It starts with a glass of Bordeaux wine and some dark chocolate
When I start to think about pairing wine with something, be it cheese, chocolate or any meal, several questions hit me instantaneously. Even with all the knowledge I have acquired through professional and educational endeavors in the field of wine, I often wonder, how to go about a topic, which is subjective to a great extent with nuances that are just as varied as cultures? Tips to simplify such epicurean dilemmas are therefore described below which will surely help you in your pairings!
Why am I pairing?
As there are numerous outcomes to pairings, we need to ask ourselves why are we pairing a particular chocolate with a particular wine? Are we trying to make the chocolate taste better on our palate or the wine? Or is it simply the ‘marriage made in heaven’ or so as they call it, combined explosion of flavors that we want to enjoy?
This brings us to the next question, which is…
What am I pairing?
There’s no right or wrong in this. Even if it is indeed the chocolate that we wish to taste better, keep some basic points in mind:
- The bitterness of the chocolate will go up with the bitterness of a wine.
- It’s recommended to taste bigger, denser chocolates with bigger wines. For example a dense dark chocolate paired with a big Cabernet Sauvignon. Remember one small tip, darker the chocolate darker the wine.
- Fruity wines can bring out fruity characteristics in a chocolate. For example a sweet Sherry with orange blossom flavors can help a white chocolate show fruit which otherwise can be restrained.
- Rich and oily chocolates will be interesting on the palate with an acidic wine or sparkling wine as the same principle of acid cutting through the fat applies!
Tips from Bordaux Wine Trails
On the other hand, making a wine better on the palate is easier. Tried and tested with scientific principles of gastronomy, here are some basic tips:
- A chocolate that’s sweeter than the wine will make the wine harsh showing more bitterness and astringency.
- Chocolates bars with salt or acidic raisins will make your wine seem softer. Also taking the acidity, bitterness and astringency of the wine down while making it seem sweeter and fruitier.
- Chilli chocolate bars or desserts can offset the taste of your wine by making it seem very alcoholic.
- If you enjoy subtle wines, don’t overpower it with dense complex chocolates. Keep it simple.
So what’s keeping you from doing your own matching and contrasting? You and you only can decide what works and what doesn’t when it comes to deliciousness. I suggest you take your favorite bar of chocolate and pair them with different types of wine. This is also a great way of experiencing the myriad of nuances that exists both in chocolate and wine.
French chocolate and French wine?
If you are coming down to Bordeaux, you can do numerous chocolate and wine pairings! Try local wine bars, wine shops such as La Cuv Bordeaux, wine tours such as our Saint-Emilion Wine Trails (morning), which offer exceptional wine tastings with artisanal products from Hasnaâ Chocolats Grands Crus! The chocolatier Hasnaâ Ferreira is impassioned about quality. Thus, she is going the extra mile in selecting hand picked chocolate beans of the highest quality or ‘Grand Cru’! She concocts the most imaginative delectable wonders from which we have selected few to showcase to you during your wine trails!