There are some wines that do admirably well with chocolate. Vintage Port strikes a match with darker, bitter chocolates and many sweet dessert wines such as Sauternes or Canadian Icewine can find good company with white chocolate based desserts. Many wine lovers even subscribe to pairing bold red wines with dark chocolate. I don’t. I believe the mouth coating texture of chocolate reduces the feeling of weight and flavour of most table wines and wines tannins and chocolate invariably clash. Beer is different. Its beer’s broad flavour profile, and in particular styles made from dark malts, can echo the flavours of chocolate. Call it the common interest that brings the two together but as well as know too much of the same can get boring. There’s more to a great relationship than just having one common element. Let’s put some of our favourite beers to the ‘Chocolate Match’ test.
Accessorize – If you want to make your white outfit standout, you add a little splash of colour with the accessories. You can do the same with a white chocolate pairing. White chocolate has a natural affinity to fruit flavours. Forego citrus infused beers and add a dash apricot or raspberry. I recommend complimenting white chocolate with a full-flavoured fruit beer such as St. Ambroise Apricot Wheat Ale or one of the many Raspberry Wheat Ales available at the NSLC.
Add Spice to the Night – With so many great local chocolatiers opting for spice to infuse truffles and other chocolate treats with flavour, your beer match needs to have an equally strong personality, otherwise this match will result in a one-sided conversation. Thankfully, lots of brewers these days are experimenting with adding their own spice mix to their beers. Look for Winter Warmers such as Garrison Brewing’s version.
Dress for the Occasion – Valentine’s Day is a day to be stylish. When it comes to chocolate and beer, black is always in fashion. Black, often opaque, Stouts and Porters are often the best matches to dark chocolate. These beer styles’ own espresso and chocolate like flavours find a natural flavour match to chocolate. I prefer styles that rely on malt sweetness as opposed to drier Stouts, but the fun here is getting some friends together, a few beers, and a selection of chocolates. Make your own determinations.