One of life’s greatest pleasures, we say, is indulging in a little chocolate with a spicy shiraz.
And what better time of year to give this a go than right after Easter, when you’re wondering what to do with the excess of eggs and other chocolate treats you’ve accumulated over the festive season.
We, like many of you, have years of experience of both eating chocolate and drinking shiraz. We would go as far as calling ourselves chocolate and shiraz enthusiasts, if not connoisseurs. Separately, these two majestic creations do a fine job of satisfying our souls and tastebuds. But when consumed together, we hear angels sing.
Now, we all have our own chocolate preferences. Eighty per cent cocoa, for instance, could be too bitter for some, but not enough for others. With this in mind, we’ve shared our favourite ways to match chocolate with shiraz on different points of the cocoa spectrum:
1) With extra dark and bitter chocolate (80-90% cocoa) there are two matches we like. To offset the bitterness of the chocolate, nothing beats Piggs Peake’s Suckling Pig Shiraz. This Hunter Valley winery deserves a full article dedicated to its beautiful wines, however, for now we’ll focus on this dessert wine. The berry characters and the sweetness of the wine, combined with the bitter chocolate, will remind you of the flavours of a black forest cake. If dessert wines aren’t your cup of, well, wine, then Shaw & Smith’s 2010 Shiraz from the Adelaide Hills will provide that nice berry flavour, but with plenty of pepper and cinnamon to complement the chocolate.
2) For dark chocolate that is closer to the 60-70% cocoa mark, we prefer to stay away from big, bold reds and pick something from a cooler climate in Australia. One of our favourite wineries for cool-climate shiraz is Clonakilla in the Canberra area. Yes, some good things do come out of Canberra.
3) Once we leave dark chocolate territory and reach the milk chocolate spectrum, we like bubbles in our shiraz. With its higher fat content, milk chocolate tends to leave a coating in your mouth, which the spritzy bubbles of a sparkling shiraz lift off, energizing your palate for more chocolate!
Want to skip the chocolate altogether? If you can get your hands on it, try Sexual Chocolate. It’s a gorgeous shiraz made by Slo Down Wines in the Sonoma Valley, California. It’s velvety smooth and, you guessed it, has a delicious chocolate aftertaste.
Why not think about pairing a lovely chocolate with the next bottle of wine you give as a gift… and let us know what your favourite chocolate and wine combo is.