Nearly everyone has vices. Some are less desirable, or less healthy than others. But if you can combine your favorite vices together as party food ideas, then life is good. For me, chocolate and wine fit the bill.
Imagine waking your guest's taste buds with a combination like wine and chocolate. It's an interactive scenario, with people noting their favorites and discussing the validity of each combination. But I also think it's likely to be an instant hit. After all, who doesn't like wine and chocolate? If they don't, then what are they doing at your party?
OK, so maybe you have friends who don't count these tasty treats among their vices, but perhaps you can win them over with the one-two punch of the pairing?
The key to pairing these great items is in the knowledge of each. One "chocolate educator" calls chocolate "the best known food that nobody knows anything about." Sample for yourself before putting them on your party food idea list.
Let me take an aside here. I love learning about food. Not just the taste, but more. Before planning your tasting event, read this about the history of chocolate from Smithsonian. It's an interesting lesson that could be a great talking point when you serve your pairings!
One thing to avoid is having any chocolate that is sweeter than the wine. If you thought grabbing a few Hershey bars was going to cut it, think again. Nothing against Hershey's, certainly their bars have their appropriate time for consumption. You'll want to look for chocolate with little or no sugar. If the chocolate is too sweet, the wine tastes sour.
Lighter wines can handle chocolate with about 65 percent coca, but the full bodied-reds need something with at least 75 percent. If you are a fan of the sweeter white chocolate, then try pairing that with a white wine. The high cocoa butter content in white chocolate can help neutralize the acidity of the wine.
You'll want to begin the tasting with the lighter chocolates combined with the lighter-bodied wines. Then you can work your way into the stronger pairing selections. About.com notes that darker chocolate will display more tannins, but if paired with a wine that has stout tannins, it will "overshadow, or cancel out the wine's tannins on the palate and allow more fruit to show through."
The bottom line: Know your wines, and know your chocolates before creating a pairing. Your party food idea could fall flat if you aren't careful. Once you've done your research, and have sampled many varieties (which I highly recommend) you can confidently create your pairings.
If you like it, it's good
There may be some debate about whether wine and chocolate are even a worthwhile duo. Read this blog and ensuing comment exchange just for giggles – I refer to it as whining about wine and chocolate
In my mind, if you like the way things taste together, then by all means, enjoy. Wine and chocolate are among many people's favorites. If you simply love the two and want to put them together, then give it a whirl.