There's always a lot of chocolate on the table with all the holiday cookies and cake. Both chocolate and wine are complex on their own so we should keep it simple when pairing them together.
A basic rule for wine and chocolate is that the wine should be as sweet, or sweeter than the chocolate.
Some of us enjoy sweet wines and always have a bottle in our wine rack, but some of us never even thought about drinking or serving sweet wine. Here are a couple of tips that can help.
If you would like to choose a sweet wine for the holidays ask the salesperson in your wine store for a port wine or sherry. These wines are typically served with dessert or as an after dinner drink.
Most of us will only be serving the sweet wine for the one 'big' holiday celebration. Keeping this in mind I've noted only 3 styles to start since there is a wide variety of sweet and dessert wines from which to choose and some can be quite pricey.
Let's keep it real and begin with these very affordable sweet styles:
- a lightly sweet sparkling wine labeled 'extra dry'
- an off-dry Riesling
- a Moscato d'Asti or an Italian sparking wine that is labeled "Asti"
For chocolates here are some tips:
White Chocolate: does not contain cocoa but has a buttery flavor -- pair with Sherry or Champagne.
Milk Chocolate: has a small amount of cocoa and is sweeter than dark chocolate -- pair with a port wine or off-dry Riesling.
Dark Chocolate: has the least amount of sugar and the highest amount of cocoa. Pair this with a Cabernet. The higher cocoa content in the dark chocolate will soften the tannins in the richer wines.
For more information on pairing wines with chocolate go to Chocolate and Dessert pairing.