Wine and Chocolate - A Match Made in Heaven
California is renowned for its world famous vineyards and stunning cellar doors. The sweeping hills and valleys threaded with vines and haloed in endless sunshine means that the wine to come out of California is always of exceptional quality. We all know that when it comes to wine and chocolate, it is a match made in heaven. Nothing beats the taste of pure indulgence of pairing the sweet taste of pure chocolate with the heady fragrance of a sunshine state wine. At Santa Barbara Chocolate we believe that our customers deserve only the best, which is why this guide is designed to help you perfect the pairing of wine and chocolate.
The Golden Rule
The golden rule when matching wine to chocolate is to ensure the sweetness of the two tastes harmonizes in unity. You want to keep your taste buds on their toes and not drown them out in richness. The key essence in successful pairing is ensuring the tastes complement each other. The darker the chocolate, the heavier the wine should be. Similarly the lighter the wine, the more elegant the chocolate should be.
White Chocolate and Wine
White chocolate tends to be light on the tongue, dreamy, creamy with buttery notes. This makes white chocolate a match made in heaven for sweet dessert wines and the delicate fizz of champagne. The almost euphoric feeling on the tongue of light white chocolate and iridescent bubbles or cloying sweet notes will awake your sensations like never before. Enjoy a block of white chocolate with a glass of Elysium from the Quady Winery in California or any select bottle from the Dolce Winery who specialize in dessert wines.
Milk Chocolate and Wine
34-41% Cocoa Solids
Milk chocolate manages to encompass a beautiful balance of coca and dairy, the result is melt in the mouth perfection that leaves a creamy residue clinging to your taste buds. Because of its stunning sensibilities milk chocolate is used as the base for many light chocolate mousses, pralines and other dessert bases. Bring out the true delight of milk chocolate by pairing it with lighter bodied reds such as merlot or pinot noir such as the 2006 Hayman Hill Santa Lucia Highlands Reserve Selection Pinot Noir Of course you can always step the flavors up a notch by complimenting that glass of champagne with a chocolate covered strawberry for a rare delight. Moët et Chandon's Domaine Chandon is always a spectacular choice.
Dark Chocolate and Wine
41-85% Cocoa Solids
There are many wines out there on the market that can boast chocolaty notes that resonate with the fruit. When pairing dark chocolate with wine this is what you want to look for. Full bodied reds are dark chocolates best friend and the result is nothing less than spectacular. Shiraz, Zinfandels and Cabernet Sauvignon all offer full flavored ruby fruit tastes splashed with gentle notes of chocolate, oak and berry that will mirror the taste and texture of decadent dark chocolate. A prestigious bottle of 2008 Hendry Primitivo, Napa will certainly do the trick. If you are really looking to tip this dreamy combination into a taste sensation out of this world you can also opt for dark, bitter chocolate paired with a good robust port.
Bittersweet Chocolate and Wine
For chocolate that tastes like the heart of darkness opt for bittersweet chocolate. The flavor of this chocolate is reminiscent in its origin, here the taste of the rainforest comes alive and you can enjoy a rich scented, roasted, earthy and robust flavor. Because of the intensity of the taste you are best pairing bitter chocolate with heavy, strong red wines with dry tannins to allow the flavor to implode on your tongue. Grenache, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Ruby Ports will all bring out the opulent flavors ofbittersweet chocolate. Close to home you can match a glass of 2005 Beckmen Vineyards Purisima Mountain Vineyard Grenache from Santa Barbara with the purest cocoa products from Santa Barbara Chocolates.