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Pairing Cheese Chocolate with Wine is Becoming a Growing Trend, Know Why

Two beautiful things in the world that give happiness in their own unique way are wine or chocolate with cheese. Thus, their combination can result in the most pleasurable experience, enhancing the flavors of beverages and desserts to their full potential. But before matching wines with any of them, it’s important to take into account their respective flavors.

Pairing Wine with Chocolate:

According to Chef Arvind Prasad, who is co-founder, executive pastry chef and academic director of Whitecaps International School of Pastry, “Chocolate is the third rail of food-wine pairing, and explicit statements comparing wine to chocolate elicit strong reactions. That the two are not meant to be together for unexpected love songs or memorable dinners. It may be more subjective to think of chocolate as the most challenging wine match rather than the most demanding wine pairing.’

He adds, “Generally, wines should have a higher sugar content than sweets. However, excellent chocolate has a bitter aftertaste, making pairing even more complicated.”

Additionally, HGE shared the following tips when it comes to pairing wine with chocolate:

When it comes to wine and chocolate combinations, unlike most other pairings, it is better to stay away from opposites when striking a balance is essential. Bitter chocolate, such as black chocolate, pairs better with dry wines, while sweet chocolate, such as white chocolate, pairs better with sweet wines. Think of it like mixing sugar with sugar. Bitter dark chocolate pairs well with dry wines that have very little residual sugar, while sweet white chocolate pairs well with sweet wines that have a lot of residual sugar. Always choose a wine that will complement the chocolate with a sweetness level that is either the same as the chocolate or slightly higher than it.

  • Equalize the intensity of both.

Along with sugar, it is also important to match the intensity. Any subtleties present in the chocolate will be completely overwhelmed by the power of the red when paired with thick, rich dark chocolate. Conversely, a delicate wine will be ruined by strong-tasting chocolate. Remember that powerfully flavored chocolates work best. with rich wines, while lighter flavored chocolates are best when paired with lighter flavored wines.

Similar flavor notes in chocolate can be produced by wine and vice versa. For example, some chocolates pair exceptionally well with fruity wines like Moscato or White Zinfandel, as they are naturally more fruity than others. Enjoy chocolate covered almonds with a hearty wine like Marsala or Madeira. It’s important to keep this in mind when pairing truffles with wine.

The best approach is to consider the wine as an ingredient. You can detect its similarity with other cuisines by analyzing the basic flavors and subtle nuances of wine. For example, you can “season” the flavors of your food by using the lighter shades of cinnamon and 5-spice powder that Zinfandel often features. An ideal wine pairing aims to bring out the delicate aromas and flavors of food and wine by balancing their flavors (sweet, sour, bitter, salty, etc.).

Pairing Wine with Cheese:

Talking about this, Manoj Pandey, Chef Partner, The Piano Man, said, “Pairing wine and cheese is a process that requires careful planning for a balanced taste experience. It is best to bring out the unique characteristics of both the wines. It’s important to choose foods with subtle flavors.” And the cheese shines. Wine, being naturally acidic, often pairs well with salty cheese, creating a delightful flavor combination. To achieve this harmony, incorporate simple but complementary elements like crackers, artisanal flatbreads, fresh fruits, nuts and olives. These foods should act as mediators, bridging the gap between acidic and salty notes, resulting in a sophisticated and enjoyable culinary experience.”

Other things to keep in mind when pairing wine and food:

“The food and wine on your menu should include as many different taste sensations as possible to avoid cooking boredom,” said Amrit Kiran Singh, former executive president of the International Spirits and Wine Association of India.

He further listed the following:

  • There are two and a half aspects of wine that you should consider when matching food and wine. First of all, it is acidity and sweetness. Secondly, its texture – creamy, silky, watery or rough. And finally, to a lesser extent, fragrance.
  • Remember, the food on your plate shouldn’t taste the same as the wine in your glass! Instead, it is far more interesting to plan attractive contrasts. For example, chicken kebabs, fish tikkas and salads go well with slightly acidic whites (Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc).
  • Young, light, fruity reds such as nouveau Beaujolais or rosé wines that have not absorbed too many tannins go well with sausages, pizza and even a mild Lucknow biryani.
  • Magnificent velvety reds like Merlots and Zinfandels go well with the spicy Indian rogan josh and of course Hyderabadi biryani, which is spicy.
  • Spätlese (late harvest) wines that are high in glucose result in great dessert wines but are difficult when it comes to pairing with food.
  • However, they generally go well with Asian foods (Thai and Indian curries), whose spiciness should be avoided with acidic wines and biscuit-based desserts.

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