The combination of wine and chocolate is a very controversial subject. There are lots of fans and just as many opponents.
We might think that wine and chocolate have nothing in common...let’s bust this myth!
Wine & Chocolate not only for your pleasure!
Both dark chocolate (with its high cocoa content) and red wine contain polyphenols. These chemical structures have a positive impact on our health.
“The ingestion of high flavanol cocoa led to increases in skin density and skin hydration. Evaluation of the skin surface showed a significant decrease of skin roughness and scaling contribute to endogenous photoprotection, improve dermal blood circulation, and affect cosmetically relevant skin surface and hydration variables. *
Those positive effects are increased if we combine chocolate with red wine.
Scientists at the University Narthumbia found that test subjects who consumed chocolate with red wine, had fewer problems with mathematical tasks. They suspect that the combination of many polyphenols has a stimulating effect on our brain.
Well, then let’s pair wine and chocolate.
How to pair wine & chocolate?
Which wine should we take for which chocolate?
Here are some tips that you can follow to find your perfect combination:
1.The easiest way is to start with wine which is sweeter than the actual chocolate. Wines that go perfectly with chocolate are fortified wines - Sherry, Port, Madeira, Banyuls, or one of our favorites...a fortified Mavrodaphne like our Cavino!
You could also try late harvest wines or a sweet sparkling wine, such as the Italian Moscato d'Asti.
2. The chocolate and the wine should have a similar style. Pair lighter wines with mild, delicate chocolate. The more aromatic our chocolate is, the more body our wine should have. Try a Zinfandel with your dark chocolate with high cocoa content.
3. Always keep the right order when tasting wine & chocolate. Start with the smoothest chocolate & the lightest wine and finish with the darkest chocolate and the heaviest wine. If you do the other way around your palate may be overwhelmed and you might not taste the lighter chocolate. Try it out and discover your own taste!
Wine and white chocolate
Although some might not see white chocolate as "real" chocolate, it’s sweet, creamy and subtle flavor goes very well with sweet wines. When choosing the wine, try the sweeter versions of fortified wines and sweet wines like the Hungarian Tokaj or French Sauternes.
Wine and milk chocolate
Milk chocolate goes well with open, fruity wines - try Pinot Noir with its velvety tannins and light body or a less powerful Merlot. For creamy, sweet milk chocolate you can pick a nice Riesling or Muscat as well as the majority of dessert wines, such as our sweet Greek wine: Cavino Mavrodaphne Reserve.
Sparkling wines and Champagne match well with milk chocolate fondue & strawberries. The high acidity of the champagne, and the refreshing tingle emphasize the juicy flavor of the fruit, as well as the chocolate that covers them.
To be sure: a rich and intense Port is always a match!
Wine and dark chocolate
Dark chocolate with 50% or more cocoa requires intense, fruity wines with coffee or chocolate aromas. What about a fruity, slightly tannic Primitivo? It’s spicy aromas, and high percentage of alcohol go well with dark, rich chocolate. An interesting pick could be as well a nice Cabernet Sauvignon, with its intense character, juicy & fruity flavors and pronounced tannins. Just make sure to pay attention to the sweetness and pick a Cab Sauv from a warm climate!
A beautiful port wine is the right choice for truffles or dessert made of dark chocolate.
How to taste chocolate and wine?
When tasting chocolate and wine, as we mentioned, taste from lightest to heaviest. First, take a piece of chocolate in your mouth and let it melt. Take your time and don’t rush. Try to recognise the flavours. After swallowing the chocolate, taste the matching wine. Again, pay close attention to the different flavors. Can you describe them? Does the wine match well with the chocolate? Is it interesting? This process is important if you want to determine your own taste and find the perfect pair of wine and chocolate. Try it out as often as you can, and, piece by piece, you’ll discover unexpected flavours and aromas.
*Source: Heinrich U., Neukam K., Tronnier H., Sies H., Stahl.; Long-Term Ingestion of High Flavanol Cocoa Provides Photoprotection against UV-Induced Erythema and Improves Skin Condition in Women. In: Journal of Nutriton 136: 1-5, 2006.