Wine & Chocolate- Processed for Pairing Perfection

By: Taylor Ziolkowski

Wine and chocolate, a brilliantly timeless pairing—undisputed and appreciated by connoisseurs of both delicacies. Until recently, wine drinkers and chocolate consumers alike were hard pressed to find these two products working in collaboration with one another. Considering the palatable marriage produced by their association, the lovers of these two fruits strive to reach beyond traditional boundaries of taste, and push the limits of their palates.

In reference to my previous blog, the flavor profile of these fruits is dependent upon soil and climate conditions in their respective growing regions. Despite the drastic differences in the growing climates, the cultivators aim to work in tandem with the physical environment to create the best flavor profile for their product. Furthermore, both the cacao and grape go through extensive fermentation to create the chocolate and wine that we enjoy. Just as winemakers utilize the grapes skin for tannin and acid development, chocolatiers work with the surrounding pulp of the bean to develop a bolder, sweeter product. It seems proper that these two go so well together, considering the similarities of their developmental processes.

So far, we have stressed the similarities between the creation of both chocolate and wine. It is only fitting that we now discuss the similarities between these two in terms of our palates. Hiding deep within the fruit’s chemistry is a key compound that defines the compatibility of any given chocolate and its wine counterpart. These chemicals, known as flavonoids, determine the fruits bitter, sweet, and acidic characteristics. The general consensus is that a given wine and a given chocolate pair well together when their flavonoid contents are similar. For example, dark chocolate pairs well with a full bodied Cab or old vine Zin; whereas milk chocolate is better complimented by a lighter bodied Merlot or or Pinot Noir.

So, before you embark on you next pairing journey, remember that it is recommended to pair elegant with elegant, and bold with bold. The marriage they create will leave an everlasting impact on your palate. Consider taking a risk and trying something a bit more eccentric than you are used to; you may be pleasantly surprised.