When it comes to indulging in life's simple pleasures, few combinations can rival the delightful union of wine and chocolate. Both cherished for their complexity and diverse flavour profiles, the combination of these two delectable treats offers a symphony of taste sensations that can elevate your culinary experience to new heights.
Mpho Maroga from Robertson Winery says that the goal for any pairing is to create a combination where both the flavours of the wine and chocolate complement and enhance each other.
She gives the following tips:
Matching intensity: One fundamental aspect of successful pairing is to match the intensity of the wine with that of the chocolate. Light-bodied wines, such as a white or rose pair better with white chocolate or those with lower cocoa percentages. Conversely, full-bodied wines, such as a robust red like The Blend by Robertson Winery, can stand up to the boldness of dark chocolates with a higher cocoa content.
Balancing sweetness: The sweetness of the chocolate should be balanced with the sweetness of the wine. A general guideline is to pair sweeter chocolates, such as milk or white chocolate, with wines that have a touch of residual sugar, such as a Sauvignon Blanc. Dark chocolates with higher bitterness levels harmonise well with wines that are rich and have a touch of sweetness.
Complementing flavours: Flavour profiles play a crucial role in successful pairings. When choosing wines and chocolates, consider complementary flavours that enhance each other. For example, a silky, fruit-forward Pinot Noir pairs beautifully with the red berry and cherry notes found in a raspberry-infused dark chocolate. A rich and oaky Cabernet Sauvignon, on the other hand, may pair wonderfully with a dark chocolate infused with hints of coffee or dried fruits.
Maroga suggest a few pairings:
White Chocolate: When it comes to wine and chocolate pairing, white chocolate emerges as a true chameleon, effortlessly adapting to a variety of wine companions. A Sauvignon Blanc, with its vibrant fruit notes, adds a refreshing twist to the pairing, accentuating the nuances of white chocolate.
Milk Chocolate: Milk chocolate's smooth and velvety texture calls for a wine with a balanced fruitiness. Consider pairing it with a Merlot as it complements the creamy sweetness of milk chocolate, while its fruity characteristics add an extra layer of depth to the pairing.
Dark Chocolate: The complex and often intense flavours of dark chocolate provide an excellent canvas for a wide range of wine pairings. A full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon can complement the robustness and bittersweet notes of dark chocolate. For those who enjoy fortified wines, a vintage port or a rich sherry can create an unforgettable experience, with the wine's depth and sweetness harmonising with the chocolate's complexity.
Nutty Chocolates: Chocolates with nutty fillings, such as hazelnut or almond, can find a worthy companion in wines like an oaked Chardonnay.
“Exploring the vast possibilities of wine and chocolate pairing takes us on a journey of sensory discovery. Whether you prefer a delicate white chocolate, the creamy richness of milk chocolate, or the bold allure of dark chocolate, there is a wine waiting to enhance your experience,” says Maroga.
Indulge in the cocoa-infused joy as the world unites to celebrate the divine decadence of World Chocolate Day on the 7th July 2023.