The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Pair your Valentine's gift of chocolate with a complementary wine

  • Print

If a box of chocolates is your gift choice for that someone special this Valentine's Day, put some adventure into it and pair it with a bottle of wine. Just be the sure it's the right wine.

"Ideally you should choose a wine that is sweeter than the chocolate," says Natalie MacLean of Ottawa, an accredited sommelier, wine writer, speaker and judge. "Otherwise the wine will taste bitter by comparison."

She says that no matter what kind of chocolate you've got, there is also richness which comes from high alcohol.

MacLean suggests taking a piece of dark chocolate which is high in cacao content (70 to 90 per cent) and pairing it with either tawny or vintage port.

"My favourite is tawny because I love the caramel toffee nutty goodness in it," she adds. "But vintage will also work because it has dark plum, cassis and blackberry notes."

And surprise, even milk chocolate can be paired, although it is a bit more complex task, she notes.

For instance, a wine such as Hungarian Tokaji could work well.

"It has those wonderful buttery aromas of over-ripe apricots and peaches, so think of the fillings that are in milk chocolate or truffles, and the flavours that come through in a Tokaji are lovely," MacLean says.

Asked if fruit wines could be paired with chocolate, she says no, because they are too light.

"A strawberry with a little chocolate on the tip would be lovely with fruit wine or ice wine for that matter. You can't go too heavy with chocolate dessert and a fruit wine because it doesn't have the body or the weight to match."

Mid-range dark chocolate matches well with a purply plummy sweet wine such as Italian Recioto Della Valpolicella.

"It's rich but not quite as hefty as port," says MacLean. "Another one would be a sweet cream sherry which like port is fortified."

This is a process in winemaking in which grape spirits like brandy are added to the fermentation juice, she explains.

In the case of port, the brandy is added while it is fermenting. For sherry, it is fermented to complete dryness and then the brandy is added.

Here are MacLean's top 10 wine and chocolate matches:

-Dark chocolate and Banyuls, France.

-Chocolate-covered biscotti and Recioto Della Valpolicella, Italy.

-Chocolate-Orange cake and Liqueur Muscat, Australia.

-Chocolate with nuts and Tawny Port, Portugal.

-Milk chocolate and Tokaji, Hungary.

-Bittersweet chocolate and Amarone, Italy.

-Chocolate-dipped fruit and Icewine, Canada.

-Chocolate Ganache Truffles and Sauternes, France.

-Chocolate raspberry cheesecake and Framboise, California.

-Chocolate hearts with cream filling and Cream Sherry, Spain.

"Wine is liquid sensuality: Its heady bouquet stimulates the appetite and its velvet caress soothes that desire," MacLean says.

"And when you pair wine with the mouth-coating luxury of chocolate, the combination is impossible to resist."

To learn more about wine and food pairing, log on to her website at


Judy Creighton welcomes letters at 9 Kinnell St., Hamilton, Ont. L8R 2J8, but cannot promise to answer all correspondence personally. She can also be reached by email at jcreighton(at)

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes


  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.


Make text: Larger | Smaller


Drew Willy says team couldn't get anything going

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • PHIL.HOSSACK@FREEPRESS.MB.CA 090728 / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS White Pelicans belly up to the sushi bar Tuesday afternoon at Lockport. One of North America's largest birds is a common sight along the Red RIver and on Lake Winnipeg. Here the fight each other for fish near the base of Red RIver's control structure, giving human fisher's downstream a run for their money.
  • JOE.BRYKSA@FREEPRESS.MB.CA Local-(Standup photo)- Humming Around- A female ruby -throated hummingbird fly's through the bee bomb  flowers Friday at the Assiniboine Park English Garden- Nectar from flowers are their main source of food. Hummingbirds wings can beat as fast as 75x times second. Better get a glimpse of them soon the birds fly far south for the winter - from Mexico to South America- JOE BRYKSA/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS- Sept 10, 2009

View More Gallery Photos


What's your take on a report that shows violent crime is decreasing in Winnipeg?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google