You’ve just received a box of assorted chocolates from your favorite confectioner. You’re excited, but you don’t know what to do next. You could eat them all at once, but that would be a waste of good chocolate. Instead, why not pair your chocolate with different types of beverages? While this might seem like an odd combination at first glance, there are actually plenty of reasons to combine two things so different—and they go beyond just getting tipsy off the pairing.
Figure out the intensity of the chocolate
Before you pick a drink, it’s important to know how intense your chocolate will be. These categories are based on the amount of cocoa butter in the chocolate:
- Dark chocolate has a higher percentage of cocoa butter and sugar than milk or white chocolate.
- Milk chocolate has less cocoa butter than dark or white chocolates.
- White chocolate doesn’t contain any cocoa solids; it’s made from powdered sugar mixed with other ingredients like vanilla and lecithin (a natural emulsifier). It tastes lighter than dark or milk chocolates because there’s no bitter flavor from the cocoa solids.
It may seem obvious that fruit-based chocolates would be less intense than regular ones—but what about caramel-filled or nutty varieties? The answer is yes! They’re also less intense than plain barks because they have extra ingredients that add sweetness but not bitterness.
Match the intensity of the beverage with that of the chocolate
A common mistake when pairing chocolate and wine is to choose a wine that is too powerful. The intensity of the chocolate should match the intensity of your drink.
If you are drinking something light—like white, rosé, or sparkling wine—you should opt for a dark chocolate with a mild flavor instead of an ultra-intense bar. For example, try pairing your Champagne with dark Valrhona Caracas 70% Dark Chocolate Bar; its fruity notes balance out its intense cocoa flavor, making it perfect for a refreshing glass of bubbly!
Think about flavor intensity and flavor profiles
Let’s start with flavor intensity. Flavor intensity is the strength of the flavor, and it ranges from mild to strong. Think about how much you like that bite-sized chocolate bar or bite-sized piece of chocolate you’re eating right now: is it mild or strong? This will help you decide which other foods and beverages to pair it with.
For example, if your chocolate taste buds are feeling particularly sensitive and appreciative today (giddy as a schoolgirl!), then go for something bolder like a smoked adobo sausage paired with an earthy ale like barrel aged imperial stout from Stone Brewing Co., or even something more fiery like chorizo olives served over grilled bread drizzled in hot sauce paired with a rich red wine such as pinot noir from Plumpjack Winery & Estate Vineyards. If this isn’t your ideal scenario, then perhaps opt for pairing lighter fare such as fresh fruit served alongside milk chocolate truffles filled with caramelized nuts; this way both flavors will shine brightly together without being overshadowed by each other’s intense tastes.
Pair dark chocolate with a dark beverage
Dark chocolate is a good match for dark beer, red wine or coffee. It’s also a good match for milk, cream and sugar.
Dark chocolate is a poor match for milk and cream. To avoid overwhelming the taste of dark chocolate, you should avoid pairing it with dairy products like milk or cream (or white wine). This is because those foods are too light in flavor to stand up to the boldness of your choice in chocolate. The same goes for adding sugar—you don’t want an overly sweet drink to ruin what could have been an excellent pairing!
Add in a little spice to pair with your chocolate
If you’re pairing chocolate with wine, beer, or other beverages, consider adding in a little spice. Spices like cinnamon and nutmeg can help to balance out the sweetness of the chocolate by adding a little heat and bitterness. If you want to go even further down this path, add some cardamom as well! Spice can also be added to the beverage as well—try adding some cinnamon or nutmeg syrup for an extra kick.
Use salt to balance out sweetness
If you like your chocolate sweet, try adding a pinch of salt to balance out the sweetness. This can be done either by adding a pinch of salt to your chocolate or dipping it in a small dish of salt.
The combination of sweet and salty is a classic one—and it works well with wine as well as with beer and other beverages. You can also try making your own dark chocolates with sea salt for an extra layer of flavor.
Use salt to balance out sweetness
Another way to add a little contrast to your chocolate is by adding salt. Does that sound strange? It’s actually not as weird as it sounds, and can be subtle enough that it enhances the flavor without overpowering it. Try adding a pinch of salt, or even just a small dish of salt for dipping your chocolate in.
A sweet and salty combo works well with many different kinds of chocolates – try pairing your favorite bar or truffle with a salted caramel sauce, or try making “chocolate covered pretzels” by drizzling melted dark chocolate over pretzels that have been dusted with fleur de sel (a type of flaky sea salt).
Which Cholate Goes Best With White Wine
While white wines are usually served chilled, they can also be served at room temperature. This makes them an excellent match for chocolate.
Velvety, rich and dark chocolates tend to pair best with red wine because they add depth to the drink’s flavor profile and complement it well. On the other hand, milk chocolates work better with white wine because their sweet flavors are less intense than dark ones and thus don’t overwhelm a glass of newly opened pinot grigio or rosé.
Which Chocolate Goes Best With Red Wine
You’ll want to choose a dark chocolate with a high cocoa content (at least 65%cacao), as it will have more tannins and pair better with red wine. The darker the chocolate, the better it will complement the tannins in red wine, while also adding its own flavor notes that can be enhanced by these same flavors in wine. The sweeter your chocolate is, however, the more it will complement fruitiness in red wines and their tannins (which contribute to their overall dryness).
Chocolate That Pairs Well With Beer
- Dark chocolate – This is the most popular pairing for beer, since it goes well with the roasted notes of dark beer. The bitterness and caramel flavors from stouts are also a good match for dark chocolate.
- Milk chocolate – Milk chocolate is milder than other types of chocolate, so it can be paired with lighter beers like pilsners or lagers that don’t have strong flavor profiles themselves.
- White chocolate – White chocolate is sweeter than dark or milk chocolates, which means it pairs better with sweeter beers like wheat beers or fruit-flavored beers (like raspberry).
- Fruit and nut chocolates – These go well with sweet wines and fruity beers, such as Belgian triples.
- Chocolate covered nuts/fruit/marshmallows – These are best paired with strong ales to balance out their sweetness
We hope that you have enjoyed this post on how to pair different types of chocolate with wine, beer, and other beverages. Chocolate is a delicious treat and can be paired with many different drinks!