Forget the nay-sayers who claim chocolate and wine simply don’t go well together, our Head Sommelier, Michael Driscoll, explains why its a match made in heaven.
Here are a selection of wines Michael has paired with chocolate from local producers 'Choose Chocolate'.
White Chocolate – all about cocoa fat, which makes white chocolate very versatile and a bit of a Sommelier's dream!
'Choose Chocolate's' Strawberries and Cream chocolate would match perfectly with Champagne. Personally I would go for Demi-Sec Champagne, matching sweetness for sweetness, plus it’s just pure decadence! Or, go down the Rosé route and choose something like Rosé Port. It's a bit of a trend that’s exploded out of Portugal over the last year or so, not that widely available in the UK market, but if you look hard enough, you’ll find it.
'Choose Chocolate's' Lavender and Shortbread chocolate would be ideal with a sweet, luscious late-harvest Riesling. It’s worth looking for a Beerenauslese Riesling, as they are typically very sweet but not as teeth-grinding as an Icewein.
Milk Chocolate – Milkier, creamier and has more of a fattiness to it than Dark Chocolate, the pairings can be stunning if you get them right!
'Choose Chocolate's' Fudge and Pistachio chocolate would pair well with a red wine like Amarone della Valpolicella. In its best years, it's very raisin-like, yet has a freshness. The alcohol content will easily surpass 14% ABV so beware, this is not a red wine to be taken lightly!
'Choose Chocolate's' Millionaire Shortbread chocolate - All day long I would recommend a Sherry to pair with this particular type of chocolate. I would go for Gonzalez Byass 1847 Oloroso Cream Sherry, a sweet sherry but a complex wine that really embraces chocolate that has a lot of other domineering flavours and components to it.
Dark Chocolate – Dark Chocolate doesn’t like sharing space with anything else on the palate, so beware and check the percentage of cocoa, as the higher the percentage, the more alpha it will be when it comes to wine pairing.
'Choose Chocolate's' Raspberry, Strawberry, Caramel chocolate would work perfectly with a Vin Santo. A very agreeable pairing with a classic dessert wine that’s getting a lot of praise at the moment for its versatility.
'Choose Chocolate's' Strawberry and Honeycomb chocolate would be great with a good old-fashioned Banyuls from the South of France. Banyuls is nearly made in the same way as Port but there is a higher sugar level to consider. Typically Grenache dominant, this is a gorgeous wine made in the South. Chapoutier does an outstanding one which I would urge people to try.
Try 'Choose Chocolate's' Rhubarb and Ginger Jam chocolate with a Zinfandel from Puglia. Known more commonly in Italy as Primitivo, it's a very robust, jammy, fruity and medium-full bodied wine. Plus, Primitivo or Zinfandel goes very well with chocolate anyway, so it is a natural pairing!
'Choose Chocolate's' Cherry and Coconut Caramel chocolate is anorher great partner to Sherry. On this occasion, I’m leaning towards Amontillado (give Romate Sanchez a go for a classic Amontillado) with its tendency to accentuate the nutty, milkiness of Coconut, it will let the Cherry go crazy in the mouth.
Perfectly paired by Cambium's Sommelier, Michael Driscoll. To book a table at our restaurant in the New Forest please call 01590 623551 or book online.