Michael McCaulley, wine director and partner at three-unit Tria café in Philadelphia and Erin McLean, principal at Tria’s Fermentation school, get asked a lot about possible chocolate pairings for beer, wine and hard cider. Here’s what they have to say.
Chocolate and beer—similar flavors complement best. Roasty dark porters, stouts and imperial stouts go best with bitter chocolate. Rich, spicy Belgian dubbels and quadruples work well with dark chocolate desserts that include dried fruits. Nut brown goes with chocolate that has nuts in it. Fruited lambic works with fruited chocolates. And double IPA? It goes well with chocolate caramels and toffees.
Chocolate and wine—Rich red wines with natural sweetness work better than dry wines. Try Italian wines such as amarone and ripasso or an Argentine red such as malbec. Dessert wines, particularly those that have some acidity so they are not overly cloying, go well with dark chocolate. Try Pedro Ximenez (PX) sherry from Spain, Banyuls from France, Port or fortified zinfandel from California. With milk chocolate? Go for a Madeira or Tawny Port. Overall, sparkling wines, especially rosés, provide subtle fruit flavors that enhance chocolate.
Chocolate with mead—Mead works well with dark chocolate or chocolate with dried fruit and nuts. One good choice is cinnamon, rosehip and hibiscus-spiced Makana iQhilika African Herbal Blossom Mead from South Africa.
Chocolate with cider—The crisp, sweet-yet-tart flavors of apple cider, such as Farnum Hill Summer Cider, go well with white chocolate.
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