Pairing Chocolate and Alcohol: tips and recommendations
Chocolate and alcohol, what else? This is a so simple relationship we often forget how great is to eat a block of chocolate with a glass of wine or a whiskey; and this relation is so deep you need to be very careful in choosing the right spirit/wine for your chocolate otherwise the flavor will not exactly be pleasant. How to pair chocolate and alcohol, then?
Generally speaking, you always need to balance the flavors so if you’re having a very strong and bitter chocolate you need to drink a sweeter spirit or wine to compensate and vice versa; it’s a matter of taste and it also depends by how disruptive you want to be. When pairing chocolate with alcohol always look for one that is very low in tannins as well as acidity since chocolate contains all these 2 elements (same for tea: always stick to teas that are low in tannins, such as flower teas).
You can experiment with different types of spirits and wines and find the right combination for your palate but there are certain pairs that really don’t go together; pairing chocolate with wines has been the main focus of a recent masterclass Lindt has decided to organize in Dublin to show us how to pair these 2 products in the perfect way. And I’m telling you, this has been a revelatory experience.
Mastering the art of chocolate pairing with Lindt
Lindt is very well known for its chocolate and also its Excellence range, a variety of milk and dark chocolate combinations to give way to a unique and elegant mouth feel. The masterclass has shown the participants how to the Lindt Excellence range with wines and spirits following this scheme:
- 70% cocoa goes very well with Merlot wine;
- 85% cocoa goes very well with Muscat wine;
- 90% cocoa goes very well with Port wine;
- Caramel chocolate goes very well with Prosecco;
Orange chocolate goes very well with Madeira wine;
- Sea salt chocolate goes very well with Zinfandel wine;
- Chilli chocolate goes very well with Ripasso di Valpolicella wine and also with whiskey;
- Extra creamy chocolate goes very well with Port wine;
- Cherry intense goes very well with Sauternes wine;
- Blueberry intense goes with Moscato wine;
- Strawberry intense goes with rosé wine.
The above suggestions are based on the combinations offered by the Lindt Maitres Chocolatiers but they can be clearly modified based on your personal taste; just as an example, I didn’t like very much the Orange Chocolate with the Madeira wine because it’s too sweet for me but I definitely have loved the whiskey paired with the chilli chocolate.
Can you use the same recommendations for other chocolate as well?
You can do everything you want, of course, but always paying attention to compensate the 2 products otherwise your pairing won’t be as good as you think it should be. The followings are a few good pairings you should try:
Moscatel, Sherry, Port, Muscat
Vin Santo, Port, Zinfandel, Banyuls, Chinato, Maury
Learning how to pair chocolate and wines can be a good way to experience something new and eventually use this knowledge for unusual Christmas presents, for both chocolate and spirits lovers.
[Pics by Giuseppe during the Lindt Ireland event in Medley, Dublin]