Chocolate and... Wine?
Yes, Chocolate and Wine! While this may seem an odd pairing at first, in reality they can complement each other beautifully if paired properly.
For the sake of clarity, we are speaking, for the most part, almost exclusively of red wine. Both chocolate and red wine have more than 200 flavor compounds which form their rich, complex and unique flavors but it is also the variability of these compounds which makes one red wine or chocolate so distinctly different from one to another in their flavor profiles.
At first it may seem that the “sweetish” flavor profile of chocolate to be completely incompatible with the more savory profile of red wine but in reality, one only has to momentarily hold a mouthful of wine or chocolate to realize there is a complex and seemingly contradictory depth in each; sweet, savory, acidic, smooth and much much more.
Some will staunchly declare that something as rich as chocolate "ruins" the palate's experience of the wine, and vice versa. While there may be logic to that thinking, the experience of tasting the two, when paired properly, will clearly illustrate that complex flavors are anything but logical.
Because of the unique flavor facets of each, it is not just a simple matter of taking a sip of a Zinfandel and biting off a hunk of a Hershey bar. As with many foods with complex flavors, red wine and chocolate do not easily or always get along, but when paired just right, they make beautiful music together.
In an ideal situation, the acidity in the wine will draw out the subtler nuances in the chocolate, and the acidity in the chocolate will do the same for the wine while making space for the sweetness in the chocolate to balance the with the wine and not repel it. If we are lucky, those nuances, the wisps and flutters of fruit, spice, earth, or smoke in both the chocolate and in the wine, will complement each other and make for a memorable experience that can be truly greater than the sum of their parts.