Yes, wine WITH chocolate... sometimes
Easter weekend will no doubt bring the usual deluge of chocolate, but what about wine and chocolate together?
They are very poor partners, chocolate being one of the most difficult foods of all to match with wine.
There are of course various types of chocolate and, of course wine, so it is about choosing the right wine to go with the right chocolate.
Strangely there are wines that actually remind you of chocolate occasionally, deep rich reds from South America often have notes of chocolate, for example.
However when it comes to chocolate or chocolatey puddings, fortified wine would be my general suggestion.
A young, fruit-driven port can work really well.
Fonseca Bin 27 Reserve Port (Majestic £14.99 or as part of a mixed six £13.49) is made using the same approach as a late-bottled vintage but blended over a few vintages to ensure consistency. It’s full-bodied with lots of juicy blackcurrant fruit, spice and a rich, velvety finish.
This works really well with chocolate desserts with some red fruits or with some chocolate truffles after a meal.
If you feel like being a little more adventurous, Waitrose Seriously Plummy Maury, Dessert Wine (Waitrose £10.99 37.5cl) is from the south of France and similar to a ruby port but slightly lighter in style.
This is all about plums and black cherries and again works well with chocolate desserts. Serve slightly chilled.
Something even more left field may be a bottle of sparkling shiraz, a real ‘Marmite’ style of wine that could only possibly come from Australia.
Jacob’s Creek Sparkling Shiraz NV(Waitrose £7.99 on offer from £9.99 until April 12) is a great introduction to the style.
Served slightly chilled, it looks great in the glass with a frothy mousse that’s followed by a big dollop of red fruit, some spice and, somewhat strangely for sparkling wine, some velvety tannin.
It works surprisingly well with a variety of foods including roast turkey if you are having that this Easter. It’s also very good with chocolate.
Lastly, how about Darling Cellars Chocoholic Pinotage 2014, Darling (Co-op £7.99 on offer from £9.99 until April 5) is a red wine that has been made with just a touch of sweetness.
It’s full of dark plummy fruit, coffee and, yes, chocolate, followed by more of the same on the palate. It finishes with a ripe, almost sweet finish.
This could be very moreish to some but, a bit like the sparkling shiraz, may not be everyone’s ‘Easter treat’ (including mine as it happens) but it would work with an Easter egg if that’s what you fancy.
Alistair Gibson is proprietor of Hermitage Cellars, Emsworth. Call 01243 431002.