Chocolate and wine, they seem like a perfect match, but it's complicated.
Both contain tannins, aka polyphenols, that affect their taste and how they taste together. Put a dark chocolate (high in tannins) and a robust red (also high in tannins) together and the combination of two wonderful tastes turns bitter and overly astringent. This natural astringency is one of the things we love, but too much of a good thing, is, well, no longer so good.
So which chocolates go with which wines?
There are infinite chocolate darknesses and combinations in the world, so we're going to stick with the four basic categories and a few fun extras. And as always, we encourage having your own taste tests to see what you prefer, regardless of what anyone, including us, says.
Let's start light and move through the range of cocoa levels.
It seems like a misnomer, but white chocolate is made from the same cacao plant that produces brown chocolate. They both come from the cocao seed, the only difference is white chocolate - sumptuously smooth, creamy and delicate - is made only from the fat in the seed, and not the rest. That tracks, doesn't it?
What to pair with white chocolate: BOXT Profiles Two, Three and Four or riesling, chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, moscato d'Asti, pinot noir and sweeter rosés.
Higher in sugar and milk solids than darker chocolates, milk chocolate prefers a wine with fruit notes and a light to medium body.
What to pair with milk chocolate: BOXT Profiles Three, Four and Six or pinot noir, syrah, petite sirah, merlot and gewurztraminer.
Semi-sweet chocolate (around 55-65% cacao).
This type of chocolate contains less sugar than the first two to even out the tannins, so it needs a wine that is balanced and not too tannic.
What to pair with semi-sweet chocolate: Profiles Three, Four and Six or syrah, pinot noir and merlot.
Dark chocolate (65-80% cacao - we don't recommend going higher than 80% when pairing with wine).
More cacao and less sugar equals more bitterness from the tannins, so you'll want to pair it with full-bodied, fruity and sweeter reds that are lower in tannins.
What to pair with dark chocolate: Profiles Four Five, Five and Six, or zinfandel, malbec, valpolicella ripasso and merlot.
You can also get a little crazy and start adding in other flavors to your chocolate.
Orange zested chocolate pairs well with Profile One or pinot gris and sauvignon blanc. The brightness of the orange compliments the acidic tang of these whites.
Semi-sweet or milk chocolate and caramel love our Profile Three, Four or Four Five or riesling, gewurztraminer, pinot noir, syrah or petite sirah.
Chile chocolate is a great combination with our Profile Three, Five or Six or riesling, gewurztraminer, cabernet sauvignon and malbec. Just remember that for the bigger reds like Profile Five and a cab or malbec, you'll want a slightly sweeter chocolate.
We always love to hear about your pairings @drinkboxt.
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