Photo by Jackie Donnelly via Spice & Ink
There’s something romantic about a glass of Cabernet and a rich dark chocolate. Match made in heaven, right? Well, get ready for some surprising news. No sommelier worth their grapes would actually ever recommend the pair.
Of course, taste is personal, so if you love red wine and 100% dark chocolate together, don’t let the “expert” opinion hold you back. However, if you’re looking to learn more about the art and science of pairing, keep reading.
Combining wine and chocolate all comes down to tannins. The same natural compounds that give a strong red wine its earthy and dry tones also exist in black tea and, yes, chocolate. If you follow a tannin-heavy wine with a tannin-heavy chocolate, the one-two punch will overwhelm your palette—not to mention make you unbelievably thirsty.
The right approach: Find a balance by choosing different tannin levels. (Just as red wine has more tannins than white wine, dark chocolate has more than milk chocolate.)
Dark chocolate: For higher percentage chocolate, find a lighter-bodied wine. Go for a jammy, fruity Syrah. In fact, many sommeliers recommend pairing chocolate with port, a dessert wine that brings out the sweetness of whatever accompanies it. Although it’s 73% cacao, the Antidote Almond + Fennel will bring licorice tones to round out your palette.
Milk chocolate: Given its softer mouthfeel, milk chocolate is easier to pair with wine. Want something more interesting with your Grenache? Amp up a salty-sweet factor with the Dolcetta Milk Pretzel bar, which has real pretzel bits for crunch and flavor.
White chocolate: Since white chocolate doesn’t contain tannins (it’s technically not even “chocolate,” given its lack of cocoa solids), it opens up to a broader availability of wines. Pairing it with a dry rosé makes for a real treat after a savory meal. Try the Leonidas White Blueberry for tart sweetness.
Test the boundaries. Invite your friends to bring wine when you receive your next Chococurb box, then mix and match to see how the flavor, body, and tannins work together (or clash) for the perfect pairing. Let us know your favorites!