Melissa, our trainee manager at the Aylesbury store, takes us through which wines to sip with our chocolate eggs this Easter Sunday.
I recently visited some friends for dinner. I brought the wines, they brought the chocolates. When dessert came around we went through all the different chocolates and wines to see if there were any good matches. There were many! So I’ve highlighted the ones we thought were particularly tasty.
Peter Lehmann’s Portrait Barossa Valley Shiraz and Dark Chocolate
The shiraz from Peter Lehmann’s Portrait series is a superb example of what Australian shiraz can be: smooth, full-bodied, with intense flavours of dark fruits and black pepper. This wine really packs a punch, and we thought the only chocolate you can have with it is one that does the same, like the Venezuelan 72% dark chocolate we tried. The bitterness of the chocolate coupled with the fruit and spice of the wine tasted delicious. Because of its powerful flavours, the Lehmann shiraz did not disappear beneath the chocolate. The mouthfeel of the two combined was warming and velvety. What also works really well with this wine is you can go from dinner to dessert without having to open a different bottle.
Feeling fancy? Try your shiraz with dark chocolates of varying cocoa levels to see which strength you prefer. Go on, go over to the dark side and try the 90% stuff.
Buy the Peter Lehmann Shiraz online here.
Andrew Quady’s Elysium Black Muscat and Milk Chocolate
Elysium, Greek for paradise, this wine comes from California, and is made from the black muscat grape. Looking at the wine in the glass, you wouldn’t think it was a dessert wine as it isn’t sticky like Port. It’s rather unusual. Swirl it around in the glass and oh my, you are greeted with the refreshing aroma of rose water. You can taste candied rose petals, raspberries, redcurrant, and even a little bit of sweet spice. We enjoyed it best with milk chocolate – the tastes of the wine and the chocolate work well together, and the wine slices through the chocolate’s heavy and creamy body, adding buoyancy to the mouthfeel.
Feeling fancy? Drink it with truffles that have red fruit centres to add even more complexity. We tried it with some strawberry and balsamic truffles (pictured) and the taste was absolutely divine! Paradise indeed!
Buy Elysium Black Muscat online here.
Taylor’s 10 Year Old Tawny Port and Milk Chocolate
We tried a few Ports at dinner: Late Bottle Vintage, Vintage and Tawny. They all went hand in hand with milk chocolate. We were particularly impressed with the combination of Tawny Port and hazelnut pralines. The nutty flavours in the Tawny Port were beautifully enhanced by the hazelnuts, and the texture of the pralines also added interest as they gave us something to crunch! We also found that milk chocolate tamed the bite of the Port that you can sometimes feel when drinking it without food. I personally enjoy the Tawny Port chilled – I like the sensation of the wine and chocolate warming up and then melting away. But it also works very well at room temperature.
Feeling fancy? You’ve got a special bottle of Port and don’t want its flavours to be masked by chocolate? Who could blame you? Avoid white and milk chocolate, and get some very dark chocolate. It won’t be too heavy on the tongue, and it will help your Port’s flavours to sing out.
There are a range of Ports available on the website. Find them all here.
Bodegas Hidalgo Pedro Ximenez Viejo Triana Sherry and Milk Chocolate
My favourite match, and what I’ll be having this Easter Sunday, is PX Sherry and a milk chocolate egg. This ultra-sweet sherry is made from dried Pedro Ximenez grapes from the Sherry region of Spain, Jerez. The wine is also barrel-aged for a long time. Drying the grapes concentrates the flavours in their pulps, and so after the winemaking process you are left with incredibly intense tastes of raisin, fig, and toffee. The barrel-ageing gives the sherry its finesse and wonderfully persistent finish. We enjoyed the sherry with both milk and dark chocolate as the flavours mingled effortlessly. There was something extra special about the texture of the sherry and the milk chocolate together – so thick and smooth, like treacle but with a real uplifting zing from the sherry.
Feeling fancy? The wine was delicious with an array of nuts and dried fruits like cashews, almonds, raisins, sultanas, crystallized ginger etc. Mix them in with your chocolate and sherry combination and you won’t be disappointed!
Find the Hidalgo PX Sherry in your local Majestic.
Got someone coming round who wants beer instead of wine? There are several that go well with chocolate including Guinness, Hoegaarden, and if they want to be really appropriate while eating their Easter egg – Old Speckled Hen.
Have a lovely Easter Sunday!
The chocolates my friends brought were absolutely heavenly, from a local chocolaterie, shelleychocolates.co.uk