While it might seem like wine and chocolate go together like a total dream, it’s harder than you think to match them up. This is because both chocolate and wine contain bitter tasting polyphenols. So, if you grab yourself a big chunk of your favourite dark chocolate and a big old glass of Cabernet Sauvignon, you’re going to get one bitter, dry mouthful that’ll totally overwhelm your palate. Now, not all is lost…
A simple way to think about pairing chocolate and wine is this: generally, you’re looking at either dessert wines or wines with a sweetness about them. It’s also a good idea to think about what fruits might go with the chocolate you’re eating. For example, cherries taste amazing with dark chocolate, so perhaps a jammy red with cherry notes would taste delicious too.
You’ll find a lot of these jammy, sweet-ish reds in warmer climes, so look for Australia, South Africa or Chile on the labels of the bottles.
What wines pair best with milk chocolate?
Milk chocolate is probably the easiest chocolate to pair with wine as it’s got an equal balance of bitterness and creaminess. Light bodied reds with lots of fruity character like Pinot Noir and Beaujolais are a good bet, as they have fewer tannins to clash with the bitter notes in the chocolate and higher acidity to cut through the richness.
White wines can also be a great match for milk chocolate. You’ll want to go for a creamy, slightly sweeter white like a Riesling, Viognier or Gewurztraminer for your Dairy Milk (or something more sophisticated…) slab, as it’ll complement the creamy roundness of the chocolate.
What’s the best wine to drink with dark chocolate?
If you want to have some dark choc with your wine, you’re probably better off staying below 80%, or the chocolate will just taste too bitter alongside your drink. A fruity, fresh red is a great place to start, especially ones with notes of cherries and dark berries. Zinfandel is a great fruity match as it’s got a little spice too, or a plummy Merlot would work well.
For sweet pairings, Tawny port’s caramelly flavours would pair well with darker chocolate bars or desserts, or a little drop of raisin-y PX sherry. If you fancy something more unusual, the tannins in a skin-contact white or orange wine work well against the bitterness of dark chocolate, but they’re not too drying. If your chocolate has a touch of sea salt then the freshness of a skin contact white would taste even better!
What wines match well with white chocolate?
White chocolate can be tricky because it’s super sweet and it technically isn’t a true chocolate anyway, as it contains no cacao. However, it can be very tasty alongside a glass of wine.
A Sauvignon Blanc would go down a storm. White chocolate goes beautifully with tropical fruits like passionfruit in cooking, so it makes sense that the tropical notes in a classic Sauvy B would pair well. Sparkling wine gets a look in with white chocolate too. The toasty brioche notes in a Champagne would taste great, as would an English sparkling Chardonnay. If you’re having white chocolate covered strawbs, try a rosé sparkler. You can go for sweet wine too, like Moscato, to complement the smooth sweetness of the white chocolate.