Wine & Chocolate Pairing Tasting Party
For the love of chocolate! Gather your friends and family for a decadent wine and chocolate pairing tasting party. Now, a lot of people assume that red wine with chocolate is the best rule of thumb to follow but we're here to show you that there's so many more unique pairings that you can try when pairing your favorite wines with chocolate.
The season is always right for hosting a chocolate and wine pairing party (although, I will say that this would make for an excellent, more relaxed adult Halloween party or a fun date idea for Valentine's Day). Invite your guests to head over with a favorite chocolate treat and wine to share. During the wine and chocolate pairing activity they’ll get to enjoy unique wine and chocolate pairings complete with a printable tasting note card score sheet. The party should be casual and relaxed — serving chocolate on an assortment of wood platters, incorporating rustic textures and dimmed lights. Add a few chocolate colored candles and you’re all set.
As the host, you’ll want to provide each guest with a set of wine glasses so they can keep their white wine and red wine separate. A stack of appetizer plates, serving boards, napkins and cheese knives (to cut the chocolate bars) is all you really need to execute the tasting. The pressure is off for the host because after all, guests are getting to enjoy decadent chocolate bars with sips of fine wine. What’s better than that?
Wondering where to start? Work your way from the lowest percentage of cocoa or cacao on the label (white chocolate), and finish with the darkest. Refer to our wine & chocolate pairing guide below to help get you started with available Kendall-Jackson wines.
Encourage your guests to go slow and take their time and to use their note cards to take notes. After everyone has had a chance to taste through each of the wines with each of the chocolates, then you can sit down (over some more chocolate and wine, of course) and discuss your favorites and which pairings worked better with others and why.
Be sure to send guests home with goodie bags — you're likely to have quite a bit of leftover chocolate. The gift of fine chocolate is sure to carry its weight in gold. Provide paper or burlap goodie bags that guests can stuff with squares of their favorite chocolate and even some of the chocolate treats that their fellow guests brought. Encourage them to take home their score sheets so they can refer to it later.
Refer to this Wine & Chocolate Pairing Guide when planning your own tasting party!
Your Comprehensive Wine & Chocolate Pairing Chart
And here’s a chart for those of you that prefer a grid:
|Wine||Chocolate||Flavor Bridges||Structural Bridges|
|Chardonnay||White Chocolate||Buttery, yogurt, vanilla and nutty characters||Round and rich body|
|Pinot Gris||Orange Zest Chocolate||Fresh fruit elements||Light body and crisp|
|Milk Chocolate, Semi-Sweet Chocolate||Semi-sweet ripe fruit character||Balance light body|
|Sauvignon Blanc||Citrus Infused White Chocolate||Fruity with lower alcohol notes||Light body, bright acid|
|Pinot Noir||Chocolate Caramel||Sweet yet tannic||Light body with backbone|
|Merlot||Dark Chocolate||Dark fruit elements||Medium rich body|
|Zinfandel/Syrah||Dark Semi-Sweet Chocolate||Fruity and peppery notes||Round and rich|
|Cabernet Sauvignon||Non-Sweet Dark Chocolate, Cherry Infused Dark Chocolate||Mocha, bold and dark fruits||Rich, full bodied and structurally firm|
|Red Meritage||Sea Salt Dark Chocolate||Bold dark fruit flavors and saltiness||Rich, full bodied and structurally firm|
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For more food and wine pairing tips, visit the Entertaining section of our website.
Written by Kristin Mansky of Modish & Main