The Masters of Wine at the London Wine Academy have brought us some great tips on how to match chocolate and wine perfectly so that you get the best out of both of them.
It’s all about the senses and making sure we’re not only using our eyes but our noses and taste buds to explore our food and detect all of the wonderful aromas and tastes!
The Masters of Wine insist that it isn’t too difficult but they have put together some simple rules for us to follow, enjoy!
Top Tips from the London Wine Academy
• Did you know that the wine must be at least as sweet as the food for a good match? It is a common misconception that rosé Champagne and strawberries are good together – the Champagne is actually much too dry. The fact that they are both pink doesn’t mean they will work together! A sweet-flavoured Champagne such as Demi-Sec goes well with fruit desserts.
• Weight (meaning strength of flavour) is crucial to successful food and wine pairing. In wine, certain grapes are more concentrated or ‘heavier’ than others. The level of alcohol also adds to the ‘weight’ of a wine with more alcohol equalling a heavier wine. Your food and wine should be of similar weight. A light sushi dish will be completely overpowered by a heavy wine. A white chocolate needs a light, creamy wine whilst a 70% dark chocolate demands a heavy red.
• Sometimes food and wines go together when they share common flavours, for instance a spicy wine will often work with a spicy dish. A nutty wine will often work with a dish containing nuts. A ‘chocolatey’ wine may work with chocolate (if it is sweet enough).
• Chocolate is a difficult food to match because it clings on to your taste buds. Wines that match well with Chocolate are often fortified, as the extra power helps to cut through the chocolate. Sweet sparkling wines are also a great match with some types of chocolate as the bubbles help to dislodge the chocolate and thereby refresh your taste-buds.
• Pair chocolate and wine according to the darkness of the chocolate: the darker the chocolate, the darker the wine should be. Darker chocolate will display more tannin on the palate and hence needs to be matched with a wine with higher tannins, such as port. However, the sweetness in the port balances the bitter tannins beautifully.
Ferrero & Wine Perfect Pairings:
The classic Ferrero Rocher, with its mouth-watering layers of creamy filling, crispy wafer and a delicious whole hazelnut, all enveloped in a rich layer of milk chocolate, is the perfect match for the spicy Croix Milhas Rivesaltes Ambré (Languedoc-Roussillon, France), which is smooth thanks to prolonged cask ageing.
The wine’s mature caramel and marmalade notes combine perfectly with Ferrero Rocher’s delicious hazelnut cream and the wine’s complex, nutty character harmonises with the praline layers and whole hazelnut. A match made in heaven!
The delicate Raffaello by Ferrero, an enchantingly tasty chocolate alternative, with its light coconut wafer, creamy interior and toasted almond centre, is enhanced by the creamy bubbles and sweetness of Martini Asti NV (Piedmont, Italy).
The wine’s delicate Muscat grape and peach notes work beautifully with Raffaello’s coconut ‘snow’ and almond flavours, and the wine’s fine acidity and effervescence lifts the combination to near perfect taste sensation.
Ferrero Rond Noir, a deliciously indulgent darker-chocolate treat featuring alluring layers of delicate wafer and smooth chocolate cream, with a dark chocolate almond pearl hidden at its centre, works beautifully with the lush black cherry and spice of the Dows Finest Reserve Port (Duero, Portugal).
The port’s character compliments the oozing dark chocolate cream and the cherry-like acidity cuts through the velvety dark chocolate. A deeply satisfying after-dinner treat which will lure and delight!
Or try all three matches with a box of Ferrero Collection, featuring three deliciously different layered delights – the unique Ferrero Rocher, the darker chocolatey, Ferrero Rond Noir, and the creamy and light Raffaello by Ferrero – perfect for pleasing any taste buds.
Did you know:
• In the UK sweet and fortified wines are consumed almost exclusively (90%) at Christmas. This seems a great shame when they are so delicious!
• Sweet and fortified wines are nearly always more complex than their dry counterparts. This is thanks to the production methods which as well as concentrating sweetness, concentrate flavours. Because they are seen as ‘old fashioned’ they often offer outstanding value for money.
• Did you know that wines from the Old World (France, Italy etc.) are often better with food than wines from the New World (Australia, NZ, Argentina etc.)? This is because they are less alcoholic, more subtle and have higher acidity which cuts through the food, washing your taste buds clean, ready for the next bite! That said chocolate works better with very ripe wines with soft tannins, as tannins have a drying effect on the mouth.
Cara Mason @FemaleFirst_UK