French wine and chocolate – two of my favourite things. With Easter not far away, I have been thinking about French wine and chocolate pairing and wondering just which wines I should buy to go with the chocolate which will no doubt find its way into this household. Many people don’t believe that wine and chocolate are a good match. Oh how wrong they are!
Rich, sumptuous, dark chocolate of a minimum 70% cocoa solids is my personal favourite and is the most interesting to match with wine. The health benefits that are associated with eating it in moderation justify, in my mind, always having some in the house. It apparently improves blood flow and may help prevent the formation of blood clots, it contains several chemical compounds that have a positive effect on your mood and cognitive health, it assists in the control of blood sugar and much more. I’m sold!
Fortunately (although not for my waistline), the numerous ‘chocolatiers’ that you find all over France have mastered the art of making quality chocolates. Whether combined with tangy orange, with crunchy nuts or caramel or maybe the slightly weirder but oh so delicious chilli or sea salt (both really do work!), I love them all.
As far as ideas for French wine and chocolate pairing goes, when it comes to dark chocolate, you will need to go for a powerful, full bodied wine which will complement the rich flavour of the chocolate. The fortified ‘Vin Doux Naturel’ (VDN) wines of Maury and Banyuls in the Languedoc-Roussillon region of the SW of France are the perfect foil. Made from the Grenache Noir grape, they are rich and sweet with heady aromas and spicey notes.
If you are having friends round for dinner and really want to impress them with your food and wine matching skills, finish off the meal with a slice of gooey, sticky gateau au chocolat noir …
… or a moreish chocolate mousse…
… accompanied by a glass of Banyuls or Maury vin doux naturel and watch them melt.
Of course it is also possible to match milk chocolate and white chocolate with wine, but I will leave those for another post.
Happy Easter everybody!