Chocolate’s New Nobility

As consumers become more sophisticated, they begin to seek higher quality chocolate. Many people are already particular about their selections of fine wines and even more people are beginning to cultivate their taste for fine chocolates. Former chocoholics, now referred to as chocolate “connoisseurs,” realize the taste and quality of chocolate depends on the type of cocoa bean used and the environment in which it is grown.

There are many varieties of cocoa beans grown all around the world. Each different cocoa bean brings certain distinct flavors to the dark chocolate being made, much like the grapes used in different types of wines. The taste of the chocolate also depends on whether the chocolate is made from a blend of cocoa beans or a single source.

With this new found appreciation for gourmet chocolate has come the discovery of the parallels between fine wine and fine chocolate. These parallels have led to many chocolate and wine tasting events. Some may think this is an odd combination, but it is really a great match when you learn which type of chocolate matches which type of wine. One rule of thumb is to be sure the wine is at least as sweet as the chocolate - if not sweeter.

According to Teresa J. Farney of The Gazette (Colorado Springs, Colorado), in order to determine which combinations you prefer at a chocolate and wine tasting event, you would follow the following four steps.

  1. Start the tasting by swirling, sniffing and sipping the wine, to prepare the palate and experience the wine on its own.
  2. Before biting into the chocolate or chocolate truffles in question, break a piece in two, listening for the clean snap that means the bar has been tempered properly. Next, sniff it. Enjoy its aromas. Then, take a small bite, letting it melt only slightly. See if you notice any fruit, nut or floral notes.
  3. Finally, sip the wine again and swirl it in your mouth together with the chocolate.
  4. Repeat with the remaining wines and bar, making notes about the combinations you like or don't like.
Move over wine, because chocolate is raising the bar!

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