Wine and chocolate are a match made in heaven – if you know how to pair them. Here, we checked in with our friends at Lindt Chocolate for a little cheat sheet. Read up below, and then get ready to seriously impress friends and family at your next dinner party.
- Start with a lighter wine and pair it with chocolate that has a low cocoa percentage. Then work your way up to bolder wines and extra-dark chocolate.
- Always taste the wine and chocolate separately before trying them together.
- When pairing: Take a small bite of chocolate, then as the flavor is fading, have a sip of wine. Note how the flavors change and interact with each other.
- Chocolate with a hint of sea salt (we recommend trying Lindt Excellence A Touch of Sea Salt) is the perfect match for a light Rosé. The ripe berries and floral notes from the wine complement the sharp tastes of sea salt and dark chocolate.
- Full-bodied wines go best with a high cocoa content. Try a rich Cabernet Sauvignon with a dark chocolate like Lindt Excellence 70% Cocoa.
- For a combo with a warm burst, pair a spice-infused chocolate (we suggest Lindt Excellence Chili) with a deep Syrah.
- Citrus-flavored chocolate (ahem, orange) pairs best with lighter wine, like a crisp Chardonnay. The full fruit flavors balance out the acidity for a smooth, sweet flavor.
Click here for more tips (and some incredible chocolate).
By Mairead McGonagle, Staff Writer
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Tips from an acclaimed cheese expert
The perfect cheese plate. Knowing how to assemble it – and match it with wine – is a hosting essential. So before you throw together a hodgepodge of grocery store cheeses for your next dinner party, peep these tips from David Seaton, former cheesemonger at Formaggio Kitchen and now the wine, cheese, and charcuterie director at Spoke Wine Bar, opening in February in Somerville, MA:
Choose Your Cheeses
- Start with a simple, balanced mix of cheeses, such as a mild goat cheese, a buttery Brie, and an earthy, hard cheese like Gruyère.
- “A ‘tasting portion’ of cheese should be in the realm of 3/4 of an ounce per person,” Seaton says, “but if you do have some left over, there are worse problems!”
- Buy your cheese the day of or the day before your gathering and leave it out at room temperature (65 – 70 degrees). Serving cheese cold will “mute or mask the flavors,” but if you do have to refrigerate it, “make sure it is wrapped in butcher paper or cheese paper and keep it in the crisper section” to prevent it from drying out.
Add Your Extras
- Accoutrements should be “a backdrop to the cheese.” Seaton suggests offering a jam or marmalade, roasted mixed nuts, and fresh or dried fruit for texture and flavor. As for the vehicle? Bread and crackers “are both pretty neutral, so you won’t do much harm even choosing a seeded bread.”
- When it comes to cured meats, the occasion is king: “If you’re having a formal gathering, charcuterie should be on a separate platter. If you have guests coming over to watch the hockey game or Golden Globes, do what you want.”
- Serve your cheese on a wooden cheese board for a rustic appearance, or make your own cheese plate.
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