Golden California hills and fertile valleys crisscross patchworks of hearty grape vines, bathed in sunshine and cooled by the fresh Pacific air. The Halloween harvest moon is time to celebrate Autumn’s bounty. What better than a fun filled Wine & Chocolate Party – California style!
Wine & Chocolate pairings are a fun, creative way to enjoy delicious complimentary flavors. Savor the perfect piece of chocolate – melting in your mouth then sipping a fine vintage. It’s a memorable party theme guaranteed to bring people closer together experimenting, discovering and sharing.
The most basic rule is to try to match the sweetness of the wine with the chocolate. Opt for wines that are not too dry if possible (unless you are pairing with extra dark chocolate). Ultimately, the key to a successful chocolate and wine pairing is having the two complement one another. Darker chocolates pair well with robust wines. And as you’d expect, lighter red and full-bodied white wines are a dream with milk chocolates. Keep in mind, some of the best pairings can be white chocolates with white wines.
Gourmet white chocolates that are subtle and not too sweet, can display surprisingly complex flavors. As a result, white chocolate often pairs beautifully with sweet dessert wines or bubbly Champagne. Try a couple White Chocolate coins with a glass of Elysium from the California Quady Winery or maybe a bottle of dessert wine from Dolce Winery… two stellar choices!
32-45% Cocoa Solids
Milk chocolate, smooth and harmonious, is amazingly versatile with complex nuances perfect red wines like merlot or a pinot noir. The Santa Barbara Chocolate Rainforest Dark Milk Chocolate is a favorite served with Far Niente Chardonnay. It’s an explosion of pleasure!
50-70% Cocoa Solids
Dark chocolate with wine is a natural pairing made in heaven. Full robust reds like Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon share similar flavor profiles to exotic chocolates with notes of red berry, oak and even tobacco at times. The distinct tasting experience of an extra fine chocolate with red wine will enlighten your soul to a whole new realm of food nirvana. A bottle of Hendry Primitivo from Napa is a great one to pour. And if you want to have a real experience, try a Ficklin Tinta Port Dessert Wine with an Organic 70% Dark Chocolate – probably one of the best pairings in history.
Extra dark chocolate is bold and powerful and not for the faint of heart. Flavors are strong and true to the cacao origin. The depth of pure rainforest chocolate blooms with bright scents and robust earthiness. Melting big flavors compliment full-bodied red wines like Beckmen Vineyards Grenache or Cline Zinfandel – elegant choices with a pure cacao chocolate like the Rainforest 100% or a single origin 74% Dark Chocolate.
Try these basic guidelines, but most of all have fun creating your own combinations, experimenting and spending quality time together. That’s what it is all about. Cheers!
Source: Santa Barbara Chocolate