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Adventures in Writing, Reading & Book Culture

Red Wine & Dark Chocolate

In my ever-enthusiastic sampling of “new things to eat with red wine,” I think dark chocolate may be quintessentially the perfect match to a full-bodied wine with light tannis, served just chilled. Here’s my vision for tasting your way to an ideal dessert:

Take a tab of dark chocolate and nibble a corner. Nibble a few bits off that corner and let the pieces begin to melt on your tongue. Feel the deep cocoa flavor seep deeply into your tongue. A good dark chocolate, slightly bitter but no more than 75% cocoa, is best here; but whatever your preferences are, I’m sure they will do. The idea is to combine the flavors of wine and chocolate.

Now take a drink of wine. Let it flow through your mouth, mix with the chocolate, but don’t swallow right away. You want to allow the two flavors — and their aromas — to mix in your mouth and through your sinuses. BE CAREFUL to not snort the chocolate-wine mix into your sinuses; you may begin to drown, which will certainly ruin the experience.

Understand that half of human taste sensation comes from smell, aroma, and so you simply need to keep the two food elements in your mouth for 5 seconds or so to allow the natural aromas to flood your olfactory receptors.

Okay, okay! I know I’m being a bit technical here, but every how-to — especially with food — requires a bit of concentration to really understand what you’re trying to achive. The combination you’ll discover is a true mix of wine and chocolate. The taste reflects the fermented grape’s back-of-the-mouth strength with the sweet-bitter chocolate’s middle-tongue sugar spank. The combination creates a new sensation, a sort of fermented cocoa, if you will: a rich chocolate “cordial” that is less alcoholic than it is liquid desert.

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