But, if chocolate is part of your gift giving, why not pair that with a nice bottle of wine?
Wine and chocolate seem as if they were meant for each other. But not all wine, or chocolate, are made equally for this pairing. Let's first take a look at chocolate, then a quick look at our pairing "fundamentals", followed by some suggested wine to go along with your chocolate.
Chocolate has a natural affinity to pair with certain foods. Think about the last candy bar you had, or chocolate dipped fruit. What comes to mind? Almonds, caramel, cherries, raspberries, coffee are just a few that I think of, and as it turns out, many wines have these same aromas.
pairing "rules"...make sure your wine is sweeter than your dessert, or else the wine will taste flat. For this reason, bittersweet chocolate works best with wine. That doesn't mean we can't pair with milk chocolate, it's just a little more limited in our choices. Remember to match lighter, more elegant chocolates with lighter-bodied wines and stronger chocolate with more full-bodied wines. Here are some of my suggestions, based on the aromas, and sweetness of the wine. Most of these are going to be dessert or fortified wines.
Banyuls - a sweet fortified wine from Southwest France with flavors of vanilla, cinnamon, blackberries, and dried fruit (depending on the age).
Malaga - a sweet fortified wine made from a blend of Pedro Jimenez and Moscatel grapes, with pronounced grape tastes.
Muscat de Beaumes-de-Venise - A lighter style of sweet fortified wine, with an aromas of rose petals, tropical fruit, candied oranges. Try [pairing with milk chocolate or white chocolate
10-year old Tawny Port -a sweet fortified red wine with ripe, rich fruit and nuttiness.Older versions of Tawny Port will lose their ripe fruit flavors.so stay with a younger wine, or even a Ruby Port.
Brachetto d'Acqui - a sweet, semi-sparkling red wine with floral and fruit aromas (one of my personal favorites with chocolate). Look for it in the Italian section of your favorite wine store.
Demi-sec Rose Sparkling wine - Nuances of strawberries, and raspberries, and palate cleansing bubbles
Madiera (Bual or Malmsey) - Dark colored "cooked" wine with toffee, caramel, and nut aroma.
PX Sherry - A sweet Sherry, that is usually dark brown in color, with flavors of caramel, fig and coffee.
Cabernet Sauvignon (fruitier versions) - with dark/bittersweet chocolate
Zinfandel (fruity or late harvest) - with dark/bittersweet chocolate
Orange Muscat - a sweet wine it, you guessed it, orange aromas. Serve with white chocolate.