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Valentine's Day Chocolate & Wine Pairings

Happy Chocolate Day!... Or is it Valentine's Day?

Sutter Home White Zinfandel Rosè photo by Sutter Home via their website /Treana Cabernet Sauvignon photo by Hope Family Wines via their website.

The day of sweet, ooey gooey good lovin' is here, it's Valentines day! I used to think Valentine's day was a bit silly, till I discovered the amazing world of chocolate and wine pairings. Let me tell you, the fun you can have wine tasting with your loved one and stuffing your face with chocolates is amazing and memorable! The debate my boyfriend and I get into is whether dark chocolate or milk chocolate is best, we just leave it as agree to disagree before we turn into makeshift lawyers! In my opinion, milk chocolate will always taste delicious, but a rich dark chocolate with fruit inside is such a lovely and sweet combination to me.

iGourmet carries a series of Valentine's day gifts ranging from Meat & Cheese Favorites Gift Box to French Valentine Sweets. Personally, I'd go with their Chocolate Bars of the World Gift Box as a surprise for my boyfriend considering how much he enjoys travelling!

It includes chocolates from Belgium, France, Spain, Switzerland, and Seattle, Washington. Take a look at the many options on their website here.

When it comes to comparing milk and dark chocolate you have to consider factors such as taste, quality, and health benefits.

Milk chocolate can be supreme with taste, texture, and quality depending on the chocolate maker's process and the cacao beans/milk used. Milk quality is just as important as cacao quality. When not mass produced, milk can offer varying flavor notes depending on the season and what the cows were eating!

Milk can provide a rich, creamy texture and bring out underlying caramel-like flavors when playing with roasting techniques and processing temps.

Something super cool: In recent years milk chocolate has evolved beyond dairy with plant-based alternatives! Such as, oat milk, almond milk, cashew milk, and coconut milk, each creating their own unique textures and flavors!

The downside to delicious and creamy milk chocolate is that adding the milk to the chocolate may interfere with the absorption of all the antioxidants in cacao, according to this article here.

The best types of dark chocolate are made to accentuate the complex notes of the cacao bean itself, which can have a flavor profile far more complex than some of the finest wines! Dark chocolate contains good fats and more fiber than milk chocolate, as well as nearly four times as much magnesium, twice as much potassium, and over three times as much iron according to the Toak Chocolate blog here.

Overall, dark chocolate seems to be the best choice for peace of mind when indulging in a few extra bites of chocolate this Valentine's Day!

Both wine and dark chocolate can have intense, dry flavors. When pairing together a dark, bittersweet chocolate with a bold red wine high in tannins,

it can be overwhelming on the palate.

In order to find balance, it's best to choose wines that are softer and juicier than the chocolate you're pairing with! This amazing article from Eataly helped me learn some guidelines for pairing wine and chocolate.

For milk chocolate, I'd go with a Rosè, particularly an affordable Sutter Home White Zinfandel from California. Sutter Home is proud to say they created America's original White Zinfandel in 1972.

This wine has the perfect balance of dry for the sweetness of the milk chocolate, while still resting a sweet and soft flavor on your palate.

As for dark chocolate, I prefer pairing a fairly priced Treana Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon. What I find interesting about Hope Family Wine's website is how they place the vineyard notes underneath the wines in their shop tab! Reading about the growing seasons, the harvest, the wine maker's notes on fermentation, is so intriguing and creates an appreciative energy around how they produce the wine for us. The plum, blackberry and black cherry, vanilla, and oaky flavors compliment the rich bittersweet flavors in rich dark chocolates!

There truly is so much versatility in pairing wine and chocolate, make it a day for experimenting with your loved ones!

Happy Valentines Day! May this day fill your heart with the love and happiness you feel when you are holding chocolate in your hand!


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