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chocolate port paired with a chocolate dessert: yay or nay?

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 

I work with a restaurateur charmed by the idea of making every dessert for every tasting menu chocolate, and also by the idea of pairing it with a chocolate port.

 

I'm no sommelier, but I'm under the fairly stern impression that the art of pairing lies in the complimentary relationship between the chosen food and drink. If the port is chocolate, the dessert ought to be something that compliments the chocolate flavor instead of matching it for a chocolate bomb to the palate. If the dessert is chocolate, the booze ought to be something that supports the chocolate but is not chocolate in its own essence; a port would be acceptable, but not likely a chocolate port?

 

Am I correct in my assessment of appropriate food-and-drink pairing? What is your experience in pairing? Or is this the sort of gimmicky stuff that diners actually enjoy, and I'm just missing the marketing angle?

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post #2 of 24

This is just me thinking through the idea, so take with a grain of salt.

 

Pairing a wine to a food is really no different than pairing two foods. I could see a tasting plate consisting of, say, a really dark chocolate, a milk chocolate, and the chocolate port. Something that would let you experience the different aspects of the item (in this case, chocolate). Something along the lines of a cheese board that has 3 different cheddars.

 

The issue could come in if the two are close enough to clash.

 

I think it could work, you would just have to be careful. The ultimate answer would be - are the customers buying it, and do they like it. Try it and see.

post #3 of 24

A breakthrough!  Maybe someone can add beef extract to a bordeaux, and you could pair that with the filet mignon.

 

Anyway, I'm with you on the flavors: chocolate is a super-strong flavor and my experience is if you combine two chocolates, the stronger one dominates and the other won't get tasted.  Much better to pair a high-quality chocolate with a good port.

 

I rarely order desserts, but I can be tempted if it looks like they're trying something interesting.  OTOH if there's a lot of chocolate spludge and the word "decadent" appears anywhere on the dessert menu, I'm asking for the check. 

 

And "chocolate port" sounds like an abomination, even on its own.  

post #4 of 24
Thread Starter 

Thank you both for taking the time to respond.

 

I think the super-chocolate combination's success is.. unlikely. As far as the customer enjoying the dessert or its plausible salability, we'll never really know as it is a tasting menu. The diner has no real choice, and is also rather unlikely to complain if displeased; much likelier to simply not return.

 

 

It just seems to me a little more about schmaltz than it is about quality and balance of flavor. And I just can't get behind that prioritization. It's our job as culinary professionals to present food the way it would be best enjoyed; and while I realize that taste is subjective, you still have to commit and stick with what you believe to be the best approach for the diner's pleasure.

post #5 of 24

nay

post #6 of 24

My initial reaction is no.   I say this because chocolate port is, well, port, with chocolate.  It's like eating beef wine with beef.

post #7 of 24

I agree with  Kuan   It's overkill

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post #8 of 24

I like chocolate but it seems like a bit too much for me.

post #9 of 24

I just finished a Wine and Food Pairing class. The rule is the wine needs to be as sweet or sweeter than the dish. Other than that the wines body, acidity, and profile need to compliment the dish. Also it's a matter of brand and personal taste. In class we tried a chocolate port, tawny port and a reserve port all with a chocolate cake and the reserve port worked best in that case. Here are a few wine and food pairing websites and apps that the instructor gave us:

 

web:

www.foodandwinepairing.org

www.tastings.com

 

apps:

Pair It! Created by Chef Bruce Riezenman

Simply Wine and Food

Wine to Match

HelloVino

Wine Guru

Wine and Food Cocktail App

 

The Culinary Institute of America has webinars for food and wine pairing as well

 

 

Hope this helps

post #10 of 24

Rich Chocolate pairs well with a robust Claret (Bordeaux or Meritage) or a smooth Burgundy like a Pommard. The tannis help the wine to standup to the chocolate. Enen a Sangiovese would be ok.

post #11 of 24

Good grief I never had chocolate port. Is it gooood. It could be. I used to live in Portugal and had all sorts of beautiful ports white ports, ruby ports, tawny ports vintage  ports . I agree with all of you though. Excepting if each chocolate item is of the most superb quality. It could be interesting, otherwise forget about it. Just serve regular port with whatever you're doing.

post #12 of 24

I'm not a fan of the chocolate port, however, my best friend and I purchased Red Decadence, 2011, a chocolate wine. A delicious wine on its own, but definitely would compliment a chocolate dessert with fruit such as raspberry, a simple vanilla type dessert with chocolate syrup would also be a possibility.  Port is usually fortified and has a heaviness to it that the matching would need to be tried before a service, try it out first, but not on a customer first. To me personally, port is the dessert, the capping of a meal not a part of a dessert course. Either or.

post #13 of 24

I love chocolate but I would think it might be overkill too, however I wouldn't say no to trying it. :)

post #14 of 24

I'm a huge Chocolate fan, but I think it might be a little too much for me :)

post #15 of 24

Nay. Take a cue from chocolatiers themselves. They do liquors in their chocolate confections. Kirsh, with a preserved cherry, etc. You want to pair a great chocolate with a great liquor or wine so that together they are better than each separately.

