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Video:How to Pair Wine and Chocolate

with Jonathon Stewart

Craving wine and chocolate? Why not have both? Learn how to pair these complex, decadent treats.See Transcript

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Transcript:How to Pair Wine and Chocolate

Hi, I'm Jonathon Stewart for About.com Food, and today, it's all about pairing wine and chocolate.

Can it really be done? Well, probably not if it's a candy bar and a box of white zin. But if you know your wine, and you know your chocolate, then you, too, can make this combination a match made in heaven.

Learn the Basics of Pairing Wine and Chocolate

Both wine and chocolate can be very complex on their own, so keep it simple with three basics:
  • the wine you select must be perceived as sweeter than the chocolate
  • since chocolate coats your mouth when you eat it, you'll need a wine that's big enough to cut through its richness
  • try looking for flavors in both that are similar to one another

Use Your Taste Buds

The most important factor in all this, as in all pairings of food and wine, is that only you can decide what tastes best.

Use the following guidelines to help you get started, and then let your taste buds lead the way.

What to Pair With White Chocolate

White chocolate, though not a true chocolate due to its absence of cacao, is a super-sweet blend of sugar, milk and cocoa butter.

Try a sec or demi-sec Champagne, or the hint of orange in a muscato. Other good pairings for white chocolate include Rieslings and Gewürztraminers.

What to Pair With Milk Chocolate

Milk chocolate, which contains a small amount of cacao, is the sweetest of the real chocolates with its high sugar content.

Remember rule one and choose a sweeter wine than chocolate, or the pairing might leave your mouth tasting like a rubber band.

For milk chocolate, your best match might just be a sweet and tasty tawny port. But if you find the right bottle of pinot noir, you won't be disappointed.

What to Pair With Semisweet Chocolate

Chocolate that contains about 50 to 70 per cent cacao is known as semisweet, the sweetest of the dark chocolates.

With tones that are nutty, spicy, or earthy, semisweet dark chocolate has a balanced and less sweet aftertaste than milk or white chocolate.

Cabernets or Bordeauxs will tend to bring out any fruity or peppery nuances in the chocolate, while a ruby port is considered a classic pairing with semisweet chocolate.

What to Pair With Bittersweet Dark Chocolate

The richest, most intensely flavored chocolates are known as the bittersweet darks, which contain the least amount of sugar, and the greatest amount of cacao - anywhere from about 71 and 100 percent.

Their bitter, roasted flavoring is so intense, that it really needs a strong red wine to balance the taste. Either that or a really yummy cookie.

Zinfandels are the go-to when it comes to pairing wine and bittersweet dark, but you might also find an Australian shiraz or a Spanish grenache to be a suitable companion.

Since these chocolates are the least sweet, your pallet of appropriate pairings is much wider, meaning you can also experiment with many of the sweeter wines like ports and muscats.

Taste the Wine, Then the Chocolate

Once you've got a great pairing, it's nothing but bliss. Start by tasting the wine, allowing its flavors to fully saturate your mouth.

Then take a bite of the chocolate, letting it slowly melt on your tongue. Sip the wine once again, and you might never consider having one without the other ever again.

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