The Art of Chocolate Matching
When done right, it can be a sensory experience like no other. Whilst the Romans referred to wine as the “drink of the gods”, to the Aztecs cacao was no lesser. So, there should be little surprise the two work so well in harmony.
A match can be complimentary or contrasting. Like a dry rosé, contrasted by the sweet creaminess of a caramelised milk chocolate, accentuating its floral fruity notes. Or perhaps a savoury and tanny Cabernet complimented by hints of red fruit and roasted coffee in an African origin chocolate. Highlighting it’s texture and body. Let us guide you on journey of exploring your taste buds, one bit of chocolate at a time.
Ensure the chocolate is at room temperature; never store chocolate in an ordinary household fridge, it will be too cold and humid and can cause the chocolate to bloom. Let the matching recommendations on your Cuvée Chocolate bar be your guide, but feel free to experiment.
Open the wine and let it breath ideally two hours prior, the contact with the oxygen will help it unfold its full potential.
Taste the Wine
If possible use a large glass, fill it no more than 1/3, hold it by the stem and swirl. The agitation creates vapours which intensify the wines aromas, making them more detectable for you.
Hold the glass towards the light and observe colour and clarity. Put your nose to the glass, the closer the better and inhale. The goal is to draw the aromas as deep into your nose as possible. Now take a small sip. Let the wine dance in your mouth for about 10-15 seconds, try to memorise everything you can taste and in what order. Sometimes it helps to close your eyes to focus and concentrate.
Taste the Chocolate
Break your chocolate into smaller bit sized pieces — a well-tempered good chocolate should have a clear “snap” when you break it. Inspect colour and shine, but be weary — good dark chocolate shouldn’t be black, it rather varies from a rusty red to a deep rich brown.
Slightly rub and smell it, now place the chocolate on your tongue and close your mouth, don’t chew straight away but let it melt in your mouth for a moment. It will help the chocolate to unfold its full flavour potential.
Back to the Wine
Taste the wine again, swirl it, smell it — all as before.
Has the chocolate changed your perception of the wine? Or vice versa? Does the chocolate accentuate or minimise any of the wines flavour profiles? Do the two complement each other, or are they in contrast?
Repeat, debate, indulge and enjoy.