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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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What grows together, goes together Wunderbar lamb and Mitchell Family wines.
Words by Paul Diamond on 7 Jan 2018
The Clare Valley is one of Australia’s most underrated wine regions, which is hard to fathom given it produces some of the finest Rieslings and intensely concentrated red wines in the country. No doubt, the pull of the Barossa has a lot to do with the underestimation of the Clare, but, if you can resist the urge to turn right at Gawler and stay on the A32, you’re in for a treat.  In addition to its wine cred, Clare is uniquely beautiful. The open landscape is a sea of wheat fields sprinkled with eucalypts and stone cottages beneath powder blue skies. 
Heinrich’s Wunderbar  You’ll also notice a few sheep along the way, as Clare, like much of Australia, was Merino country. But around 1959 when wool exports declined, families left in droves. One of the few that stuck with it were the Heinrichs of Black Springs and fifth generation Ben, along with his wife, Kerry and five children, continues to farm sheep on the family’s original 810ha property just east of Clare.  But while the sheds, tractors, machinery and utes all make this look like a stock standard farm, one look at the sheep and you realise Ben does things a bit differently to his ancestors.  Practically bald and with long tails, Ben’s sheep are a breed that sheds its wool, chosen as part of his humane, minimal intervention philosophy. This is underpinned by his adherence to the Humane Choice farming principles of which he is the only certified producer in Australia. “With no wool, we can give our sheep a better life, as there’s no mulesing, tail docking, crutching or shearing,” Ben explains. “My sheep are truly free range, paddock raised, no feed lots and we try to minimise human interaction with them as much as possible.” When it comes to conventional industries, sheep farming is close to the top. The practices are well entrenched over generations and traditions are not easy to break, especially when there are mouths to feed.  So why undertake such a radical change? For Ben, it was the knowledge that the ways of the past were not going to work. “Dad was running a self-replacing Merino flock and it wasn’t going so well,” Ben recalls. “Personally, I wasn’t cut out for it, I couldn’t see myself shearing, and Dad saw the writing on the wall. It was either going to be sheep with no wool, or no sheep at all!” So Ben, backed by his dad, started Wunderbar. They’ve since gone from strength to strength, now selling directly to butchers and chefs around the district and into Adelaide. Fans of their meat remark on how tender, flavoursome and lean it is, while chefs love to cook with it. High praise indeed.  A Delicious Seed Word of Ben’s lamb is spreading and one chef that sings Wundebar’s praises is Guy Parkinson, owner of Seed Winehouse +Kitchen in Clare. Guy and his partner, Candice, have run Seed since 2014 after travelling through Clare and deciding it was the place to set up shop. Seed is now a food and wine destination, drawing people from all over to sample Guy’s creative, trattoria-inspired cooking paired with Candice’s take on the Clare wine scene. The couple had been Hunter-based, where they had a significant following of loyal winemaking food lovers, and this pattern has repeated in the Clare. 
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Recipe:  Get  Guy Parkinson’s back strap of lamb poached in extra virgin olive oil, grilled baby cucumber, whipped sheep yogurt Wine:  Explore  Mitchell Family Wines Clare Valley:  Discover the fun of cycling the   Clare Valley Riesling Trail
Food
The Essential Beef and Wine Pairing Guide
Find the perfect beef dish for your wine with our easy to follow wing pairing guide. One of the most wonderful things about winter is savouring a range of slow cooked, hearty meals. Full flavoured and nourishing, beef is perfect for these types of dishes and when it comes to choosing the perfect wine, both reds and whites can be ideal. Key considerations are the cut of meat, how fatty it is, how it's prepared and any accompanying sauces. While red wine lovers can match almost any variety, white wine lovers should stick with fuller, more textural varieties.   BEEF WINE MATCHING 101 MEDIUM TO FULL & TEXTURAL WHITES
Adam Walls is a real white wine lover, even in winter, which is why  chargrilled beef and peanut green curry  is one his favourite meals at this time of year. What makes it such a delicious choice, is that there's a great range of white wines to match. As he explains, "Perfect with curries and spicy food, Verdelho ,  Fiano  ,  Pinot G  ,  Arneis  and  Chardonnay  have the fruit weight and acidity to perfectly offset the spices and aromas of this dish." For further inspiration, our friends at Asian Inspirations have a great guide to  matching some of our favourite wines with great east asian dishes here . Light to Medium Bodied Aromatic Reds
Dave Mavor loves nights in during footy season, especially with a meal of  spicy chipotle beef  , which is a great match with light to medium bodied aromatic reds. "You could pair most reds with this dish", Dave says, "However, its smooth texture and tomatoey richness pairs deliciously with vibrant, lighter-bodied varieties such as  Pinot Noir  or  Grenache  , or  Nero d'Avola  ." Medium Weight & Savoury Reds When he's got the family around for a Sunday feast, one of Phil Ryan's favourite meals is pot roasted beef in red wine with garlic, fennel and rosemary . For a wine match, Phil says, "Pot roasted, slow cooked and braised beef dishes with melt-in-the-mouth textures pair well with the richness and peppery spice of cool climate Shiraz , or try Mediterranean favourites,  Sangiovese  or  Tempranillo  ." Bold & fuller bodied reds
"We're so lucky in Australia to have so many delicious international influences and one of my favourite winter recipes is  Argentinean beef steak with chimichurri sauce ", says Trent Mannell. "Bolder, fuller bodied reds such as warmer climate Shiraz ,  Cabernet Sauvignon  and blends,  Durif  and  Malbec  are ideal partners for barbequed or roasted beef with their charry richness." If you're looking for more beef recipes, celebrity chef Curtis Stone is an enthusiast for all different cuts of meat. In fact, he has a butchery as part of his New York restaurant, Gwen. Read all about it in his  Selector  interview , then check out his recipe for 80-day dry aged ribeye with creamed corn and scallions. And, for more great beef recipes, make sure you visit  www.beefandlamb.com.au . Plus, there's more winter food and wine matching inspiration to be found in our Italian inspiration feature.      
