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How to Pair Wine and Chocolate

How to Pair Wine and Chocolate

So you know love wine and chocolate, but what happens when you pair them together? We consulted our vino experts on how to make the perfect match. Here's what they had to say!

1. Silky, velvety, and soft wines are chocolate's best friend.

Both wine and chocolate can have intense, dry flavors. When you put together a dark, bittersweet chocolate with a powerful red wine that's high in tannins, the two can be overwhelming on the palate. In order to find the right balance, it's best to choose wines that are a little bit softer and juicier than the chocolate you're pairing it with.

2. Find the perfect sweet spot. 

While it might sound counterintuitive, a wine that is "sweeter" than the chocolate itself actually works quite well. And when we say "sweet", we're not referring to dessert wines alone. In the wine world, the term "sweet" is sometimes used to denote ripe, fruit-forward flavors in a wine. These characteristics provide a nice balance to the bitter flavors of cocoa.

3. Match similar intensities.

When in doubt, pair chocolates and wines that have a similar style and weight. Less intensely-flavored chocolates go well with lighter-bodied wines, while chocolates with more intense flavors can stand up to fuller-bodied wines.

4. Taste from light to dark.

Just as you would with any other tasting, it's best to start with light chocolates and wines, increasing the intensity as you go along. Start with white chocolates and light wines and save the richest, dark chocolates and wines for last.

5. Consider any other ingredients.

If your chocolate contains other ingredients such as nuts, fruit, or caramel, consider how these flavors will play with the wine. For example, a chocolate studded with dried cranberries might pair well with a fruit-forward red with berry undertones.

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OUR RECOMMENDATIONS

Need some inspiration? Here are a few of our favorite wine and chocolate pairings!

WHITE CHOCOLATE
pairs well with Riesling, Moscato d'Asti, Sweeter Rosè
White chocolate, which is made with cocoa butter, sugar, and milk, has a sweet, buttery flavor with notes of honey and cream. Sweet white and rosè wines help cleanse the palate of the rich flavors from white chocolate, as does as sparkling spumante like Moscato d'Asti.

MILK CHOCOLATE
pairs well with Pinot Noir, Merlot, Gewurtztraminer
Milk chocolate is usually sweeter and creamier with flavors of brown sugar, vanilla, and cream. It requires a wine that is light to medium in body, with a ripe fruit character.

DARK CHOCOLATE
pairs well with Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot
Bitter to semi-sweet chocolates that are 50 to 100% cacao have intense, bitter flavors, and earthy to fruity undertones. Match the intensity without adding more dryness by pairing these chocolates with full-bodied, yet fruit-forward wines.

HAZELNUT CHOCOLATE
pairs well with Brachetto d'Acqui
In this case, what grows together, goes together! The nutty flavors of hazelnuts (a staple of Piemonte) are complemented by Brachetto d'Acqui, an aromatic, lightly sweet red wine of Piemonte.

Salute!

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Now that you're an expert on how to pair wine and chocolate, try hosting your own tasting party at home! Find your local Eataly to stock up on all the essentials. 

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