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Food

The Essential Chocolate and Wine Pairing Guide

When you want a go-to guide for wine and chocolate pairing, here’s what you really need to know – simply put, chocolate is delicious; wine is delicious; eating chocolate while drinking wine is doubly delicious.

Matching wine with chocolate is all about balance. While there are several factors to consider, finding the right balance needn’t be complicated; simply look at the most obvious characters of both the wine and the chocolate – are they rich, light, full-flavoured, bitter, dry or sweet?

Here’s a brief overview to help you find your new favourite matches.

Wine and Chocolate Pairing – an Infographic Guide

wine and chocolate pairing infographic guide

Dark/Bittersweet Chocolate

Dark chocolates with 70% to 100% cacao are the most intense. They are richly flavoured and feature a combination of roasted, fruity, earthy, woody, ashy or nutty notes. Wines that are good matches to bittersweet styles will also match with semisweet chocolate.

With intense flavours, dark and bittersweet chocolates usually call for bolder, denser and fuller-bodied red wines that have more concentrated fruit notes. They’re also delicious served with a vintage Tawny Port.

Cabernet Sauvignon and dark chocolate usually work well together, and if there was to be one generic chocolate and wine suggestion, it would be this one. Because Cabernet Sauvignon is generally full-bodied, it needs to be matched with intense flavours, so turning up the cocoa content in the chocolate is key.

The fruit intensity and medium to full bodied nature of Shiraz make for a rich and mouth-filling combination. The key is starting with a chocolate with over 50% cocoa content and matching the general fruit flavours of the wine to a complementary chocolate flavour.

Grenache matches well with heavier chocolates as it has good sweet fruit weight and is low in tannins which can balance out the bitterness of dark chocolate.

Suggested varietal matches: Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache, Malbec, Merlot, Tawny Port, Shiraz, and Zinfandel

Milk Chocolate

Milk chocolate has a smaller percentage of cacao and a higher percentage of sugar. This factor, plus the milk content means it’s milder, and sweeter with flavours including brown sugar, cocoa, vanilla, honey, caramel, milk, cream, nutty and/or malt.

Milk chocolate pairs nicely with lighter, fruiter and lower alcohol reds or try a fortified wine such as Muscat or Tokay – its butterscotch, toffee and nutty nuances highlight milk chocolate’s nutty and caramel notes and enhance the overall flavour. If you’re partial to aged Sparkling reds, their complex savoury characters make them perfect for desserts and flavoured chocolates.

Suggested varietal matches: Muscat, Tokay, and aged Sparkling reds.

White Chocolate

Even though it is referred to as white chocolate, this style technically isn’t a true chocolate as it doesn’t include cocoa, but cocoa butter, sugar and milk solids. Its sweet flavours of cream, milk, honey, vanilla, caramel or fruit makes it quite a versatile pair with wine.

A delicious match is Australian Moscato which tend to be light aromatic and fruity and often have a slight spritz that lifts and refreshes the palate. The apricot, stonefruit and lychee flavours lend them to finer lighter chocolate, white chocolate and mousses. Late-harvest Riesling has an exotic sweetness that complements the vanilla, caramel and honey flavours of white chocolate, while Gewürztraminer has a slight sweetness plus typical lychee fruit that also makes it a favourite.

Suggested varietal matches: Semi-dry Sparkling whites, Gewurtztraminer, Moscato, and Late-harvest Riesling.

Discover Your Favourites

As each and every one of us has a unique palate, likes and dislikes, the only proven way to find your favourite chocolate and wine match is to experiment and we all know what a tough job that will be.

How about sea salt caramel with Prosecco, dark raspberry with a Cabernet, dark orange with a Botrytis Semillon, or dark chilli with a Cabernet Merlot?

Chocolate Indulgence

If you’re looking to indulge someone special, score some brownie points (par the pun) or just want to treat yourself to some homemade chocolatey goodness, here are some guaranteed winning Selector recipes you’ll absolutely adore.