Pairing a chocolate with a chocolate liquor is like having two men (or women) pair up for a tango. Might work as an amusement if they do it well, sort of in parallel, maybe.

To me the natural chocolate enhancer is a good brandy aka cognac. Pair according to quality - if the chocolate develops slowly with interesting notes, then go for a better brandy. My preference is Delamain, though they may not be as great a bargain nowadays.

post #16 of 24

Nay.  There really isn't a way for the two to compliment one another. 

 

Try and convince him to do a dessert/coffee pairing instead.  Getting wine of any kind to play nice with desserts, especially those that contain chocolate, is always like trying to get a tiger to ride on a horse.  Both are possible but, there will be blood.  ;-)

 

But, if the pairing of dessert wine and chocolate is a must, follow this simple rule:  "the dessert wine must be as sweet or sweeter than the dessert or chocolate."  After that, its all a matter of preference and speculation. 

 

-V


Edited by Virgil - 2/17/16 at 3:59am
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post #17 of 24

Devil's advocate here with a dessert from a food and wine pairing dessert menu from a few years back...side note...got good reviews...

 

S’Mores paired with a Ficklin Chocolate Port, an upscale take on the campfire classic, first a slice of graham cracker pound cake is grilled, then comes the chocolate ganache which has been lightly smoked with Earl Grey tea, and finally the whole shebang is finished with a topper of toasted marshmallow meringue

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post #18 of 24

My opinion as a coffee and chocolate fanatic is, no. Chocolate has a very strong personality, as many people pointed out, the flavours will compete, clash, someone will win, someone will lose. You don't want something losing on your customers' table.

post #19 of 24

Nay, would be too much

post #20 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by MattM View Post
 

My opinion as a coffee and chocolate fanatic is, no. Chocolate has a very strong personality, as many people pointed out, the flavours will compete, clash, someone will win, someone will lose. You don't want something losing on your customers' table.

 

Didn't realize that I was presenting something losing to the guests, my bad, but judging by the feedback received, they didn't  realize it either.

Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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post #21 of 24

That

Quote:
Originally Posted by cheflayne View Post
 

 

Didn't realize that I was presenting something losing to the guests, my bad, but judging by the feedback received, they didn't  realize it either.


That would depends too on the kind of customers your are cooking for, I'm no indulgent to say when it comes to chocolate I am that kind of annoying customer you want to, deep inside, stab in the chest whilst I am nagging =/ lol and you surely will not be unlucky to get lots of chocolate snobs in your place that often if chocolate is not something upon you are building your business. 

post #22 of 24

So should dessert just be a piece of chocolate on a plate, so that flavors don't compete?

Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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post #23 of 24

^ I never meant that, I was addressing a particular chocolate flavor paired with a port that offers a different chocolate flavor, not that interesting when it comes to chocolate, you would rather enhance it than mixing it, because a good chocolate is always a very bold presence in your plate. That doesn't mean though if you do that mix, especially with a port, it will taste awful - not at all - but it will not be that remarkable. People can notice you are mixing two - or more - different breeds of the same bold thing that is chocolate. If you ask them "what flavor did you like the most?" they will always have a choice in mind, otherwise they just have a plain deficient palate to taste chocolate. I tell you that because everybody has a favorite chocolate flavor to the detriment of others. For instance, something extreme and draconian, some people simply hate sweet chocolate and they even consider anything containing less than 70% of cocoa not chocolate. But once again, it always depends on the profile of your customers, if they are happy with a chocolate parade, there you go and that's it :) 

post #24 of 24

I wanted to share this because it help me understand about pairing wines and different foods when I first began learning about cooking.

 

 

(It looks like they shrunk it down for the forum. Please let me know if you need the original size to read it.)

 

Anyway this info-graphic shows what wine pair with foods. Down at the bottom it say foods that are difficult to pair with wine and chocolate is listed as difficult. So I guess do some research, or experiment with different wines along side the desserts to test and see which one you like best.

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