Food
Our Top 5 Australia Day Recipe and Wine Matching Ideas
Words by Ben Hallinan on 21 Jan 2017
Celebrate Australian wine this year on our national holiday with these great recipe and wine matching ideas from  Selector . Lamb Recipes
Lamb has become synonymous with Australia Day celebrations (due in no small part to a certain successful advertising campaign). This  boneless leg of lamb with a rosemary rub   recipe is the perfect way to add a refined touch to your Australia Day celebrations. The oak, spice and firm tanins of a fine  Coonawarra  or  Margaret River  Cabernet Sauvignon make this variety the classic wine match for a rich lamb dish like this . Alternatively, try one of the increasing range of  alternative varieties  such as Montepulciano or Petit Verdot. Find out more about Petit Verdot in our   recent infographic guide Lamb wine match: Bundaleer Montepulciano 2015 or the Credaro Five Tales Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 Explore our lamb recipes Prawn Recipes
In this country, we are blessed with an abundance of quality seafood. This   Barbecue split prawns with chilli, oregano and olive oil  recipe is an excellent addition to any Australia Day get together. For the perfect wine match, go for a dry white with good acidity such as a fine   Semillon  , Vermentino or  Verdelho. Prawns wine match:  Krinklewood Biodynamic Vineyard Semillon 2009  or the  Tulloch Vineyard Selection Verdelho 2015 Explore our seafood recipes Vegetarian Recipes
It doesn’t have to be all about lamb and meat on Australia Day as this tongue in cheek video  reminds us.  Maggie Beer’s beetroot and vino cotto salad  recipe is the perfect accompaniment to any celebratory bbq or potluck dinner. Or, for something more substantial try  Stefano Manfredi’s spectacular potato gnocchi with burnt butter and sage  . For further inspiration look through the many  vegetable focused dishes  in our recipe section or consult our  vegetarian wine matching guide  . Vegetarian wine match:  Howard Park Riesling 2013  or the  Soumah Savarro (Savagnin) 2012 Explore our vegetarian recipes Kangaroo Recipes
Lyndey Milan’s  Kangaroo with native spices, beetroot and rosella sauce  recipe is outstanding and exquisitely showcases the uniquely Australian ingredients involved. This dish is an impeccable match for a refined, elegant  cool climate Shiraz  from the  Yarra Valley  or a savoury  Hunter Valley  Shiraz. Kangaroo wine match:  Richard Hamilton Little Road Shiraz 2015  or the  Seville Estate The Barber Shiraz 2015 Explore our kangaroo and game recipes Pavlova Recipes
Although our friends in New Zealand quite confidently claim ownership ( and they might be right  ), there's no question that pavlova is also a strong part of our national culinary history. Complete your Australia Day celebrations with Lyndey Milan’s easy-to-follow Festive Pavlova recipe  . Arguably, a  dessert wine  is a great match to Pavlova. But, you can keep the festivities flowing with refined  Tasmanian  Sparkling  or a fruit focused and refreshing  Prosecco  from the  King Valley  . Find out more about  Australian Prosecco in this recent article  . Pavlova wine match:  Tamar Ridge Cuvée Sparkling Chardonnay Pinot Noir NV  or the  Chrismont La Zona Sparkling Prosecco NV Explore our pavlova and dessert recipes Discover more Australia Day Recipe Ideas For more exciting recipe ideas visit our  recipe section here  or find some inspiration from the many  celebrity chefs we’ve interviewed  in  Selector  such as Jamie Oliver,  Adriano Zumbo  , Stephanie Alexander, Nigella Lawson and many more.
Two Blues Sauvignon Blanc 2014
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