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Forget wine and cheese, let’s pair wine and chocolate!

Yes, traditionally wine is frequently matched to arrangement of cheese. Yet in a world filled with babies being named after directions; North, East or after planets; Mars or Jupiter, it’s clear our culture is a little less traditional. Wine and chocolate pairing is a modern yet an amazing journey that should be mandatory, I mean who doesn’t love wine and chocolate?

Personally, I’m not a fan of cheese and tend to avoid it like the plague (pizza is the only exception) and yet working in the wine industry people assume I would be a cheese connoisseur as much as a wine connoisseur. To avoid all the shocked looks, I promptly share my passion for wine and chocolate pairing. The shocked looks quickly become a surge of smiles and questions of how to pair these two beauties.

There are few simple guidelines to create a match made in heaven.

Tasting order

Just like tasting wines, start with the lighter to fuller bodied wines and progress from dry to sweeter wines. This will allow your pallet to appreciate the true characteristics of each match.

Matching

The simplest rule of wine and chocolate matching; the sweeter the wine, the sweeter the chocolate. If you’ve got a robust shiraz or cabernet sauvignon you’re best to pair it with a bitter dark chocolate with high levels of cocoa.

Quality

High quality chocolate is hard to beat, filled with real cocoa instead of palm oil, it really does make a statement. I would suggest getting a range of premium chocolate and create your own wine and chocolate degustation. Yum!

Appreciation process

Smell the chocolate and enjoy the aromas before trying a piece. Let the chocolate slowly melt in your mouth. Similar with wines make sure to inhale through your mouth to increase the perception by your senses. Once you’ve appreciated the chocolate, then move onto the wine and follow the same process. Now it’s time to try both wine and chocolate together. Take a piece of chocolate, allow it to melt before carefully taking a sip of wine. Think about the flavour combination, the complexity and how they complement one another. Drink some water or enjoy a pallet cleanser between each wine and chocolate pairing.

Here are some of my favourite wine and chocolate combinations:

Jeanneret Big Fine Girl Riesling Lindt Extra Creamy Milk Chocolate

The citrus characteristics along with the acidity from the Riesling cuts through creamy rich cocoa butter components of the milk chocolate. This combination very approachable for those not daring to venture into the bitter cocoa chocolates.

Jeanneret Rosé Haigh’s White Strawberry Block

My personal favourite combination! The creamy and smooth white chocolate contains little fresh bursts of strawberries. These beautifully compliments the vibrant strawberry, raspberry characteristics in this Rose.

Jeanneret Cabernet Malbec – Cadbury Dark Milk Sweet Zingy Raspberry

A wine full of luscious red and dark fruit characters, the medium to full body leans towards a blend of milk and dark chocolate. Thanks to Cadbury’s latest release we can now pair this with the tantalising Dark Milk. The ‘Sweet Zingy Raspberry’ adds another dimensions and works nicely on the palate.

Jeanneret Rank & File ShirazLindt Dark Chocolate 78% cocoa

A wine filled with spicy, peppery, chocolaty notes that is rich and robust. This wine definitely requires a richly dark and bitter chocolate. Consuming 78% cocoa chocolate alone isn’t for everyone but paired with the wine it’s a delicious combination. Perfect for this cold winter.

Jeanneret Hummer Merlot ShirazDark chocolate coated blueberries

A very close second favourite. This wine is luscious, rich, soft and yet very generous. The juicy fruit characteristics is a matched made in heaven with the tiny bursts of blueberries covered in a sweet darker chocolate.

Jeanneret Stand & Deliver Shiraz – Lindt Dark Chocolate 90% cocoa

A BIG, rich and powerful wine can only be matched with the darkest of chocolates. A mouthful of Lindt’s 90% cocoa together with Stand & Deliver Shiraz creates complexity on another level, let’s say it makes a big, bold statement!

Jeanneret 25yr old Rabelos Tawny PortHaigh’s Milk Praline Truffles

Both Rabelos and truffles are sweet, yet truly compliment each other. The silky milk chocolate filled with caramel nutty praline highlights the sweet sticky notes within this Tawny. Simply stunning. 

Like anything when you’ve learnt the theory it’s only fitting to place everything into practice. With your new knowledge, invite over some friends and devour in these combinations or be adventurist and discover your own favourite blends. Enjoy two of life’s pleasures together, wine and chocolate!

 

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