Chocolate and Wine Pairing 101

 

Learn the "Top 3 Rules to Chocolate and Wine Pairing". We'll also teach you the basic chemistry of red wine and cacao along the way—so you can really taste like a pro!

 

1. The Wine Should Be Sweeter Than the Chocolate

 

If the chocolate is sweeter than the wine, the solids in the chocolate will dominate and over-saturate the palate, making the wine taste thin, tart, and heightened with bitterness. 

Why?

  • Fruitiness in dry red wines can be canceled out with high sugar-chocolates.
  • Some subtle, delicate flavor compounds can be heavily subdued with high dairy content chocolates.

 

In order to fully appreciate the complex flavors of red wine and chocolate, it's important to understand their science. See below infographics for a brief food science overview:

 

Chemistry of Red Wine:

Infographic Credit: Compound Interest

Infographic Credit: Compound Interest

Chemistry of Cocoa:

Infographic Credit: Prova

Infographic Credit: Prova


 

2. Taste from mild to bold

Tasting from mild to bold is a standard industry process that flavor experts and trained taste testers follow as a rule of thumb. This helps avoid wrecking your palate, this phenomenon is known in the industry as "fatigue".

 

When Brisan presented a "Wine and Chocolate Pairing 101", we used the following samples for demonstration:

 

Taste 1st: 56% Cacao Chocolate Paired with Port

Wine: 2009 Dow's LBV Port ($22.99/bottle)

Chocolate: 365 Organic Dark Chocolate, 56% Cacao

 

Taste 2nd: 72% Cacao Chocolate Paired with Zinfandel

Wine: 2012 Cline Zinfandel ($11.99/bottle)

Chocolate: Endangered Species Chocolate, Natural Dark Chocolate, 72% Cacao

 
Image: Brian Vogt prepping samples for a "Chocolate + Wine 101" that Brisan and Prova presented at WeWork Fulton Market in April 2016.

Image: Brian Vogt prepping samples for a "Chocolate + Wine 101" that Brisan and Prova presented at WeWork Fulton Market in April 2016.


 

3. Pay Attention to the Subtle Flavor Nuances

On the packaging of chocolates and wines, companies traditionally call out a short sensory description of the product, make sure to read and use your best judgement.

 
 

Craving more food science information about chocolate chemistry?

 

Learn How to Taste Chocolate Like A Pro:

 

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Chocolate Ingredient Offerings:

 
 
 

All cocoa chemistry information provided by Prova

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