A few weekends ago I gathered some of my girlfriends on a warm Sunday afternoon for a chocolate and wine tasting party. When I sent out the invite asking if anyone could join me for chocolate and vino during toddler nap time, one of my friends replied “Is this a dream?” It sure felt like one!
I first fell in love with Scharffen Berger chocolate back in 2009 at the BlogHer Food conference. The blue bag of 72% bittersweet chocolate chunks is known in our house as “the good guy.” It’s my favorite baking chocolate…er…and snacking chocolate. I love that Scharffen Berger chocolates have simple ingredient lists and focus on pure cacao bliss. During my trip to Hershey in July I learned that Scharffen Berger is actually part of The Hershey Company, so I was thrilled to take it under my wing for a future post.
What goes better with chocolate than wine?
I took notes from the Scharffen Berger website on pairing party best practices. They have a pretty extensive tasting library, including a downloadable booklet you can print. Following their guide, we chose four bars of chocolate to pair with four wines and matched the sweetness of the chocolate with the body of the wine. I had two extra bars on hand for bonus tastes – the new Pistachio and Sea Salt flavor and a 72% Signature Dark bar.
I put out waters and oyster crackers for palate cleansers along with paper and pens for taking notes.
I chose these four wines for our tasting going from light to full body:
Leese Fitch Pinot Noir // Saint Cosme Cotes du Rhone // Trentadue Old Patch Red // Sebastiani Cab Sauv
These four Scharffen Berger chocolate bars were the official tasters going from 41% Cacao Extra Rich Milk to 82% Cacao Extra Dark:
We paired them from left to right so that the sweeter chocolate went with the lightest wine and the extra dark chocolate paired with the boldest cabernet.
And then the tasting began!
We sniffed, swirled, chewed, sucked and nibbled.
Here is a collection of our notes:
Leese Fitch Pinot Noir + Scharffen Berger 41% Extra Rich Milk Bar
Cherries // Toffee // Spiced // Leathery // Black pepper
With chocolate: Big fruit, smoother, less spice, cherries, less acidic
Saint Cosme Cotes du Rhone + Scharffen Berger 62% Semisweet Dark Chocolate Bar
Cream // Brie Cheese // Wood chips // Bold chili spices // Tobacco // Earthy
With chocolate: Brought out more fruit and spice, enhanced hidden flavors, a bit musty
Trentadue Old Patch Red + Scharffen Berger 70% Bittersweet Dark Chocolate Bar
Jammy // Well balanced // Smooth and soft fruit // Sweetest of the bunch
With chocolate: Brought out more spice and berries, enhanced all flavors
Sebastiani Cabernet Sauvignon + Scharffen Berger 82% Extra Dark Chocolate Bar
Toasted like a grill // Hazelnuts // Big and bold // Plum // Toasted vanilla
With chocolate: Best pairing, smoky and rich fruit, chocolaty
Overall we felt that the darkest chocolate and boldest wine were the most perfect pairing of the bunch.
Please share your favorite chocolate pairings in the comments!
Disclosure: This blog post was sponsored by The Hershey Company as part of my participation in their Food Ambassador program. All thoughts and opinions are my own.