Since Valentine’s day is just around the corner, it seemed only fitting this month to do a little Italian wine and chocolate pairing. Both Wine and Chocolate come with just rich personalities, it only makes sense we often think of them together. But not all wine and chocolate pair so well. Wine can easily overpower chocolates flavors, especially if you opt for cheaper brands of chocolate.
Let’s have a look at the best Italian wine and chocolate pairings!
Milk Chocolate Fan?
Milk chocolate is especially difficult, make sure you get really good milk chocolate whose flavors can balance with wine well. If you are looking for a red Italian wine and chocolate pairing, try something like a Syrah or a Ramandolo. Sweeter wines go really well with milk chocolate. Some Italian sweet wines to look for: Vin Santo (from Tuscany), Moscato di Scanzo (Lombardy), Sagrantino Passito (Umbria), or Recioto (Veneto).
Sparkling Wines can also go really well with milk chocolate but try not to have chocolate-covered fruit with sparklings, it ends up being too much with textures and layers of flavors.
Dark Chocolate & Italian Wine
Dark chocolate is the preferred chocolate here in Italy, fondente, as it is called, tends to be found more readily, especially in cooking. For just plain dark chocolate or chocolate truffles, try a rich Amarone, or a Vino Nobile Montepulciano. The tobacco and chocolate undertones of these wines themselves go really well with the dark chocolate. If you are a fan of candied orange peel or other dried fruits dipped in dark chocolate, try it with Barolo Chinato. Barolo Chinato is an aromatized wine, that has had alcohol and sugar added, its flavors are closer to that of a good Vermouth di Torino.
What about White Chocolate?
White chocolate is of course much sweeter, this can go well with neutral sparkling wines like Prosecco, or sweet wines like Moscato or Malvasia delle Lipari (Sicily). It can also pair nicely with a crisp, light white wine like a good Pinot Grigio.
How about other sweets?
Valentines Day is right in the heart of Italy’s Carnevale period so you are sure to come across tons of delicious pastries. Some favorites are chiaccere, bugie, and castagnole. All of these of course go excellently with sparkling wines. Chiacchere, also known as frappe, costoli, cenci, and many other names are a fried crispy cookie usually covered with powdered sugar. While they share the same essentials, Cenci, from Tuscany are made with Vin Santo, and so of course pair well.
Bugie are like little pillows of pastry, filled usually with chocolate, or jam, then covered in powdered sugar. The jam ones might be too sweet and fruity to be paired with a heavier sweet wine but will go well with a dry sparkling. The chocolate-filled can go with a light-bodied dry red or a dry sparkling.
Castagnole, which are similar to little donut holes, and fritelle di mele (fried apple slices, a favorite here in Piemonte) pair so well with a Rosato like Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo.