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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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Food
The Essential Tapas And Wine Pairing Guide
Morsels made for sharing to match your wine selection! The array of dishes in a tapas spread means you have the perfect excuse to open a range of wines as the feast progresses. Lighter, more aromatic whites are ideal with fried morsels and oily fish, then enjoy a fuller white with a classic paella or grilled seafood. In the reds, it’s easy to see why the Spanish variety Tempranillo reigns supreme, as its savoury and rustic charm and lovely acidity make it perfect across a range of ingredients and textures. Salud! Tapas Wine Matching 101 Light and aromatic whites
Dave Mavor is a huge fan of Miguel Maestre, which is why his Calasparra rice-crusted sardines recipe is one of his tapas go-tos. And his favourite wine match? A light and aromatic white. As he explains, “Offset the salty flavours in this dish with a wine match of a light and aromatic white. Go for Sauvignon Blanc and blends, Riesling or Pinot G , or for an alternative taste, Vermentino is perfect.” Medium weight and textural whites
Nicole Gow likes to keep her tapas spreads simple, yet full of flavour and Lyndey Milan’s stuffed figs wrapped in bastourma are a perfect choice. “Brimming with mouth-watering textures, this simple dish pairs well with medium weight and textural whites,” Nicole explains. “Try favourites like Chardonnay and Verdelho or for something different, Arneis or Fiano .”  Light to medium weight and savoury reds
Trent Mannell is another Miguel Maestre fan and he finds his Manchego cheese sticks with tomato jam are always first to disappear when he’s entertaining friends. When it comes to choosing the perfect wine, he says, “Match the light, delicate flavours of this dish with light to medium weight and savoury reds such as Pinot Noir or Merlot , or for something different, Grenache and GSM blends or Nero d’Avola .” Richer and fuller bodied reds
One of the heartier tapas choices that Adam Walls loves serving his mates is chorizo mushrooms , as they’re fans of big, bold reds. “Naturally, Tempranillo and Sangiovese are ideal matches for this dish, but you can try other rich and full-bodied reds such as Shiraz and blends and Cabernet and blends.”
Food
Festive food and wine matching made easy
Tis the season for fabulous festive food and wine matches. Whether you’re catching up with friends over a casual bite, indulging in a family Christmas feast, or celebrating New Year’s Eve with a selection of finger food, there are so many opportunities to discover a diverse range of delicious food and wine matches. If you like to stick to tradition on Christmas Day, pair a Sparkling Aussie red with a classic roast and clove-studded ham, or if you’re going for a lighter option of fresh seafood and salads, Semillon and Riesling are perfect. Whatever your festive food choices, there’s a wine to suit! Festive celebrations Light and aromatic whites When Nicole Gow is hosting a festive catch-up with friends, she likes to make sure the food is a celebration of fresh Australian produce and Sydney rock oysters with ginger and shallot dressing is one of her go-to choices. And for wine? “The subtle flavours in this classic summer entree need a celebratory Sparkling or a light and aromatic white wine match such as Sauvignon Blanc & blends , Riesling , Vermentino or Pinot G ,” she says. Medium weight and textural whites Adam Walls is a huge fan of summer seafood and while he loves simply serving it fresh with a dash of lemon, he also enjoys adding a few other delicious flavours like in the prosciutto wrapped prawns with a rocket aioli recipe. When choosing a matching wine, he says, “With the rich flavours of the prosciutto and aioli, go for a medium weight and textural white wine such as the traditional varieties of Verdelho and Chardonnay , or for something different, Arneis or Fiano .” Light to medium weight and savoury reds Dave Mavor is a Christmas traditionalist, so Pete Evans’ glazed Christmas ham is always on his menu. But that doesn’t mean you have to go heavy on the reds, he explains, “Just perfect for the Australian climate, light to medium weight and savoury reds like Pinot Noir , Merlot , Grenache & GSM blends and Nero d’Avola are a fantastic choice for this beautiful ham recipe.” Richer and fuller bodied reds Trent Mannell relishes a big, bold red wine, whatever the weather, but of course in Australia we’re lucky to have so many fantastic Sparkling reds to enjoy in summer. “Sparkling reds are a uniquely Australian festive tradition and are ideal with roasted turkey and smoked oyster stuffing ,” Trent say, “Or you can match other rich, full-bodied reds like Shiraz & blends , Cabernet & blends , Sangiovese or Tempranillo .”  
Life
Haigh’s the Bean to Bar Process
Haigh’s Chocolates source the world’s best cocoa beans to make their famed range of premium chocolate. Often referred to as ‘the food of the Gods’, chocolate is one of the culinary world’s true marvels and it has delighted mankind for centuries. The Olmec people in the southern part of what is now Mexico, the Mayan civilisations and the Aztecs all enjoyed cocoa before introducing it to the Spanish at the start of the 16th century. The actual process of taking the fruit of the cocoa pod and turning it into chocolate has changed very little from those ancient times. Technology has seen advancements in the processing, but the overall process is essentially the same. The bean is removed from the cocoa pod, sun-dried and then transported to a factory where it goes through a series of processes before eventually forming a silky, smooth liquid chocolate – the perfect base to make a range of delicious chocolate products. The best ingredients
At the heart of this process is the fact that the best beans make the best chocolate. Haigh’s Chocolates source premium quality cocoa beans from the best cocoa growing regions around the world.  In 2014, Haigh’s was the first Australian owned chocolate manufacturer to achieve international UTZ certification for the use of ethically and sustainably farmed cocoa beans with 80% of its range UTZ certified. As it endeavours to achieve 100% certification, Haigh’s still leads the way for sustainable production with a supply chain spanning cocoa-growing countries from West Africa to South America.
Haigh’s Chocolates not only sources premium cocoa beans, they also process them in their own factory to make their range of premium chocolate products, which they then sell exclusviely in their own retail stores. This dedication to a true bean-to-bar process means Haigh’s can guarantee the utmost freshness and quality of their chocolate. Venture into a Haigh’s store in Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, Canberra or shop online, and sample their delicious products, which includes their limited release Single Origin range. Like wine grapes, cocoa beans have flavour characteristics unique to variety and area of origin. Haigh’s Chocolates Single Origin is made from cocoa beans sourced from a single location. Try one and discover the true bean-to-bar difference. View the range instore or at haighschocolates.com
Two Blues Sauvignon Blanc 2014
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