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Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Chocolate and Wine Matching with Cocoa Runners / Corney & Barrow

Matching chocolate from Cocoa Runners to wines from Corney & Barrow

Chocolate, it seems, is following wine, cheese, coffee and now beer in becoming a crafted, artisan product for the great parlour game of dinner-party one upmanship.

The latest hipster trend is bean-to-bar production of craft chocolates from all over the world; Cocoa Runners, then, are ahead of the zeitgeist.

They were at a Corney & Barrow Christmas In July event showcasing their chocolates with matching wines.

My rule for chocolate matching is simple - banyuls or whisky and espresso with very dark chocolate.

The first principle of any match is that the wine must be sweeter than the dessert.

Secondly, chocolate is savoury, bitter, fatty and sweet so all these aspects need to be matched even before you start thinking about textures, aromas and so on.

Much as I liked the wines and chocolates separately, I did not find any combination in which the wine was enhanced by the addition of chocolate - invariably, the wines were overpowered with the sole exception of a Vin Santo which had just enough rich, savoury sweetness to stand up to a white chocolate.

This led to a long discussion with Cocoa Runners founder Spencer Hyman about possible better matches - Madeira, port, dark sherries and straw wines all have the potential sweet-savouriness to stand up to chocolate. Islay whiskies might well match with some particularly smokey chocolates that Spencer imports.

There is some fascinating experimentation waiting to happen.

Other related articles
Baruzzo - parts 1 and 2
Another chocolate and wine match failure

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