Life is like a box of chocolates … it's almost always better with wine!
Chocolate and wine have a lot of similarities: they both have types of tannin, an abundance of antioxidants, and are rumored to be aphrodisiacs, so it’s no secret why wine and chocolates are perfect for Valentine’s Day.
But what makes wine and chocolate so similar is also what makes pairing these Valentine’s Day treats a challenge. It’s easy to think a wine and chocolate will be a perfect match, but then just like a bad date, all of the sweetness seems to disappear and what’s left is a bitter taste that just won’t go away. Avoid a bad match by focusing on the weight of the wine and the chocolate. A velvety dark chocolate is best paired with a heavier wine, compared to a lighter chocolate that deserves a lower-alcohol wine.
Or prevent the guessing game altogether, with our Cupid-approved list of the best chocolate and wine pairings for Valentine’s Day.
Sweet and creamy milk chocolate, meet Merlot. This red wine and chocolate pairing is sophisticated and decadent, and makes a great dessert pairing when having company over. For light-flavored milk chocolates (such as Hershey’s Kisses) go with a Riesling, or Champagne-style wine instead of a red.
Pair your dark chocolate with a Cabernet Sauvignon or Malbec for Valentine's Day. Think dark, rich, fruity flavors that compliment the elevated flavor profile of this high-antioxidant chocolate. The smoother and more developed the wine, the better, that way the chocolate doesn’t clash against the tannins of the wine.
RICH CHOCOLATE TRUFFLES
Whether they’re made with milk chocolate or dark chocolate, truffles are intense. They have a rich, fudgy consistency that melts in your mouth, and only a tawny port or heavy dessert wine can stand up to the challenge. The end result? Pure bliss and BIG flavor, ideal for a romantic evening or a solo movie night at home.
White “chocolate” is not considered legitimate chocolate because it doesn’t have cacao — however, it’s one of the easiest types to pair with wine because of that exact reason! Sweet wine lovers will appreciate a sweet and sparkling rosé. Dry wine fanatics should choose a dry rosé or a light red such as Pinot Noir.
Tawny port has a deep golden hue that matches up with butter chewy caramels covered in chocolate. This same pairing works wonders around the holidays. Pass around a platter of fancy chocolate-covered caramels (or eat a whole box of Milk Duds by yourself) and serve tawny port in small dessert-wine glasses.
CHOCOLATE WITH PEANUT BUTTER
First of all, is there anything better than peanut butter and chocolate? Yes. Peanut butter, chocolate, and Cabernet Sauvignon. Just like dark chocolate, peanut butter is definitely heavy, and the high-fat content makes a velvety glass of Cab the perfect pairing.
CHOCOLATE AND NUTS
Whether you’re enjoying a square of pecan fudge or a handful of Peanut M&M’s, go nuts for Zinfandel! This wine is made from the late-harvest grapes which gives it rustic tasting notes that pair best with chocolate and nuts, and make it an excellent pairing for trail-mix inspired bars.While these pairings are recommended for the ultimate tasting experience, it’s hard to go wrong. Even if it tastes a little off, it’s just wine and chocolate after all, and indulging in both is the absolute best way to celebrate Valentine’s Day.
Erin Hooker is a writer with experience creating wine, food, and interior design content. She began contributing to Graham + Fisk’s blog in 2021.