Wine & Chocolate Pairing Tips

Pairings: Wine + Chocolate

Written by Leslee Miller / Photography by Steve Henke / Cambria Style Magazine ~ November, 2011

Leslee Miller of Amusée Wine takes the mystery out of pairing wines with chocolate.

Chocolate and Wine


Pairing wine to chocolate is not exactly as hard as some will tell you. Most, in fact, say it is impossible. I say, “Bring it on!” I’m always up for a good food/wine pairing challenge, and chocolate just so happens to be one of my favorites. With a few easy tips under your belt, pairing wine to chocolate will become a snap for even the toughest of libation critics. In fact, when paired correctly, there’s not much that tops this match made in heaven!

                Pairing Tips

  1. First rule of thumb for really any combination that involves ‘sweet treats’ is to find a wine or libation that is just one degree sweeter than the food on your plate. Pairing a very acidic wine to any dessert, will leave the palate feeling tart and bitter.
  2.  2.  One of the best tips for pairing to different forms of chocolate – be it milk, dark or white – is to always think of pairing from a    ‘weight’ standpoint. For example, more intrícate chocolates/desserts pair best to lighter bodied wines and darker, heavier chocolates/desserts fit to a more full bodied wine. Often times chocolate can overpower a wine. Using one that has the weight to counter-balance the palate is important. Fortified wines like Sherry, Madiera & Port are great pairing examples for heavier, richer sweets.

3.  Serve wines that pull out the natural ingredients of the dessert. Whether your chocolate is plumped full of bacon or passionfruit, it’s important to think about what pairs best to the salty, savory or gooey inside of your dessert. Fruited fillings love a juicy, fruity wine like a Zinfandel or a sparkling sweet while ingredients like salt and bacon pair best to rich fortifieds like Sherry & Madeira.

4.   Experiment. Try on every example you can think of!  Pair the thinkable with the unthinkable – after all, it’s your palate.

Most importantly, if it tastes good to you, that’s all that matters.  Salut!

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