Despite being single on Valentine’s this year, I’m ready to delight in all the festivities just the same, starting with buying myself a bouquet of radicchio—or maybe more accurately, by indulging in a glass of vino and one too many pieces of chocolates.
The general rule of thumb for pairing wine with chocolates is to choose fruitier wines (juicier, sweeter, lighter-bodied) than the chocolate you want to pair.
Secondly, like goes with like. That means that wines lighter in hue will often work better with chocolates that aren’t as dark. But like anything, rules aren’t always so steadfast and sometimes a perfect pairing might just take you for surprise in a real Romeo-and-Juliet-star-crossed lovers sort of way.
While I wrote a piece on Valentine's wine and chocolate pairings on Italian Delights, I’m going to break down a few more tasty combos that I’ve had the pleasure of sampling while exploring the many wines of Niagara!
Fresh and vibrant white wines compliment the dreaminess of a buttery white chocolate. Riesling, gewurztraminer and sauvignon blanc can provide a welcomed crispness against all that buttah. Alternatively, a chardonnay might also be in the cards if you’re interested in doubling down on decadence.
As for sparkling wines, bubbles scream celebration which make them wine extra special for Valentine’s. While they can be great to start off a meal, bubbles cleanse the palate for decadent chocolates—stick to sparkling whites with white chocolates, and milk chocolate truffles for sparkling rosés and reds!
Try: Rosewood’s Sauvignon Blanc “There Be Dragons” + lemon and salt white chocolate bar
Sweet and creamy with a kiss of cocoa, milk chocolate pairs perfectly with rosé. The light, berry flavours of the blush-coloured wine are especially lovely against fruity chocolates—think chocolate covered strawberries!
Alternatively, reds like pinot noir, grenache or cabernet sauvignon that are drier can also pair well with milk chocolate. Unlike bitter dark chocolate, sweeter milk chocolate meets its match with a tannic red.
Try: 180 Wines Rosé + milk chocolate berry bark
A dark chocolate will have more bitterness than other varieties due to its higher content of cacao, which means that it needs a juicy merlot or zinfandel to be its partner in crime.
However, dessert wines like ice wine can also help balance out the flavours—as the saying goes, opposites attract.
Try: Stratus’ Red Ice Wine + dark chocolate shortbread cookies
If you’re feeling adventurous, try your hand at your own pairings. Pay attention to the wine’s main tasting notes and then you can brainstorm all the lovely combos that might pair with notes of citrus, peach, strawberries, vanilla or whatever else the wine is exuding.
Happy pairing and happy Valentine’s day!