Perfect Pairings: CHOCOLATE

Finding the perfect drink to accompany your favourite dark, milk or white chocolate can be a bit of a tricky task – and often recommendations are limited to a dessert wine or fortified. To my mind this age old pairing (has its place) but are better suited to the cheese course rather than dessert! So wanting to help those chocolate lovers out there find the perfect drink to pair with their chosen chocolate please see 5 top pairings below – a few that might sound strange but are really worth a try.

  1. White wine and chocolate? And a dry white wine at that? Yes, believe it or not, you can enjoy chocolate with a glass of your favourite dry and crisp Sauvignon Blanc. Not all chocolates will work here but an extra rich milk chocolate (cocao solids around the 40% mark) will pair nicely with a Fumé Blanc in particular. The subtle hints of oak and the heady citrus notes make a great pairing for some good quality rich milk chocolate.
  2. Sticking with the, perhaps more surprising, match of white wine and chocolate this next one is certainly worth a try and may surprise guests (pleasantly) at your next picnic! A dry sparkling wine (Champagne or a dry sparkling wine made in the Méthod Champenoise/ Traditional Method) works rather well with a 60% dark chocolate. The fruit, yeasty notes and honey hints in many Champagnes/sparkling wines will pair very well with this type of chocolate.
  3. If you are a fan of the really good quality very dark chocolate then finding a drink to stand up to the flavour can often be a difficult task. If you are looking for a wine to go with very dark (80%+) chocolate then a big powerful red will work but not any red – as the spice of a heady Barossa Shiraz may overpower the subtle fruity tones present in the dark chocolate. A grenache, medium bodied, can stand up to the dark chocolate and the hints of tobacco, orange, plum and berries with pair pretty well with a piece of fine dark chocolate.
  4. Wine and chocolate not necessarily that unusual or unknown a pairing but perhaps less familiar is beer and chocolate! In many ways hoppy, malty, chilled brews sound like a perfect accompaniment for many a chocolate treat. One that is really rather special is a wheat beer and some rich milk chocolate. A light, crisp, distinctive wheat beer – with notes of citrus and banana make it a perfect beverage for your favourite rich milk chocolate.
  5. A very logical pairing to dark chocolate, given its flavour of coffee and even dark chocolate, would be a stout! A strong beer with notes of coffee, malt, and a rich silky texture pairs very well with fine 70% dark chocolate.