Food Matching Chocolate

10 June 2021

In the variegated world of wine, we find intensity of aromas and a great cleansing capacity of the palate, which make the combination with chocolate perfect, notoriously characterized by delicate aromatic bouquets, fullness and present fatness.

Until a few decades ago, chocolate was simply white, milk or dark and the highest expression of chocolate in our childhood memories was the Easter egg!

Today thanks to some tenacious and capable pioneers, one above all Gianluca Franzoni, founder of Domori, we have discovered that there is chocolate and chocolate. There are several cultivars of cocoa, from the highly prized Criollo to the more impetuous Forastero, not to mention a hybrid called Trinitario. Today it is no longer a secret that two dark chocolates can have profoundly different organoleptic expressions. Processing cocoa mass is a serious matter and, exactly as it happens in the world of wine, the chocolate bar is made in the field, or rather, from a Theobroma Cacao plant that grows in an equatorial forest in Central America.

Yes, because Cristoforo Colombo discovered the cocoa plant there and Cortés many years later did not understand its potential by exporting it to Europe. The requests multiplied and cultivation began as far as Africa and from there to Indonesia.

The cocoa plant is a delicate tree. It loves humid and warm environments and finds its most ideal habitat under huge mother plants (usually palm trees or banana plants) which guarantee indirect sun all year round. Production is in a continuous cycle and the wonderful starry flowers of the cocoa tree grow directly on the main trunk of the plant. After an appropriate fertilization, often thanks to the hand of man, the fruit in the shape of a rugby ball, the cabossa, develops in 5-6 months, containing about thirty seeds wrapped in a sweet and acidic whitish pulp.

The collected pods are opened in half with a machete blow. The seeds with their pulp are left to ferment for a few days in the field, wrapped in banana leaves, or when possible, in local wooden boxes. With this process the first organoleptic transformations begin to take shape and it is the fermentation itself that gives the chocolate its characteristic acidity. The drying and subsequent roasting at a controlled temperature will further characterize the chocolate, allowing the development of aromas that do not stop, as is often thought, in roasted, chocolaty and coffee, but range through dried fruit, white flowers and red fruit as well as spices and vanilla. On the palate a dark chocolate could be partly sweet, partly acid (thanks to the fermentation undergone by the beans immediately after harvesting) and above all bitter, which must always be pleasant and well balanced.
With the addition of powdered milk, milk chocolate is born that gives the nose all those aromatic notes reminiscent of milk and cream, but not only: toffee, caramel, toffee and even dulce de leche!

Not least, of course, white chocolate which, thanks to the absence of cocoa powder and the large presence of milk, sugar and vanilla, gives us exotic and delicate emotions of sweet spices, honey, pastry and cream.

Among the great Italian chocolates we certainly cannot forget the Chocolate of Modica IGP or the historic Gianduja chocolate, born from the harmonious fusion of cocoa and Piedmont IGP hazelnuts.

And where to look for a pairing, therefore, with something so varied and fragrant, if not among wines, sweet, fortified and flavored? Of course, wines aren’t the only ones that go perfectly with chocolate, but today you’ll have to settle for it. I can’t tell you everything right away!

Chocolate loves to be delicately cleaned and suitably elevated by combining it with sweet wines of balanced alcohol content, characterized by slight astringency and good acidity. Space therefore for the complementarity between organoleptic characteristics: combine a wine that is gradually more complex and penetrating to better appreciate the extra bitter dark chocolate, or a simple, clear and delicate wine accompanied by a white chocolate bar, some petit four or a pâte -a-stuffed choux.

Recalling that the first combination to focus on is the combination by color, we find that an Albana di Romagna passito, a Recioto di Soave or a Moscato passito go well with milk chocolate and all its preparations. A Passito di Pantelleria, a Malvasia di Bosa or a sweet Marsala Superiore will find its perfect harmony with a milk chocolate. While you can play the classic card with a Recioto della Valpolicella, a Barolo chinato or a Porto Tawny to achieve perfect harmony with the different dark chocolates, remembering that the greater the percentage of cocoa in the dark chocolate, the greater the structure of the wine must be. But be careful! Do not make the mistake of believing that the alcohol content of wine must increase if the percentage of cocoa mass in a chocolate increases, because the astringency of cocoa on the palate, added to the alcohol content of the wine, could be intrusive and sometimes biting. Let us therefore rely on the great softness and pleasing complexity of balanced and well-built wines.

But that is not all! Finally, with a great surfin chocolate (milk chocolate with a high percentage of cocoa characterized by great melt) I recommend a Sagrantino di Montefalco Passito. And if you are in the mood for romance, here is an all-pink pairing served: with Ruby chocolate, the very recent fourth chocolate discovered (as well as white, milk and dark), characterized by the typical pink color of the Ruby cocoa bean capable of very fine acidity and notes of red fruits, combined with a sweet rosé Lambrusco, a Moscato Rosa from Trentino, also in a sparkling version, or a gallant Pinot Noir Rosé with great palatability and fragrance.

To be able to buy these chocolate delicacies on our site, you will alas have to wait until September. With the summer season and the heat, the chocolate cannot be shipped.
If in the meantime you want to train with a good glass of Recioto della Valpolicella Docg, order it here.

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