What's for Dessert?
Dinner might be over but the party is just beginning when you invite your guests to explore the amazing compatibility between six GHIRARDELLI INTENSE DARK CHOCOLATES with six different sips of elixirs that accentuate various attributes of these luxurious treats. While taste is certainly subjective, every guest is invited to figure out which is his or her favorite combination.
Dedicate six small platters or plates, preferably plain white, to showcase the contrast of the chocolates — one for each individual chocolate variety. Display them, along with their wrapper or an extra bar, in the following order, ranging from mild and creamy to sweet, through silky and bitter, toward sweet and crunchy:
GHIRARDELLI Intense Dark 60% Cacao Evening Dream Bar
GHIRARDELLI Intense Dark 72% Cacao Twilight Delight
GHIRARDELLI Intense Dark 86% Cacao Midnight Reverie Bar
GHIRARDELLI Intense Dark Sea Salt Soiree Bar
GHIRARDELLI Intense Dark Toffee Interlude Bar
GHIRARDELLI Intense Dark Hazelnut Heaven Bar
Now, number and line up your favorite bottles, behind or alongside the platters/plates, in order from driest to sweetest. Note that you can choose your favorite brands to match these suggested categories. The idea of the pairing is to let guests take sips of each wine while sampling various chocolates. Some pairings will be better than others, which is precisely the point: Generate conversation and, perhaps, even competition, among friends who in search of the Perfect Pairing.
Fruity White (i.e. Chardonnay)
Before guests start sipping the sweet wines, have them try a buttery, New World (read: California) Chardonnay first. Though technically not a "dessert wine," a plush, high-fruit, low-acid Chardonnay complements the cocoa and caramel in the chocolate.
Fruity Red (i.e. Pinot Noir)
You can choose any medium-bodied, fruity red here to accentuate the fruitiness in the chocolate, or to contrast the chocolate's bitter, earthy qualities.
Sherry comes in many styles, from bone dry to syrupy sweet. The salty, nutty nose on a dry Oloroso Sherry mirrors the nutty nuances in some of these chocolates.
Demi-sec is a term used to classify sparkling wines that have a touch of sweetness; these wines compliment the fruity notes in chocolate. Contrary to common belief, dry, or "brut" sparkling wines tend to taste bitter with most chocolates.
Though, rich, viscous Sauternes can be dessert unto themselves, their honeysuckle aromas and dried fruit flavors complement caramel and toffee perfectly.
It's no surprise to find Port paired with chocolate in general, but a lighter, nuttier Tawny Port is exactly the style that this nutty toffee demands. Port's toffee and caramel flavors, along with a mouthwatering jolt of acidity to cut through chocolate
Want more INTENSE DARK Pairing Party ideas? Visit Ghirardelli's Perfect Pairing page. Need Tasting Notes for your guests? Check out Ghirardelli's Intense Dark Pairing Guide. What are your perfect pairing ideas? Take a photo with Ghirardelli.