Chocolate and wine : a match made in heaven

Chocolate bar in the vineyard

Glass of red wine and chocolate chunks in vineyard

And in Bordeaux also!

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. This will surely help you in your wine and chocolate pairings! This article was written after tasting a localy made chocolat bar and wine samples from Bordeaux differnet vinyard such as Médoc and Saint Emilion.



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’ 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. If it is indeed the chocolate that we wish to taste better we need to 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 an orange blossomed sweet Sherry can help a white chocolate show fruit which otherwise is 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!

On the other hand, making a wine better on the palate is easier. Here are some basic tips:

  • A chocolate that’s sweeter than the wine will make the wine harsh showing more bitterness and astringency.
  • Chocolate bars with salt or acidic raisins will make your wine seem softer, taking the acidity, bitterness and astringency of the wine down while making it seem sweeter and fruitier.
  • Chili in chocolate bars 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.

And what’s keeping you from doing your own matching and contrasting? Because when it comes to deliciousness, only you can decide what works. I suggest you take your favorite bar of chocolate and pair them with different types of wine. This is also a great way of learning and experiencing the myriad of nuances that exists both in chocolate and wine for instance.

French chocolate and French wine?

So 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! She concocts imaginative delectable wonders from which we have selected few to showcase to you during your wine trails! Bonne dégustation!

Wine barrels, glass and chocolate