No Valentine’s Day is complete without wine.
No Valentine’s Day is complete without chocolate.
Yet the marriage of wine and chocolate is among the more stridently debated topics in the world of wine.
Some say the two should never be paired. Others suggest that the right wine consumed with the right chocolate can be a match that would make Cupid envious. With Valentine’s Day 2016 just around the corner, we need some resolution to this culinary conundrum.
As with all food-and-pairings, there are no 100 percent “right” answers. It all comes down to individual palates and individual preferences, both of which can vary widely. But over the years, members of the Vinesse tasting panel have had opportunities to experiment with an array of chocolate-and-wine pairings.
Following are a few they’ve liked and recommend…
- DARK CHOCOLATE
We’re talking about bars with at least 35% cocoa solids, up to around 70%. Higher percentages will pretty much take over your palate and make pairing with any kind of wine next to impossible. But for those that fall in the 35-70% range, seek out wines with fruit flavors you might normally find in a dark chocolate cream from See’s or your favorite chocolatier: raspberry, strawberry, dark cherry. Such wines include Zinfandel and Port. Another match you might like: chocolate cake with an Australian Shiraz (which typically is more fruitful than a French Syrah).
- DARK CHOCOLATE WITH MINT FILLING
Think: a thin Ghiradelli’s square. They’re fairly rare, but a Syrah Port — which can exhibit a hint of eucalyptus among its flavors — can nicely co-mingle with the mint.
- MILK CHOCOLATE
Here, we’re talking about truffles, not America’s favorite milk chocolate bar from Hershey, Pa. The creamy fat from the ganache on the inside of the truffle makes it a more versatile pairing partner than dark chocolate. Try it with a cream Sherry, a well-aged vintage Port, or almost any sweet wine from the Muscat family of wine grapes.
- WHITE CHOCOLATE
Even though white chocolate technically is not chocolate because it contains no cocoa (only cocoa fat), some wine pairings you may enjoy include ice wine, Orange Muscat and Moscato d’Asti.
Tomorrow: a recipe for a wine-friendly dessert — Red Wine Cake.