If you love wine and you love chocolate, indulge in the ultimate match made in heaven.
Forget celery juice - this is the trend you should be experiencing. Christine Ricketts, Cellar Director and Wine Educator at Cellarmasters has carefully curated your next weekend activity, pairing our favourite types of chocolate to a particular wine. "The secret is to find a wine that is sweeter than the chocolate," she says. "If the chocolate is sweeter than the wine, it can actually make the wine taste bitter." On that note - it's time to discover our new pass-time.
Here are Christine's recommendations:
Milk chocolate has high levels of cream and sugar, so a plush Merlot will pair nicely as its velvety, plum flavours will enhance the cacao of the chocolate. If you prefer white wine, a dry, crisp Riesling will contrast the sweet and milky taste.
Recommended wine: Bird in Hand Blackbird Merlot
Cabernet Sauvignon has rich blackcurrant and blackberry flavours, which add a lovely sweetness to dark chocolate’s bitterness. If you’re after a more complex taste, try it with Zinfandel, a red wine with flavours of berries and black pepper. The fruity, spicy and smoky taste paired with the chocolate will give you a rich, bold taste sensation.
Recommended wine: Black Wattle Mt Benson Cabernet Sauvignon 2016
White chocolate is not actually chocolate, but cocoa fat, so an acidic, sweet wine such as Moscato d’Asti, a sparkling wine from Italy, or a Gewürztraminer, an aromatic white wine, will cut through the fat and bring out the buttery and creamy flavours of the ‘chocolate’.
Recommended wine: Cape Campbell Marlborough Gewurtztraminer
Caramel chocolates are the perfect harmony of sweet, salty, fat and bitter. A Tawny port will enhance the caramel, or pair with an Olorosso sherry, which has a dark and nutty flavour that bring out the chocolate.
Recommended wine: Dorrien Estate "old Contemptibles" Tawny
A sparkling Shiraz is brilliant as it boasts a velvety palate, flavours of sweet fruits such as blackberries and blueberries, hints of chocolate and exotic spices – it has an overall sweetness that complements the saltiness and bitterness of the salted caramel perfectly.
Recommended wine: Dorrien Estate Cuvée Shiraz
The ultimate match for mint chocolate is a Margaret River Cabernet Sauvignon, as it will really highlight the mint flavour. Cab Savs that are from wine regions that are warm enough to have low pyrazine levels, but are still generally cool, tend to have a beautiful, mint flavours.
Recommended wine: Gallows Wine Co. The Bommy Margaret River Cabernet Sauvignon
Orange milk chocolate
With flavours of green pepper and lime, a Grüner Veltliner – a dry, white wine – will highlight the citrus flavours in the chocolate. If it’s a dark orange chocolate your tasting, a sweet, dark Liqueur Muscat will leave a beautiful finish.
Recommended wine: Ata Mara Central Otago Grüner Veltliner 2017
Stream or watch Extreme Chocolate Makers, Wednesdays, 8.30pm EST on Lifestyle FOOD