Easter bonnet parades and egg hunts. Easter is such fun for kids.
I remember that childhood excitement of Easter morning. I’d wake up to find an Easter egg at the bottom of my bed. And apparently the Easter bunny in my area was a little clumsy, since he would leave a trail of small eggs behind him that finished at the bottom of the driveway. Collecting these small eggs made Easter so magical.
Things are a bit different now. I worry about whether I am eating fair-trade chocolate or not, and I try not to think about how many calories I am consuming. I can’t complain about the long weekend, but how can we, as adults, bring Easter magic back?
Perhaps an Easter chocolate and wine pairing is one way to have some Easter fun.
The general rule is that the wine should be as sweet, if not sweeter, than the chocolate. I think this rule is good, but it needs to be broken some times. Part of the Easter fun can be working out which chocolate and wine pairings work for you.
Here are a few of the chocolate and wine pairings I like:
1. White Chocolate and Orange Muscat
Yes, I know white chocolate isn’t really chocolate; but it looks so good, and there are people who actually prefer white chocolate to milk or dark chocolate. Plain white chocolate pairs well with Moscato d’Asti as does Orange Muscat. But Orange Muscat pairs better, in my opinion, with white chocolate that has hazelnuts in it. Together, they create a full dessert sensation in your mouth. The citrus and stone fruit character of the wine brings out the nutty flavours in the white chocolate, and even the chocolate itself tastes more exotic.
Here, I have paired white chocolate with Brown Brothers 2012 Orange Muscat & Flora from Victoria.
2. Milk Chocolate-covered Strawberries and Moscato d’Asti
Chocolate-covered strawberries offer some freshness to a chocolate-tasting frenzy (and some nutrients), and pair well with a refreshing glass of Moscato d’Asti. In fact, I’d drink Moscato d’Asti with almost any dessert (though it’s best with fruit-based desserts). This Italian wine from Asti in Piemont (North West Italy) is a winner for me—it’s lightly fizzy and lower in alcohol.
Here, I have paired the chocolate-covered strawberries with a Moscato from Provincia di Pavia (actually an Indicazione Geografica Tipica) by Castello del Poggio.
3. Milk Chocolate and Pedro Ximinez
Milk chocolate is my favourite, and although I quite happily eat milk chocolate without wine, pairing it with a small glass of Pedro Ximinez or Rutherglen Muscat creates a luxurious tasting experience. The rich, round, elegant taste of an aged Pedro Ximinez can make a good chocolate taste like it was made for the Queen. The chocolate becomes luscious and the flavour lingers like a good dream. Although I like the Australian Rutherglen Muscat by Campbells paired with milk chocolate, for a special occasion, I prefer Pedro Ximinez.
So, here I have paired milk chocolate with a 1985 bottle of Don Pedro Ximinez, which is a Spanish classic that I have been keeping for some time.
4. Chocolate Cake and Sparkling Shiraz
Now, there are times I like a dessert and wine pairing that is not overly sweet. And I like the taste of a Sparkling Shiraz with chocolate cake. So I made a chocolate cake with Sparkling Shiraz as a key ingredient. This moist cake is not overly sweet and with cream cheese frosting it pairs perfectly with Sparkling Shiraz. I am a huge fan of Sparkling Shiraz and often choose this over a brut Champagne for festivities. I suppose it’s the rich fruity-red colour that is captivating and says ‘party.’
Here, for a chocolate-themed wine and tea party, I have chosen Seppelt 2013 Sparking Shiraz from Victoria.
5. Dark Chocolate with Mint and Cabernet Sauvignon
To finish, dark chocolate needs a fuller-bodied wine to match its intensity. For me, both dark chocolate and dark chocolate with mint pair well with a Cabernet Sauvignon from Coonawarra. The mint notes in the Cabernet Sauvignons from this region make them perfect for pairing with dark, mint-flavoured chocolate. This is perfect for anyone who doesn’t like overly sweet chocolates and wines.
Here I have paired dark chocolate and dark mint-flavoured chocolate with Vitulus 2010 Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon by Reschke.
Yes, indeed. That was a lot of fun. Big thanks to my family for supporting this chocolate and wine pairing adventure (especially in the Queensland heat).
Have a safe Easter, everyone.