It just so happens that it is National Chocolate Week and what better excuse to publish the beginnings of what I hope to be a rich and long journey into the world of chocolate and wine pairing.
Almost everyone I know has a soft spot for these luxuries – often the go-to pickmeups, everyday consolers or celebratory aids which sadly have a reputation for not working together.
It’s true, they aren’t always the most comfortable bedfellows, but that’s no reason to believe that all wine and chocolate combinations are bad – I wanted to find something for the chocaholic, wine-lover which would tickle both of their fancies.
I had already met the team at Coco, a local artisan chocolate producer, and having tasted their chocolate (on numerous occasions) I knew they would be great people to explore this with. There isn’t a lot of good research out there so we decided to start with good old taste testing.
The deal was simple, I provided the wines Coco provided the chocolate and we would experiment and play with the combinations. We started with 9 wines of varying styles; sparkling, white, pink, red, fortified, dessert and LOTS of chocolates. We tried the wines then picked out chocolates by their flavours or textures and went back and forth, sipping, spitting (only the wines!) and comparing. The results were surprising and delighting, we found a number of really fascinating matches that we weren’t expecting to work.
One of the realisations for me was about chocolate quality, all of Coco’s chocolates use cocoa butter and no vegetable oil (a revelation to me, a mere choconovice) and this seemed to improve the textural quality as you added wine to the mix. Check the packet, cocoa butter rules!
Clearly there is more exploration to be done, but because we want to know what you think we’ll be introducing some wine and chocolate pairings into Coco and Convivium tastings in the next few weeks to get your feedback.
If you want to get tasting yourself here are my tips and our favourite matches :
This was an ‘oh’ moment. The wine is light, sweet and frothy and so works really well with the creamy texture of the white chocolate. The raspberries pick out the fruit salad character of the wine.
A real match made in heaven, I would serve it as a light dessert, or maybe even as breakfast!
The fact that this dark chocolate has fruity character, and that the wine has unmistakable juicy sweetness, help these two heavyweights meet in the middle. Granted, it’s a bit of a mouthful, we all agreed there was a clash as the two meet, but the after effect sees them meld and the finish is great, really long and spicy.
For people who like their chocolate on the bitter side.
I am a sherry nut so I adored this mix. This sherry is a blend of dry, nutty Oloroso and the very sweet raisiny PX (a bit like a fruit and nut bar), which is probably why this worked so well. The chocolate brought out the nuttiness of the wine and the wine added to the luxurious texture of the chocolate.
This is an indulgent and luxurious alternative to coffee and chocolates after a meal.
Coco Connoisseur evenings with wine – 23rd and 30th November, contact Coco (see below).
We will be featuring Coco Chocolates at The Wine Show WineTubeMap Tasting Tours in London 9th – 11th November and during our monthly Vino tastings.
174 Bruntsfield Place, Bruntsfield, Edinburgh, EH10 4ER Tel : 0131 228 4526
71 Broughton Street, Edinburgh, EH1 3RJ Tel : 0131 558 2777