food, wine

Wine and Chocolate

As readers of this blog know, I’m a big fan of the pursuit of happiness through sensual pleasures, preferably enjoyed more than one at a time. So when I received a big bagful of Lindt Lindor truffles, it seemed a fine opportunity to experiment with a developing interest of mine: wine pairing. I first realized the power of pairing this June at an event in Burlington sponsored by Food and Wine magazine and–believe it or not–Buick, where a guy named Michael Green led a brief demonstration that was all I needed to realize how the right wine paired with the right food can create a sensual whole far greater than the sum of its pleasant parts.

But that hardly makes me an expert; I’m more of a curious amateur who loves experimentation. So after gathering all the necessary elements–the truffles, some wines, and crackers and water as palate-cleansers–I indulged.

Following the principle of tasting lighter-to-darker, and because I’m not a huge fan of white chocolate, I started with that truffle, wrapped in gold. Following the other principle of matching light tastes with light tastes and strong tastes with strong tastes, and because I am a fan of sparkling wines, I paired it with Cupcake Prosecco, a reasonable alternative to Champagne. As the Prosecco snapped and sparkled in the glass, the truffle popped when I bit into it. Honestly, I was surprised by how much I liked it; it was smooth and creamy; maybe I’ve misjudged white chocolate. As a little of the melted chocolate lingered on my delighted tongue, I sipped the Prosecco, and the combination was stellar–smooth met sparkle in the ying-yang of a great relationship.

Next up was the milk chocolate wrapped in red. Again I was surprised, because I didn’t really care for it much; it wasn’t bad, just a little blah. I matched it with a Kendall-Jackson Riesling, another reasonable go-to. The sweetness of the wine really saved the chocolate; the taste was transformed from blah to, well, not wow!, but maybe-I’ll-give-that-another-try.

The blue-wrapped dark chocolate came next, and I thought it was much better, but then I really do prefer a dark chocolate. I matched it with Jacob’s Creek Shiraz, and the result was, well, a fizzle. I started drinking Jacob’s Creek as another go-to after realizing that Australian wines can be just as good as those from locations with more cachet and a bit less pricey. But the combination didn’t work; it was almost metallic.

On to the black bittersweet. This one was also good, nice and tangy. I matched it with a Gascon Colossal, also a gift, and the combination was sensational. This was my favorite of the wines and my favorite pairing, two robust yet smooth flavors coming together in a sensual combination like great, uh, dancing.

If you like to combine opportunities, head over to your local Lindt shop, where not only can you buy some truffles, but if you bring in a gift receipt for something you got for Christmas and liked as much as I liked the dark-chocolate/Shiraz combination, or simply share your sad tale, they’ll give you a free chocolate stick.

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