Wine & Chocolate

Until recently, combining wine and chocolate seemed to be as bold a move as combining chocolate with savoury foods. The flavour of these products is particularly rich and subtle and based on the balance of the sweet and the acidic it was felt that combining them would only be detrimental to both. As a result, for a long time chocolate has been accompanied only by water or coffee. And yet if you observe a few basic rules wine with chocolate can be the source of some very pleasant surprises.

First and foremost, the wine comes before the chocolate. If you take them the other way round the bitter taste of the chocolate will prevent the wine from expressing itself. It is also important to avoid wines with too high a tannin content, as they will attach to the inside of the mouth and prevent the expression of the chocolate aromas.

Champagne is also poorly suited to chocolate, because the cold, acidic bubbles anesthetise the taste buds, stripping the chocolate of all of its aromatic qualities.

There are many agreements between chocolate desserts and wine. Some of them are known – even traditional – like Black Forest gateau and natural sweet wines (Maury, Banyuls), chocolate mousse and orange liqueurs (Grand Marnier, Cointreau, Liqueur de Bruxelles), chocolate fondant and Port or Sherry.

There are other combos that deserve to be tried however, such as ganache moka and Chinon rouge, syrupy or sweet wines (late Gewurztraminer vendange or Jurançon) and praliné, muscat and a white chocolate with walnuts, hazelnuts and raisins.

And why not an old rum with an orangette ?