Lyndey Milan's chocolate and raspberry brownies

Chocolate Parfait Recipe

Simple chocolate sour cream cake with coffee and spiced dates recipe

Chocolate fondant with mandarin and Ice-cream recipe

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Life
Haigh’s Chocolates – a legacy of quality
Over 100 years ago, Alfred Haigh had grand plans for his new business, but he never would have dreamed of the love the world has developed for his family’s chocolate.  While wine-lovers know South Australia as the home of multi-generational family-owned wineries – Yalumba , Henschke , d’Arenberg , to name a few – for chocolate lovers, the state is synonymous with the multi-generational Haigh family. Today, Haigh’s is in the hands of the fourth generation and in 2015 celebrated its centenary – one of only a few Australian enterprises to have family maintained continuity for 100 years. Beehive Beginnings
The first Haigh’s store opened in Adelaide’s historic Beehive Building in 1915, the dream of Alfred Haigh. Having been a confectioner’s shop, the business came with the former owner’s equipment, moulds, recipes and books – everything a budding self-taught confectioner needed to perfect his craft. Following Alf was his son, Claude, who kept the business humming through the trials of the Depression and war years, while also establishing a name in the thoroughbred racing industry. The 1950s saw Claude’s son John take over after a stint working at Lindt & Sprüngli in Switzerland. This experience was invaluable for both John and Haigh’s, as on his return, he set about revamping the family’s chocolate-making operations. John has been succeeded by his sons, Alister and Simon, who continue the family tradition of producing premium chocolate and expanding the company’s retail network, selling Haigh’s products all over Australia. A caring approach With an eye to Haigh’s continuing well into the future, the family is committed to the environment and sustainability. As such, 80% of its cocoa beans are UTZ-certified , which ensures traceability back to the grower and a fair return for producers and improving the lives of the farming community. The family also prides itself on its cultural, philanthropic and conservation work. So next time you’re savouring a Haigh’s truffle, relishing an Easter bilby or luxuriating in their Original Fruit Chocolates, consider the legacy of quality behind every bite. View the range instore or at  haighschocolates.com.au
Food
Curry recipes and wine matching ideas
Find the perfect curry dish for your wine with this easy to follow wine pairing guide. Full of deep, satisfying flavour, comforting curries are world-wide favourites. The amazing array of curry choices from Thai and Malay, to Indian and Sri Lankan and more, offer a huge range of heat and texture variations, as well as delicate, warm and fiery spices. While it’s easier to match wine with the milder, aromatic curries, if you’re going hot, stick with light and aromatic whites or light to medium weight and savoury reds and don’t forget the classic match of off-dry Riesling which is the perfect way to enjoy a fiery feast. Check out the guide below for more curry and wine matching ideas from the Wine Selectors Tasting Panel . Curry Wine Matching 101 Light and aromatic white wines
“Living near the ocean, I’m lucky to have access to a local seafood co-op that always has fantastic fresh fish for my favourite curry,” explains Nicole Gow. “Fish curry, steamed rice and banana salsa is so easy to make and so delicious served with a glass of a Riesling .” Other light weight and aromatic whites like Sauvignon Blanc and blends , Gewürtztraminer and Pinot G are also perfect choices. Recomended recipe:  Fish curry, steamed rice and banana salsa Medium Weight & Textural White Wines
“My family are mad for chicken coconut curry, and it’s a regular request at our place,” says Tasting Panellist, Trent Mannell. “While the kids are still a little too young for wine, I love to serve it with a tropical, fruit-driven Verdelho or a fresh, modern Australian Chardonnay.” Similar weight to unoaked Chardonnay, and with good acidity, the alternative varieties of Arneis and Fiano are also great matches. Recommended Recipe:   Lyndey Milan's chicken coconut curry Light to Medium Weight & Savoury Red Wines
Most people don’t think to pair seafood and pineapple with red wines, but Tasting Panellist Adam Walls says when combined with curry it’s a perfect match. “A spicy dish like Poh’s prawn and pineapple curry is a winner paired with light to light to medium weight reds with softer tannins and fruit sweetness offsetting the heat in the dish,” he explains. Try it with Pinot Noir , Merlot, Grenache, GSM blends or Nero d’Avola. Recommended recipe : Poh’s prawn and pineapple curry Richer and Fuller Bodied Reds
Tasting Panellist, Dave Mavor loves spending his holidays travelling throughout Asia. “I’ve had some of the best massaman curry experiences in Thailand and Malaysia, but unfortunately the restaurants only served beer,” he explains. “The rich, full-bodied flavours of curries like massaman beef cheek curry with pearl cous cous need a wine that can match its generosity.” Classic red choices include Shiraz blends and Cabernet blends, or go for a Tempranillo or Sangiovese . Recommended recipe:    Massaman beef cheek curry with pearl cous cous Stick the Tasting Panel’s suggestions and you can’t go wrong. Add a touch of spice and curry goodness to your weekly dinner repertoire with more delicious recipes .
Two Blues Sauvignon Blanc 2014
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