Chocolate and wine: a subject that will divide the critics and make majority of people to think we are mad to match these two. Let's explore if we can work out something how to make the most of these two amazing products.
Just a word about your humble author. Many people will be jealous, but I really do not have a sweet tooth.. much.. but still enjoy a very good chocolate. Less sugar, more flavour please!
Chocolate is made of a wonderfully nutritious cacao powder, cacao butter, sweetener (avoid refined sugars and opt for natural ones, i.e. stevia or coconut nectar) and sometimes additional ingredients (nuts, fruit etc). It is a very satisfying and healthy treat if done right. You can even pair it, though it is tough, with wine.
Let’s explore how chocolate pairs with wine, how to make your own chocolate and make it all healthier, but with no compromise to flavour.
In this short guide we will focus on:
We start with our belief that a handmade product made with care and love is always better. One can argue with this, but nevertheless you can never underestimate passion.
Let’s see how you can make your own chocolate. We’ve done it in just over an hour - it is not difficult at all.
You will need cacao powder, cacao butter, something to sweeten this all, i.e coconut sugar and maybe something to add a bit of texture, i.e, nuts, seeds, or crunchy dehydrated fruit. Start with melting your butter (shred it first to make this process much quicker), mix it with cacao powder (you will need an equal measure for 50% cacao chocolate or simply add more for richer style). When your mixture is ready and very well integrated, you can sweeten it. Choose a bit healthier options - unrefined and natural, we have opted in for a coconut sugar. Mix well. Prepare your tray by lining a sheet of baking parchment on it and simply spread your chocolate mixture on it. When smooth and well spread, you can add more texture to it, be as generous with crunch as you wish! Not simply put your tray in the fridge to solidify. An average tray with 0.5 cm thick layer will definitely be ready in an hour. Now simply cut into shards or even something more creative and enjoy!
Another favourite recipe for a chocolate dessert is to make a healthy paleo chocolate fudge. You can make it so quickly and without major cooking efforts at all! You will need to mix cacao powder with desiccated coconut, cashew butter (we’ve tried with almond too, but cashew appears richer and somewhat sweeter), some coconut sugar and melted coconut oil. The latter will mix all ingredients so well together, but unfortunately it will mean that your fudge will melt quickly too. Opt for cacao butter if you want to be able to transport your fudge to work or to a party, yet it won’t be soft at all then. This recipe can become your ultimate quilt-free pleasure when you want something sweet and chocolatey - simply store it in the fridge and cut a piece whenever.
Another way to make it sweeter and even fruity is to use dates. Simply put them in a food processor (discard the stones obviously) and make a paste. Combine it with your chocolate mix prior to solidifying it.
Proportions: we've used a jar of cashew butter (225g), 6 tablespoons of melter cacao butter, 6 tablespoons of raw cacao powder, 6 tablespoons of desiccated coconut, and 2 tablespoons of coconut sugar (you can use other sweetener if you want, i.e. honey).
Why did we call it paleo? It is made of unrefined ingredients and apart from making a good mixture it doesn’t require any cooking at all. Many believe paleo is healthier for you and who we are to disagree, especially when it is so beautifully indulgent?
You are now in full control:
Let’s move on to wine. Chocolate is one of those tricky products which are very hard to match with wine. It is no surprise why - the sweeter the food, the more astringent, thin and acidic your wine will taste. If you follow a balance principle you simply need to find a wine with similar sweetness levels - it is definitely not easy, because we do not want you to buy some cheap and nastily artificially sweetened wines, but a very good Port is a usual suspect here. When dry wines are concerned you will need to think about flavour intensity here - if your wine is not sweet but has a very rich and intense flavour profile, you can still match this one to dark chocolate. You can think of wines that also have some mocha and chocolatey notes. Those could be Argentinian Malbec or Aussie Shiraz wines, chocolate will slightly reduce their fruitiness, but their richness will mean they can stand up to chocolate. Do not go for elegant and light bodied wines - nobody likes a thin acidic wine hat is so out of balance with what you eat.
Less sugar in your chocolate not only means it is healthier for you, but also easier to pair with wine. A bitter dark chocolate will be so much easier to match with a glass of rich wine.
Hopefully this is not going to confuse you further. Have a go at making your chocolate how you like it. Try different wines and see how your palate reacts to it. After all, there are people who are very sensitive to these matching rules and they need to take extra care, but there are also ones who will be happy to much a rich Malbec with rich chocolate and feel heavenly. Who are you? Do not trust the critics, it is for you to discover! It is very exciting. One thing is clear - avoid extra refined sugar: get organic chocolate and wine and live a healthier lifestyle. Cheer to that!