characteristics of your chocolate. If there is a mismatch, the wine will usually take the worst of it, coming off as far too bitter. Understand your choices for chocolate in order to know what wine to look for when pairing.
- Milk Chocolate – Sweeter than most other chocolates, with less liquor or cocoa. The milk in the chocolate gives it a lighter cocoa color and creamier texture.
- White Chocolate – The sweetest chocolate, and without cocoa, is not considered by many as chocolate but, rather, a confection. It does contain milk and cocoa butter fat.
- Commercial, mass-produced chocolates – Typically cheaper than dipped or specialty chocolates, and less smooth in flavor and texture. These chocolates include Kisses and candy bars and are usually pretty sweet, especially the milk chocolate versions.
- Filled with fruit, nuts, etc. – Pay attention to whatever special ingredients make the chocolate unique. Is it salted, or filled with caramel, nuts or fruit?
- Dark Chocolate – Pure chocolate is naturally quite bitter. Higher cocoa levels in chocolate make it less sweet. The darkest chocolate, with 95 percent cocoa, for instance, might not seem sweet enough to eat, though some will prefer it. Darker chocolate tends to have less or no milk content, so it’s less creamy, even quite solid.
Choosing Your Elements: Wine
The second key to these pairings is to match your chocolate with a wine that is as sweet or sweeter than the chocolate. This is how you avoid the contrast of sweet chocolate and acidic wine.
- Sweet wines – Start out with your favorite sweet wines and judge them against the chocolate to be paired. Timber Hill Winery has a wonderful Social Sweet Wine Series of 6 local red, blush and white wines, with tones of seasonal fruits, citrus and even brandy. Pick the sweetest dessert wines to pair with white chocolates and some milk chocolates.
- Semi-sweet wines – Matching for the less sweet chocolates is easy, when you select from our delicious Specialty Wines list. Our semi-sweet, flavored wines are just sweet enough to pair with dark chocolates and with chocolates that have salt or less-sweet fillings.
Why not make a lovely night of it with your special someone by scheduling an affordable but luxurious night out, combining our wine tasting with your favorite chocolates? Call us at Timber Hill Winery to let us know how we can customize your special evening.