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Can chocolate and wine ever achieve the famed status of everyone’s favorite golden couple, cheese and wine? Many people will argue that they can. Consider, they will say, that chocolate, just like cheese, is a dairy product. And, they will point out what those gastronomic trendsetters, the French and the Italians, have decisively demonstrated, time and time again, that the proteins and fats in dairy products soften a wine’s astringency. Shouldn’t chocolates have a similar effect on the harsh tannins and acids in a wine? Chocolate proponents will also stress that, like both cheese and wine, their product is crafted in an endless variety of styles, flavors and textures that reveal aspects of the particular country, region and culture that produced them. For these reasons, wine aficionados can and should strive to develop an affinity for these delicious goodies and master the art of pairing them with wine correctly.
Good points, all. Now I can confidently unite chocolate and wine at every gathering without hesitation, right? Wrong. While cheese and chocolate do share a number of similarities, which at first glance seem to indicate that they can both lend themselves to successful pairings with wine, chocolate boasts an added component that tarnishes the flavors of most wines. That ingredient is sugar. The more sugary the chocolate the more difficult it is to pair with wine successfully, because the sugar will overpower and overshadow all but the most robust wines. I know that it may seem like a good idea to serve those brownies with your favorite Cabernet (it says on the label that it has cocoa flavors doesn’t it?), but for the sake of that innocent bottle, please restrain yourself.
That being said, it is not my intention to dissuade you from serving chocolate with wine, but rather to encourage you to be extra particular and prudent before setting down a wine with your truffles. A successful pairing of wine and chocolate can prove just as rewarding as a chocolate and cheese combo, but it takes more energy on the part of the host to unite the two. This shidduch demands a matchmaker of extraordinary skill and knowledge. If you have no such maven around to
make your chocolate and wine matches for you, you can follow the guidelines I have listed below.
Chocolate and wine pairing, does prove a challenge, but if done correctly can highlight the special flavors, aromas and textures of both foods. This Valentine’s day treat your loved ones to a special chocolate and wine pairing and prove to them that this match can be just as satisfying as the more popular cheese and wine coupling.