Stories about pairing wine and chocolate abound as Valentine's Day nears. Frankly, I haven't been a fan of the match. I've heard some of my best wine-drinking friends orgasm over a piece of dark chocolate consumed with cabernet sauvignon. Yet, it's a match that can be enjoyed only after a mind-numbing quantity of wine.
I was recently asked to do a wine tasting event featuring chocolate and wine for a community in my home town. However much I dreaded the event, it was an eye-opening I eventually enjoyed. In short, I learned that chocolate of all kinds can be paired with wine -- as long as the wine is sweet.
The sugar content in chocolate needs to be pair with a sweet wine because tannin and acidity just don't marry well. Taken a step further, white chocolate doesn't contain any cacao, so it calls for a sweet wine wine. I poured a moscato d'Asti and it was a dream match.
Milk chocolate is probably the easiest match but you need something smooth to complement the butter in this chocolate. I chose a tawny port and it worked well, although I would have liked to have tried a ruby port. The tawny wasn't as sweet, which was what I was looking for.
Dark chocolate is the toughest match because it's bitter. I went for a heavier wine -- a late harvest zinfandel. It had the sweetness, the strong alcohol content and the density to confront the chocolate's bitterness.
So, yes, chocolate can be matched with wine. But, why? Perhaps it's the hedonistic experience you are looking for: both were consider aphrodisiacs. Both are healthy. Both even use the same yeasts. But, at the end of a meal when the chocolate is put on the table, who is looking for sweet wine? At my table, most diners have had enough wine and are either coasting, drinking water or asking for coffee.