When it comes to food and wine matching, there are no hard and fast rules but the more obvious recommendations generally include pairing red meats with full bodied red wines, seafood with crisp, racy whites and sugary foods with sweet desert wines. Less often do we tend to think of matching chocolate with wine.
But when you thought life couldn’t get any better, our friends at the Wine Gift Centre are now bringing you a chocolate made specifically to be tasted alongside wine.
The idea of a nice glass of wine alongside some crumbling chocolate was the brainchild of pulmonologist, Dr Nick Proia (heart Doctor to you and me)!
Having had enough of munching on a block of cheese after dinner with a delicious glass of red, Dr Nick decided to swop his cheese for dark chocolate in an attempt to reap the health benefits of both wine and chocolate. However, after a gruelling search through hundreds of different types of chocolate – poor guy – Dr Nick gave up on the idea of finding a ready-made chocolate that complimented the flavours of wine. Off-the-shelf chocolate was either too sweet and like eating confectionary (that rules out your Cadburys and Galaxy) or was too bitter and complex, dominating the intricate flavours of wine.
So in true Roald Dahl form, he decided to make his own! Searching the world for a wine-loving cocoa bean, Dr Nick stumbled across Ghanaian chocolate and discovered a deliciously fruity cocoa, with red berry tones – ideal for wine. After trying countless recipes, he created four different strengths and the result is a chocolate blend that enhances those nuances found in great wines, without confusing the palate.
Brix (also the word used in wine-making to describe the sugar levels) Chocolate for Wine comes as a mouth-watering 227gram block and is best served at room temperature, using a knife to fracture. It comes in four varieties, each designed to match with different styles of wine. We asked our Wine Buyer Dave Roberts to give it a try (it’s a hard life!!)
Tips from our Wine Buyer
Wine and chocolate may not be an obvious food pairing but it works surprisingly well. I gave each of the below a bash with a few wines from our range and here’s how I got on.
Brix Milk Chocolate, 40% Cocoa
This lovely milk chocolate is light in style and I found a couple of options here. Lighter reds were brilliant, our Tierra del Corazon Pinot Noir 2010 was ideal, as was our Long Lunch 2010. Sweet wines also work as long as they are not overtly sweet. Tabali Late Harvest Muscat 2009 was perfect whereas Keith Tulloch Hunter Valley Botrytis Semillon 2009 was overpowering.
Brix Smooth Dark Chocolate, 54% Cocoa
Pretty rich stuff this and my initial thought was to go for a big red. My theory was rubbished upon tasting. It surprisingly paired best with sparkling wines. Prosecco and Cava were both good but Champagne was a clear winner – Laurent Perrier Brut NV for example is ideal but go with your favourite as it’ll do the job equally well. If you’re looking for a white wine to match then a good dry Riesling is ideal, Hans Lang Rheingau Riesling Kabinett Trocken 2008 is what I’d recommend.
Brix Dark Chocolate, 60% Cocoa
The Cocoa content is cranked up here and as a result it’s now time to bring out the bolder reds. Take your pick from the following – classic Aussie Shiraz, Shiraz Plays Shiraz Barossa Valley Shiraz 2009, hefty Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon, Perez Cruz Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva 2008, or a chunky Italian Barbera, Araldica d’Aria Barbera d’Asti 2007.
Brix Extra Dark Chocolate, 70% Cocoa
The all time classic wine a chocolate combo comes to the fore here and that’s a good bottle of Port! I also found Bordeaux reds, both left and right bank, worked nicely as did Sonoma County Zinfandels.
However, these are all just suggestions so feel to experiment.
So next time you crack open a bottle, why not put Dr Nick’s theory to the test and decide for yourself if you think chocolate and wine work together. You can find out more at The Wine Gift Centre.