Whether you’re expecting an Easter chocolate windfall, or you just fancy pairing two of your favourite things in life, Fiona Beckett is here to help.
The idea that chocolate is ruinous to wine is still widely held but, as many of you will know, the problem is overstated.
Yes, it can be difficult to find a wine to match a molten chocolate fondant (PX Sherry just about manages), but there are many other chocolate desserts – and chocolates – which can be flattered by a fine wine match.
Three things to consider:
The three main things to consider when working out what to drink are:
- The type of chocolate – white and milk chocolate being generally easier to match than dark
- Is the dish hot or cold – cold is more wine-friendly
- What other ingredients are on the plate? Cherries, for example, might lead you to a sweet red like a Recioto or a late harvest Zinfandel rather than a white.
In fact, it’s a useful tip to think of the sort of fruit that might work with a particular type of chocolate and find a wine that includes those flavours – dark chocolate and orangey moscatel, for instance.
‘For me, the wine needs to be sweeter than the dessert’
It also depends on how much of a sweet tooth you have. For some – myself included – an Australian liqueur muscat would just add too much sweetness to a rich chocolate dessert. I prefer a sweet Sherry or Madeira with more acidity, for others it would be bliss.
By contrast, not everyone would enjoy a Barolo Chinato which I find the most marvellous match for a slender square of fine dark chocolate. I’m also not a fan of pairing full-bodied red wines with chocolate although I know many are.
For me the wine needs to be sweeter than the dessert.
Lighter desserts with lighter wines
In general lighter dessert wines such as Sauternes, Riesling and Moscato work best with lighter chocolate desserts, and richer ones such as Tokaji and fortified wines with darker, denser ones.
Finally, bear in mind it may be a question of you could, but why would you? If you love Château d’Yquem Sauternes then I’m sure you’ll enjoy it with a Mars bar or a slice of devil’s food cake, but there are so many sweet (and savoury) foods that would show it off better.
Fiona Beckett is a Decanter contributor and a food and wine pairing expert with her own website, matchingfoodandwine.com