February 2008

Wine and Chocolate: A Perfect Pair

Author: Krissy Cantelupe

In the month of February, there is a lot of stress when it comes to that wonderful LOVE holiday know as Valentine’s Day. Many have to find a date, locate a restaurant that actually has an available table, and find that perfect gift. I say forget it and host your own Valentine’s Day wine and chocolate party.

A wine and chocolate party is simple to host. You just need about eight of your friends, a location, and a set of instructions for each of your guests. To start, assign each person a type of chocolate bar: two people buy dark chocolate, two buy white chocolate, two buy milk chocolate, and two buy semi-sweet chocolate. Then recommend to your friends what type of wine to bring. The following list gives ideas of what to pair with each type of chocolate:

Dark Chocolate: Rich, red wines such as a jammy Zinfandel or a full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon. Also Syrah and Tawny Port are perfect mates.

White Chocolate: Late-harvest Rieslings and Icewines seem to complement the creaminess in most white chocolates. Another alternative would be an Italian Moscato d’Asti.

Milk Chocolate: Many milk chocolates are more on the sweet side in flavor, so usually something with stronger tannin or acidity would pair well. Try a dry Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc from California or France or a Merlot.

Semi-Sweet Chocolate: A tawny, or ruby Port usually is the wine that pairs well with semi-sweet chocolate, since the chocolate flavors change from one bite to the next.

After assembling all of your guests, grab the wine glasses and the different chocolates, gather around the table and get started. Begin with the lighter chocolates, white, milk, dark, then the semi-sweet, since you are tasting with Port. Start with your wine: swirl in your glass and take note of the color, then sniff your wine and take note of the aromas. Take a sip of your wine, then take a small bite of chocolate. Just when it begins to melt, sip the wine again and taste with the chocolate. Voila! You have an enjoyable Valentine’s Day with close friends. If you feel like being daring, buy some filled chocolates and a bottle of bubbly!

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