Here our Executive Chef Chocolatier Thierry Muret offers a selection of wines to pair with the new G by Godiva 68% dark chocolate bar:
As a Godiva chocolatier, I am often asked what the science is behind pairing chocolate with wine.
There’s no one right answer to this question – the goal is to make both chocolate and wine taste better when consumed together, so pairings depend on what you’re eating and what you like to drink. While there’s no exact science to the art of food and wine pairing, I have compiled some simple rules you may wish to follow to enhance your taste experience.
Matching chocolate and wine follows the same principles as pairing wine with any other food. Before making any decisions, you should first determine both the intensity of a dish and its key ingredients.
‘Intensity’ in food and wine refers to its weight, which depends on things such as sugar, acid, salt, spice and so on. Because the food shouldn’t overpower the wine (or vice versa), you want to complement the weight of the chocolate with the weight of a wine, matching the drink to the most prominent elements in a dish.
Ultimately, my most important pairing rule to follow is to drink what you like! No pairing recommendation will ever be successful unless you enjoy what’s in your glass!
Pairing Wine & Chocolate
For the purposes of our taste test, let’s use Godiva’s exciting new 68% single origin Mexican chocolate as an example. The rich, dark chocolate has a slightly acidic medium-to-high bitterness with hints of liquorice, ripe blue and black plums, blueberry and tabacé (cultivated tobacco leaves) and as such, it is a powerful origin chocolate.
Below, I have selected three beautiful wines that complement the chocolate in different ways.
1) A Sweet Combination - Jurancon Moelleux (France)
This is an excellent dessert wine with a silky-sweet nature, which is supported by enormous freshness. There is plenty of fruit present, such as apricots or preserved citrus, to help lift the dark chocolate.
What to watch out for: There are also ‘sec’ versions in circulation – avoid these. Additionally, most wine producers make a number of cuvées with a higher sweetness content, so be careful in your selection.
Three beautiful wines complement the chocolate in different ways
2) A Fruity Combination - Zinfandel, California (USA)
Most zinfandels have a rich ripe, hot-blooded fruit turbo with quite a high alcohol content, but there is also a huge variety of gastronomic alternatives. Riper Zinfandel often develops aromas and flavours of pure, toasty oak chocolate which make a perfect match for the fruity undertones of the dark chocolate.
What to watch out for: Zinfandel can sometimes have an exaggerated alcohol temperament – I recommend choosing one with an alcohol content of 15% at the most.
3) A Combined Note Combination - PX Sherry or cream Sherry (Spain)
The PX cuvées (100% Pedro Ximinez grapes) mix flavours of date paste, cacao, nuts, conserved figs and plum jam. As they are very syrupy, they complement the richer type of chocolate. The same goes for the cream sherry; impressions of vanilla, pudding and apricots, together with the sweet, velvety undertones ensure a perfect flavour match.
What to watch out for: There are two conditions for this pairing to succeed. Firstly, serve these rich sherries slightly cooled. Secondly, serve them in tiny amounts, as an indulgent combination with a ‘rich dark’ chocolate like the Godiva 68% Cacao Single Origin works best in a ‘less is more’ approach.