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Pairing wine and chocolate is a match made in heaven for the foodie and wine connoisseur wrapped in one. Just as with wine, chocolate presents a complexity of flavors and textures, with the potential for subtle changes with each new batch of chocolate.

Learning how to appreciate the subtlety and complexity of flavors that both wine and chocolate have, as well as being able to pair them well, is a most enjoyable hobby. This article explores the method for pairing them successfully.
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Obey the first rule of pairing wine and food.
  • Do not have the chocolate sweeter than the wine you're pairing it with. This will necessitate a little nibbling and tasting in advance of the event to find out but that's usually not a hardship.
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Aim to purchase quality chocolate for the purposes of wine and chocolate pairing.
  • Whether the chocolate is white, milk, or dark, its origins should be impeccable and its manufacture of a high quality standard.
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Pair chocolate and wine according to the darkness of the chocolate.
As with food, the general rule is that the darker the chocolate, the darker the wine.
So, reds are ideal for dark chocolate.
  • If pairing with white wine, look for fruity and intense varieties, to match the
eclectic mix in chocolate of bitterness, sweetness, fruitiness, sometimes nuttiness,
and occasional acidity.
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Look for wines with soft, rounded tannins to pair with chocolate.
  • The smoothness of the wine is an important element when pairing with the
smoothness of chocolate.5Look for full-bodied wines to match to strong, intense,
and heavy chocolates and chocolate desserts.
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Look for full-bodied wines to match to strong, intense, and heavy chocolates and chocolate desserts.
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If tasting chocolate and wine together, obey the wine rule of tasting from light to dark.
Start with the light milk and white chocolates, and move to the medium intensity chocolate, ending finally with the very dark and bitter chocolates. Match the wines in ascending order of weight and darkness.
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Select wines according to the flavors of the chocolate.
The following list indicates good chocolate and wine matches. As with all wine and
food matching suggestions, they are only guidelines and it is important to do your
own experimenting according to your own palate's requirements:

  • White chocolate: Match with Sherry, Muscat, a fruity Chardonnay, or a
Moscata d'Asti. These styles of wine will pick up on the buttery, fatty tones of
what isn't always considered to be a "real" chocolate. For those who don't mind
a risk, a contrasting wine heavy on tannins might just work to cut through the
fattiness of white chocolate.

  • Milk chocolate: Try Merlot, Pinot Noir, Riesling, Muscat, and dessert wines. Be careful of the higher sugar levels in milk chocolate, as these can easily cancel out any fruitiness in dry red wines, leaving them bitter.

  • Dark chocolate (50% to 70%): Pair this with more robust wines, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Pinot Noir, and Port. A chianti can match well with chocolate around 65 percent cocoa content.

  • Bittersweet chocolate (70% to 100%): This chocolate type enters the bitter range with deep intensity. Chocolate gourmands adore this range of taste, so the wine should live up to it. Good choices include Bordeaux, Beaujolais, Shiraz, Orange Muscat, Port, Malbec, and Zinfandel.

  • Try champagne or sparkling wine with all chocolate types. It is a variety that can match with many flavors. Many fortified dessert wines work well across the chocolate spectrum as well.
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Experiment a lot.
The guidelines in this article are nothing more than guidance; make up your own mind as to what matches well and what does not when marrying wine and chocolate.

  • The flavorings and cremes inside chocolate will impact the wine. When you are fortunate enough to be able to enjoy boutique chocolate in a range of flavors, do your best to match with boutique wines that match and enhance the flavors represented in the chocolate.
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Tips
  • Give yourself many taste testings to develop your preferences. Keep track of what works and doesn't work, and make a list or chart to refer to in the future. And why not share your thoughts on a blog?

  • Nature's dynamics need to be taken into account. As wine styles and preferences change, the pairings will change too. Seasonal effects on the wine can impact the suitability of a matching.

  • The guidelines here also apply to chocolate desserts. You have many excuses!
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Warnings
As with any suggestions on pairing food and wine, the ideas presented here are a guidance, not an absolute. There will be many personal preferences as your own palate picks up different flavors, textures, nuances, etc., that work best for you. The best approach is to expect some things to work, some not to work, but to enjoy the experience as a whole.
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Things You'll Need
  • Wine
  • Chocolate
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How-To Articles:
How to host a wine tasting party (with video)
How to brew your own beer
How to seat dinner guests
How to make jello shots
How to plan a party
Be a responsible host
Host a dinner party
Party Planning

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Sources & Citations:
Chocolate Related Categories: ChocolateChocolate Icing
Chocolate Cake RecipesNational Chocolate DayCandy
Chocolate Pie RecipesChocolate Mint Cupcake Recipe
Chocolate Covered BaconChocolate Chip CookiesTeaTime
CookBook Store
Drink Related Categories:
Drink ObservancesTraditional Holiday FoodDrink News
Drinking Games perfect for partiesHost a wine tasting party
Pirate DrinksTropical Drink RecipesMake jello shots
Plan a Party to celebrate the Holidays: Party Planning
Weird Holiday Parties & ideasParty FoodTypes of Parties    • Theme PartiesParty GamesParlour games
Seat dinner guests  • Be a responsible hostHost a dinner
How To Pair Wine and Chocolate!
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