Matching a beautiful wine to dinner is a topic as old as, well, drinking wine with a meal. Even those of us with limited knowledge of wine and food pairing could probably guess a crisp, chilled sauvignon blanc would go well with a piece of grilled barramundi.
Now we’re going deeper: workshops on matching beers with cheese and pairings of cocktails and desserts at fancy bars are quite common. But what about chocolate? Whether you’re thinking of hosting a wine and chocolate tasting or after the perfect beer or spirit pairing for a chocolate dessert, the general rule is to find flavours that either match or complement what you’re drinking, and that’s as simple as checking the tasting notes.
Here, we’ve come up with some classic matches.
If you’re new to matching wine and chocolate, a bottle of limited-edition Brown Brothers Moscato Strawberries & Cream, a collaboration with Gelato Messina, is a good place to start. The hint is in the name. Go for a plain, good-quality milk chocolate or match a glass with strawberries dipped in milk chocolate. Making a complementary dessert? Milk chocolate mousse with a strawberry on top is perfect.
Dark chocolate, particularly with a cacao content greater than 70%, will have an intense bittersweet flavour that’s lovely with bolder, full-bodied red wines. Simply look for similar notes and flavours between the red wine and chocolate.
For example, Jim Barry ‘Barry & Sons’ Grenache Shiraz Malbec has notes of dark fruits and berries – blueberry, mulberry, cherry, plum – as well as savoury black olives. Go for a dark chocolate made using 70% or 80% cacao or look for those fruit flavours in a truffle from a specialty chocolatier. Olive flavours go well with salt, so try some dark-chocolate dipped pretzels. This GSM would also make a great match for a gooey dark chocolate brownie. If you’re making it yourself, stir through some frozen blueberries before baking.
White chocolate can be divisive, and plenty of purists don’t like it. Change their minds by leaving behind the obvious wine matches like a moscato or gewürztraminer, and instead serving pieces of good-quality white chocolate with Fortaleza Tequila Blanco. Along with cooked agave this quality sipper has citrus aromas and notes of lime, basil, olive and vanilla.
Look for handmade white chocolate flavoured with a hint of lemon or lime or, you’re having guests around, impress them by making white chocolate truffles rolled in toasted coconut to complement the citrus and lime notes.
Besides citrus and lime, mint is a delicious addition to tequila cocktails, so it makes sense to pair tequila with classic mint chocolate, too. For a refreshing twist on your after-dinner hot chocolate, add a little peppermint essence or creme de menthe liqueur along with a splash of tequila.
If your preferred tipple is a beer, there’s good news. A hearty dark ale or stout is a great match for dark chocolate. Again, look for anything with a cocoa content of more than 70% then identify underlying flavours in the beer.
Tinnies Stout has roasted coffee notes, so any type of dark chocolate infused with espresso would be a wonderful match, as would dark scorched almonds for that nutty goodness. You know what else would be excellent? A slice of rich dark chocolate cake. Search out a recipe for one made with stout and you’ve got a beer and chocolate match made in heaven.
Products featured are available from 06/03/23 to 11/04/23, while stocks last. Some products or varieties featured may not be available in all stores.