With Valentine's Day coming up, the rush is on to grab some flowers, Champagne, strawberries and chocolate. If your better half is truly serious about wine and chocolate, however, pairing the two takes just a tad more thought than a Hershey bar and a bottle of four-dollar red wine (though that's a start). With that, here's our quick guide to pairing wine and chocolate.
Step 1: Stick to normal pairing rules
You don't drink Sauvignon Blanc with steak, do you? Or drink Napa Cabernet with whitefish? Light with light, heavy with heavy.
Step 2: Start with the wine you already like
If you like drinking Merlot, get a Merlot. If you like Champagne, get Champagne. Don't overcomplicate things by buying a wine you're not certain you'll like, but that someone suggested might pair well with chocolate. Go with what you know.
Step 3: Find the chocolate
Go back to Step 1: Don't pair a light, milk chocolate with a heavy wine or a 90% cacao chocolate with Vinho Verde. So think about your wine choice and how rich and powerful it is, then make your chocolate choice. White chocolate pairs nicely with Champagne, as does very light milk chocolate. If you like Pinot Noir, get a slightly darker chocolate. Merlot, darker still. Cabernet, super dark and rich. At the most decadent end of the spectrum, pair a nice Port with dark chocolate truffles.
Or, just get some good advice in the wine or chocolate shop. And if you have a pairing you know to work particularly well, share it with us below.