Forget what you’ve heard, experts say wine and chocolate are actually a bad combination.
Sure, wine and chocolate are two of the most popular after-work treats for adults, but contrary to popular beliefs, not all good things go together. We know know this may be shocking, disappointing, and utterly sad but the two just don’t mesh on a culinary level according to experts. Apparently acidity on acidity is a bad mix.
“Wine and chocolate contain acidity,” explains Michael Klug, chocolatier at L.A. Burdick Chocolate. “Chocolate has the cocoa acidity that is most pronounced in dark chocolate. Some dark chocolates have a high cocoa acidity, some have lower. The acidity also varies with type of cocoa and origin of the beans. Wine also is carried by the acidity of the grapes and of course is very different with the varietal of grapes and regions as well.”
Sigh, this is scary stuff, because we’ve all been lusting after the combination of the two most magical treats. The good news is, some pairings are worse than others when it comes to wine and chocolate.
“I always experienced that the majority of wines clash with chocolate, because of the different acidities in both products. In most cases the wine loses all of its finesse and can taste quite astringent and harsh when paired with most chocolates. In particular, dry white wines and Champagne are a very off setting experience when paired with chocolate. But also, most dry red wines don’t have a harmonious pairing with dark chocolate. However fortified wines like port wine, Madeira, Banyuls can match some dark chocolates and some chocolate desserts.”
READ MORE: Pairing Wine with Diet Foods
That’s a total relief, because if chocolate cake and port were off the table as a combo, we wouldn’t really understand the point of dessert in general.
“The acidity is balanced with a higher sugar level and the higher alcohol also contributes to a more balancing flavor pairing. But having a nice Chateau Cheval Blanc, Cote Rotie, Gevery-Chambertin or Insigna, I highly think that we should publish that the pairing of fine wines with chocolate was a trend that we should step away from,” explains Klug. “A lot of Sommeliers share the same opinion.”
He’s right, because Blake Leonard, Certified Sommelier and Brand Manager for Stew Leonard’s, seems to agree. “My teacher at the Culinary Institute of America, Christie Dufault, engrained in our heads while students that sweet wines pair with desserts that they are sweeter than. You can apply this rule to any chocolate you’re eating. My go to is 85% dark chocolate with Port wine.”
If you’re wondering, yes, there are spirits that pair exceptionally well with chocolate, so you don’t have to have your truffles in a field of sobriety. “Fortified wines like Port wine, Madeira, Banyuls maybe a robust Zinfandel can make the pairing work,” says Michael. “But there are better beverage choices with chocolate than wine. Most spirits are balancing better the cocoa acidity and also can have some alcoholic structure that can match the rich, cocoa butter based strength of chocolate.”
What does that mean? It means whiskey is one of the best items to pair with chocolate, and that’s exciting for anyone who knows the health benefits of whiskey and just how delish it is.
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