The Perfect Pairing

February 16, 2017

If you were the recipient of one or two boxes of chocolates this Valentine’s Day, or let’s be honest, you bought all the left over chocolate on sale, have we got the perfect pairing for you. It’s not revolutionary, but we couldn’t think of a better combo than chocolate and wine – and best yet – we’ve got step-by-step instructions for you to conduct your own personal at home tasting. So, if you want to know the general tasting rules before you break them, keep on reading – we promise your mouth will be watering by the end.

There are three key points to keep in mind when planning your tasting:

1. Your wine should always be sweeter than your chocolate. For instance, if you paired a milk chocolate with red wine, the red wine will overpower the subtle notes of the creamy, milk chocolate.

2. Pair chocolate and wine according to colour: The darker the chocolate, the darker the wine.

3. Try to match the smoothness and full-body flavours of the wine to the chocolate. You’re looking to match the intensities with this one. The higher the cocoa content, the more intense the flavour, and therefore, a heavier bodied wine is required.

After you’ve got the chocolate and perfect wine to match, consider the following steps courtesy of the experts at Purdy’s as you tantalize your taste buds:

1. Always taste the wine first. Chocolate contains cocoa butter that coats the inside of your mouth and masks the flavour of the wine.

2. Before tasting the wine, check its colour and clarity.

3. Swirl the wine in the glass. This helps to release the aroma of the wine and give you an indication of alcohol content.

4. How is the aroma of the wine: fruity, floral, herby or oaky?

5. Take a sip. How does the body of the wine feel, thin or heavy?

6. Evaluate the tannins: Is there a puckering sensation? Does the wine make your mouth feel dry?

7. Evaluate the acidity level of the wine.

8. Before the taste of the wine dissipates, taste your chocolate.

When the unique flavours of the wine and chocolate marry together in your mouth, you’ve reached the “magic moment” for a truly sensational taste experience. If you can’t handle the temptation and you just want to dive right in, go ahead. Below is a cheat sheet of basic wines to pair with varying chocolate notes and ingredients.

Zinfandel, Syrah, Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon: Pair with any solid dark Peruvian, Ecuadorian, Chilean chocolate, the classic Chocolate Truffle or the tasty Turona

Pinot Noir, a Light Merlot or Cabernet: Kahlua, Ice Wine or Dark Chocolate Truffles

Champagne or Rose: White Cameo Truffle or White Silk

Chardonnay or Riesling: Hedgehog Minis, Grand Marnier or Goat Cheese and Chardonnay Truffles

Pinot Grigio: Milk chocolate Haystacks with toasted almonds and plain or salted caramel   

Not a wine drinker? Never fear, Purdy’s has got you covered with a full list of chocolate and tea, or chocolate and cheese pairings. To read more click here. If you don’t have them already, pick up your tasting supplies from Purdy’s Chocolatier and the Liquor Depot at Londonderry.

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