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There was a time when Chocolate was considered not a wine friendly pairing. However, rich flavored dark chocolate with a high cacao content (more than 60%), which is now sold by many popular chocolate companies, are less sweet than traditional milk chocolates.

This new breed of chocolates along with today's wide variety of wines can make pairing chocolate and wine very pleasurable.

Below are a few tips to get you started with pairing your wine with chocolate.


  • Pair lighter chocolates with lighter wines.
  • Darker chocolates with full-bodied wines.
  • When tasting go from light (milk chocolate) to dark and serve with the corresponding wines.

Pairing White Chocolate

We have previously established that we should serve a wine that is as sweet, or even sweeter than the dessert or in this case the chocolate. With white chocolate we can have buttery flavors though it is still sweet. The dessert wine Moscato d'Asti is a good pairing with white chocolate.

Recommendations: An affordable Sherry to consider is Osborne Pedro Ximenez Sherry which can be an excellent pairing with many of your other desserts as well as chocolates. The Sherry enhances the creaminess of the white chocolate.

Milk Chocolate and Wine

Milk chocolate has a higher percentage of sugar and smaller percentage of chocolate liquor. With all that sugar and its milk content the result is a milder and sweeter product. Some of the flavors in milk chocolate include brown sugar, vanilla, and honey along with the milk and cream flavors.

This style of sweeter chocolate needs sweeter wine, or the wine may taste tart. My two wine pairing recommendations for milk chocolate may seem a little exotic, but it's worth trying Gewürztraminer with its slight sweetness and typical lychee fruit character, or a Riesling to pair with white chocolate’s typical dairy and caramel flavors. wine and chocolate truffles

Recommendations: For milk chocolate with nuts try a Vin Santo Chianti Classico which has its own nutty and caramel qualities. Try it with milk chocolate brownies with nuts.

Also try a light-body Merlot with chocolate marble cheesecake or a light chocolate mousse.

Dark and Bittersweet

The strong flavors of dark and bittersweet chocolates in this category can be paired with stronger red wines. While some of the wines may seem too tannic to pair with chocolate, the cocoa butter decreases the harsh dryness of the tannins.

The higher cacao content enables bittersweet chocolate to be a more friendly wine pairing.

Recommendations: Look for rich, fruity wines to pair with bittersweet chocolates. Try a Cabernet Sauvignon from the Rapel Valley in Chile; rich fruity California Zinfandels; or even a Shiraz from the Clare Valley in Australia.

Chocolate Conclusion

Pairing chocolate and wine is not always easy. There are no tried and true rules to use as a guide.

The simple chocolates (without fruit or fillings) will bring out the fruitiness in a wine that would normally not have fruit forward flavors. Try some of the recommendations and you just might find the perfect wine pairing for your chocolate passion.

Remember, it’s really just “a matter of taste!”

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Did You Know?

IceWine (Canada) or Eiswein (Germany) is a very sweet dessert wine which has a high level of acidity. Some say it pairs well with milk chocolate.

Framboise which has raspberry flavors is worth a try paired with dark chocolate.


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