Making Wine And Chocolate Gift Baskets For That Special Someone
There are so many occasions when wine and chocolate gift baskets are a god sent. When your better half loves both wine and good food, you can use these gifts to show your true feelings. Whether it is a birthday, anniversary or simply the celebration of love, impress that special someone with chocolate and wine.
There are dozens of wine and chocolate gift baskets on the market but they are rarely a good choice if the one you love is a wine connoisseur. The reason is simple. Pairing wine and chocolate is far from easy. In fact, a successful pairing requires a careful choice of both elements. And more often than not, gift basket manufacturers don’t put enough thought and energy into finding the right pairings.
That’s why you could impress that special someone by making the wine and chocolate gift baskets yourself. A different one for every occasion of the year. Let’s see how to choose the most unexpected yet delicious pairings.
How To Pair Chocolate And Wine
Pairing chocolate and wine is a complex and creative operation. You’ll have to use your knowledge related to food and wine culture and assess the evolution that this culture has undergone. In some ways, finding the right chocolate and wine pairing is a challenge and a risk. Often, the success of a convivial pairing depends on the way in which these intense flavors match.
The pairing is always a game of sensations based on an intelligent search that goes beyond the emotions. It is an attempt to build a harmonious balance between complementary or contrasting sensations.
Understanding the Chocolate
The wine and chocolate pairing is often difficult to make because of the complexity of the latter. Its complexity is given by both its ingredients and organoleptic characteristics. In fact, there are many sensations that come into play when eating chocolate.
The most important sensations are the olfactory and gustatory, just as for the wine.
From an olfactory point of view, we can talk about the chocolate’s aroma, which is given by the integration of primary aromas with secondary ones. The primary fragrance is almost always given by the cocoa, which can have various origins thus various fragrances. The secondary aromas are given by the fermentation process and other operations, such as roasting and refining.
When assessing the aromas of a chocolate one must consider their persistence, intensity, and complexity. The intensity is often characterized by the aromatic strength. In other words, assessing the aromas of a chocolate is an operation similar to that of assessing the aromas of a wine.
On a gustatory level, we can also talk about a broad range of sensations that create the complex identity a chocolate has. The main sensation is the sweetness, which is typical to the mature cocoa but that can also be given by sugars and sweeteners.
The bitterness of the chocolate is another element to consider when pairing it with a wine. This sensation is given by the cocoa concentration and we can distinguish between white, milk and dark chocolates.
Besides these two sensations, you should also consider the acid tendency, the fatness and the persistence of the taste after the chocolate has been eaten.
Choosing the Right Wine
Apart from personal taste and subjectivity, there are two principles to follow when choosing the right wine for the chocolate. You can pair a wine with the chocolate based either on their concordance or on their contraposition. Any other pairing will make you lose important points in the eyes of your beloved wine enthusiast.
The wine should be able to keep up with the organoleptic properties of the chocolate in all ways, including structure, body, intensity, complexity, and persistence.
Specifically, considering the complexity of the chocolate, the wine paired should have an elevated alcoholic concentration, a high structure and complexity, an elegant tannic taste and an elevated sugar residue. From an olfactory point of view, the wine should be intense and have a strong aromatic persistence.
Making Wine And Chocolate Gift Baskets For That Special Someone
Enough with the theory. Making that ultimate wine and chocolate gift basket for that special someone requires the choice of the right ingredients. And maybe you’re not so enthusiast about food and wine as your better half.
To make a gift your special someone will appreciate, begin with the favorite chocolate, then choose a wine that pairs with that type of chocolate. Here’s how.
White Chocolate and Wine Gift Baskets
The first thing to understand when pairing white chocolate with the wine is that white chocolate isn’t actually chocolate. This sweet is made of cocoa butter and it doesn’t have cocoa at all in its composition. White chocolate’s flavor is very sweet and free of any bitter sensation.
For this reason, white chocolate pairs wonderfully with white and rosé wines. A fruity Chardonnay or a raisin Moscato are two excellent choices if you want to make a basket that impresses.
Milk Chocolate and Wine Gift Baskets
A high quality milk chocolate can usually satisfy the demands of all chocolate lovers. To make a winning match, pair it with a Pedro Ximenez Sherry. Full body red wines, such as Merlot, also pair well with this type of chocolate.
If you want to surprise with an unusual pairing, match the milk chocolate with a high-quality bottle of Champagne. The dry and fresh sparkling flavor contrasts perfectly with the creaminess of the milk and slightly bitter sensations of the chocolate.
Dark Chocolate and Wine Gift Baskets
Dark chocolate is a broad denomination which includes all chocolates with a cocoa concentration higher than 35%. The darkest types can have up to 99% cocoa and the percentage is decisive for the choice of the wine.
For dark chocolates with a cocoa concentration up to 70%, choose a red wine with intense flavors and aromas. Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir and Barolo Chianto are just a few varieties to consider.
If the chocolate contains more than 70% cocoa, pair it with a very alcoholic, soft and aged red wine, such as a Bordeaux, Shiraz or Porto. Red Marsala is also a good choice.
Chocolate Cake and Wine Gift Baskets
Who said that you have to use a chocolate bar for the gift? If you want to opt for a more original gift, pair a chocolate cake with a delicious wine. A pairing that surprises even the most passionate enthusiasts is Banyuls wine with chocolate cake.
Banyuls is typically a red wine, although in rare cases it is possible to find a white or rosé. What makes this wine special is the production technique based on the interruption of the alcoholic fermentation. This gives the wine a complex and fine aroma and flavor.
In detail, the wine is made from red grapes and the must is fermented with the skins for a short period that lasts between three and six weeks. At this point, the fermentation is interrupted by adding almost pure alcohol in a proportion between 5 and 10%.
To obtain a sweet Banyuls, wineries add the alcohol earlier in the fermentation stage. On the contrary, the alcohol is added later to obtain a dry wine.
Through this method, wineries obtain a wine with an elevated alcoholic concentration, usually between 15% and 18%. But the vinification process doesn’t end here.
After the fermentation is ended with the addition of alcohol, the wine is left to age in oak barrels or glass demijohns for at least one year. Most wines are aged for at least two and a half years while the high-quality Banyulss have between seven and ten years old.
The aging gives these wines a complex and full bouquet. At a tasting, they show intense, complex and very fine aromas of fruits, roasted coffee, chocolate, spices, baked plums, toasted almonds, tobacco, and cherries. The flavor is succulent, greasy, and dense.
Thanks to these characteristics, the wine pairs perfectly with the chocolate-based sweets, especially with the chocolate cakes and creams.
Making exceptional wine and chocolate gift baskets for that special someone doesn’t have to be hard. Once you know which is the favorite chocolate, you can simply choose the wine that pairs best. Just follow our advice and you’ll be able to exceed your beloved one’s expectations.