Wine and chocolate: A complex relationship

Wine and chocolate have plenty in common, but they don’t always get along.

Beefy red wines and dark chocolate may both express hints of coffee, ripe fruit, tobacco and toast. But as soon as either starts to get a little too sweet, things can fall apart.

Theirs is a relationship that requires careful management.

“Chocolate works really well as a savoury item,” said Jasen Gauthier, chef de cuisine at Vancouver’s Provence Marinaside restaurant. “The only caveat being that you have to use bitter chocolate.”

Gauthier advocates bringing the complementary flavours of chocolate, coffee and wine into one dish, in particular his espresso and chocolate braised short ribs.

“Processed cocoa or high cocoa dark chocolate is really complex and when you add a little coffee to complement the flavours in red wine it works really well,” he said.

“The toasted oak of a new world Cabernet Sauvignon with those smoky, earthy notes, those are the same notes that you get from a really good dark chocolate. The wine mimics those flavours and highlights them.”

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