WineWine and Chocolate

Chocolate

I’m tempted to just leave it at that.  But after dinner a few nights ago, we pulled out some great chocolate to pair with a couple of Spanish wines, and  I was shocked when our friends said “Really?  You drink wine with chocolate?”

Whoa….  I thought everybody knew that wine and chocolate are the primary 2 food groups. And especially together!

So we opened a few different types of chocolate (OK, I’ll admit that in this case it was some of the world’s finest Ecuadorian chocolate – Kallari), and 3 bottles of wine, and started comparing.  Kallari makes several different types of chocolate, in varying degrees of intensity, and also with some intriguing additions – like chiles.  That makes pairing with wine particularly fun and challenging.

If you’ve never tried pairing wine and chocolate, take the plunge.  Have some friends over for a nice dinner, and then afterwards, pull out a little bit of 2 or 3 types of chocolate  (sustainable, please!) and a few types of wine.  Pour everyone a small amount — about 1 or 2 oz — of each of 3 wines (don’t worry, you can finish the wines over the next few days — you can use the dreaded Vacu Vin to keep them fresher, but don’t tell anybody I said that).

Break the chocolate up into small pieces, and give everyone a plate with a small piece of each chocolate.  Of course, be careful to keep track of which chocolate us which.

Start with the driest wine you have, and taste the chocolate, quickly followed by a sip of the first wine.  Repeat with the second chocolate, and stick to the first wine.  Stay with the same wine, different chocolates, and note which pairing you liked the best.  Then do it again with the second wine, which should be slightly sweeter.  Then end with the very sweetest wine, tasting it with each of the chocolates.  Although it’s not Spanish, I love making the last one Port.  Portugal.  Close enough.

The general idea is to pair a lighter wine with a lighter chocolate.  If you’re like me and you prefer dark chocolate, that usually goes best with a big, bold wine — and almost everybody prefers a sweet wine with dark bitter chocolate.  Remember, wine and food pairings are all about your palette.  Don’t let any wine snob tell you what you should like.  Sometimes you’ll find a really great pairing that suits you perfectly that nobody else likes.  That’s what’s so fun about it.  No snobs allowed.

Below are some Spanish wine varieties to try with chocolate:

Syrah
Garnacha – preferably old vine
Tempranillo – preferably old vine
Sherry (sweeter type)
Port (OK, it’s not Spanish, but try it!)

Then report back.  Would love for you to comment and let us know what you tried, and what you liked!