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Did You Know?

  • Of all the varieties of chocolate available, from white to milk, dark chocolate is the healthiest.
  • Dark chocolate contains high levels of antioxidants that work to reduce your risk of cancer.
  • Dark chocolate contains flavonoids that can decrease your blood pressure.
  • The flavonoids in dark chocolate also help blood flow more smoothly, decreasing your risk of heart attack.
  • The flavonoids in chocolate that help your blood flow more smoothly also improve your cardiovascular function.
  • Some suggest the phenylethylamine in dark chocolate stimulates the nervous system, acting as an aphrodisiac.
  • Cocoa contains substances known to kill the bacteria in your mouth that cause tooth decay and cavities.
  • The higher cocoa content a chocolate has, the bigger the health benefit.
  • White chocolate has none of the antioxidant benefits of other chocolates since it contains no cocoa.

Pairing Wine with Chocolate

Pairing Wine with Chocolate

Rule #1, the wine should be at least as sweet, if not a touch sweeter, than the chocolate you are serving it with. Otherwise, the taste may quickly veer towards sour. When pairing wines with chocolate, your best bet is to match lighter, more elegant flavored chocolates with lighter-bodied wines; likewise, the stronger the chocolate, the more full-bodied the wine should be. For example, a bittersweet chocolate tends to pair well with an intense, in-your-face California Zinfandel.

Similar to "formal" wine tasting, if you will be experimenting with several varities of chocolates, work from light to dark. Start with a more subtle white chocolate and end on a dark or bittersweet chocolate.

White Chocolate Wine Suggestions

White chocolate tends to be more mellow and buttery in flavor, making it an ideal candidate for a Sherry (try Manuel de Argueso Pedro Ximinez $18), a Moscato d'Asti (try Michele Chiarlo Moscato d'Asti 2005, $12), from Italy's Piedmont region offers a hint of carbonation, or an Orange Muscat (such as Quady Winery's Electra 2005 Orange Muscat for $12). The Sherry and Moscato d'Asti will pick up the creaminess of the chocolates and the Orange Muscat will pick up any fruit tones present.

Milk Chocolate Wine Suggestions

Pinot Noir (Rex Goliath Pinot Noir $9) or a lighter-bodied Merlot (try Hogue or Columbia Crest) will complement a bar of milk chocolate, a creamy chocolate mousse or chocolate accented cheesecake. Rieslings, Muscats (try Bonny Doon's Muscat Vin de Glaciere 2004 for $15) or dessert wines tend to hold up well to mild milk chocolates.

Dark Chocolate Wine Suggestions

Dark or bittersweet chocolates need a wine that offers a roasted, slightly bitter flavor itself, with perhaps a hint of its own chocolate notes. Cabs and Zinfandels have a history of perfecting the dark chocolate match, resulting in an unparalleled tasting combination. A Cabernet Sauvignon or a Zinfandel (try Grgich Hills Zinfandel 2004, $30) will more than fill your chocolate pairing expectations.