We’ve all heard of wine and cheese tastings, but how about a wine and chocolate tasting? When was the last time you and your close girl friends just hung out?
Girl’s nights can be a much needed time together. It’s a time to let loose, catch up and de-stress from everyday life with your closest friends. Tasting wine and chocolate sounds like a great activity to bring people together!
Starting with chocolate…
As a chocolate lover, I have always been excited to try new flavors of chocolate and as a total foodie, I’m all about judging and choosing my favorites!
Some might tell you that “all chocolate tastes the same.” Lies, I tell you! There is no way that you can compare a cheap candy bar by the check-out counter to the silky, creaminess of imported chocolate.
Don’t believe me? I challenge you to host your own chocolate tasting. This party idea is perfect for gathering your best friends! Your mission is to discover all the truffle-y deliciousness that chocolate has to offer and guess what wine and chocolate go perfectly together! How cool is that?!
If you know which percentage of chocolate you prefer, you might choose to sample a single percentage Cacao. (For example, selecting only 70% Cacao chocolates in a variety of different flavors, some are fruity or richer.)
After this tasting party you will be so excited to have another wine & chocolate party that you will want to focus on trying different and unique flavors of chocolate!
*Note: Fun fact! You will see I added small thongs to the essential tools list. What I learned when working in a gourmet wine and cheese store, that when tasting chocolate you don’t want to pick it up with your bare hands since it can either melt in your hands or transfer the oils from your hand to the chocolate affecting the taste. It could get really technical but don’t worry just eat the chocolate lol!
Moving onto wine…
Depending on how much you and your friends love wine plan for about a ½ bottle of wine per guest.For me and my friends it’s closer to one bottle a person! You know your girls buy wine accordingly lol!
So when it comes to wine tasting there’s some vocabulary words that come along with it. Maybe you have heard of the terms like body, color, vintage or more simple ones like dry, sweet, taste or smell. But do you know what they mean when it comes to wine?
Well don’t worry I have your back and I will try my best to explain it as simply as possible!
- Body: In wine talking about body is not a discussion of shapeliness, but instead an analysis of the way a wine feels inside our mouth. Wine body breaks down into three categories: light body, medium body and full body, and a good way to think about the difference between them is the way skim milk, whole milk and cream feel in your mouth.
- Color: Darker wines mean bolder flavors and high tannins. The color and opacity will range depending on the vintage and type of wine.
- Smell: Half of wine tasting is smelling it. When you smell a wine, you’re preparing your brain for the wine you’re about to taste. That’s why you might see many people sticking their noses in their wine glasses taking a deep breath, sure you might feel silly doing it, but you’re going to notice a lot more smells this way. You’ll notice right away how much more you actually taste when you have your sense of smell.
- Taste: Hold the wine in your mouth and slowly inhale air (this should make a slurping sound). This is known as “biting the wine” and helps to aerate the wine and open up your olfactory sense to awaken the flavors in your mouth.
- Vintage: The vintage is the year a wine is bottled. Also, the yield of wine from a vineyard during a single season.
- Sweet: If you use the word “sweet,” it’s pretty much assumed you’re looking for a dessert wine. Sweet wines with perceptible sugar contents on the nose and in the mouth.
- Dry: aka Not Sweet. A dry wine is simply a wine that has no residual sugar, meaning it isn’t sweet. Basically, it’s like saying you want the opposite of sweet. If you despise dessert wines, this word is your fail-safe at the bar.
- Tannin: What the heck is that? Tannin isn’t the stuff that red wine headaches are made out of, it’s actually a fascinating attribute that contributes to the taste and body of red wine. This word describes compounds found in grapes (the skin, seeds and stems) that make your lips pucker. High tannin wines can actually make it feel like your saliva has evaporated with each sip.
Here’s a quick graphic to further explain the key wine terms that will get you ready for your pairing party. Courtesy of gifts.com
Here are the essentials for throwing a wine and chocolate pairing party!
- Red or White Wine (4-6 different types)
- Chocolate (6 different types, dark, milk & white chocolate)
- Wine Glasses – (at least 2 per person, one for red, one for white) you can either purchase more wine glasses or rent them for $1-$3 from party rentals
- Wine Opener – I am obsessed with this electric wine opener but anything that opens the bottle is a good one
- Spit Buckets or a Dump Buckets – include a spittoon so guests who’d prefer to spit out rather than drink the wine have the option. I personally like to drink my wine lol
- Water – include a water glass or a water pitcher nearby to cleanse the palate and keep hydrated
- Plates/Bowls/Napkins/Small Thongs – standard party stuff buti included small thongs to the list for picking up the chocolate. This way it wont melt in my hands when i pick it up.
- Pens/Pencils – for writing note and rating the wine and chocolate
Those who love infographics as much as I do will get a kick out of this. Here is a very simple wine & chocolate pairing list that will definitely give you a good idea of what wine & chocolate goes together. This makes it so easy! Courtesy of ProFlowers
Grab the girls, it’s party time!
1. Set Up Essentials & Printables
Decorate your home with things you already have or get things from the dollar store so the money can be spent on the good stuff, the wine and chocolate!
2. Pick Your Wine
Serve your favorite wines or have your friends bring their favorites so you can all taste each other favorites and discover new ones. Maybe you don’t have a favorite wine yet choose red wines like Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Syrah, Merlot. Or choose white wines like Chardonnay, Riesling, Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon. This wine tasting guide templates are so perfect for your party.
3. Pick Your Chocolate
Choose at least six different kinds of gourmet or imported chocolate bars. If this is your first chocolate tasting, I recommend picking chocolates from six different brands with a variety of Cacao percentages ranging from high (86%) to low (35%). If you don’t even know where to start, you might try: Ghirardelli, Godiva, Perugina, Scharffen Berger, Lindt Excellence, and Valor. Make sure you get this handy chocolate tasting mats.
4. Serve a Charcuterie Board Or Palette Cleansers
I always like to set out a few munchies whenever I’m serving spirits. These don’t have to be anything fancy. A good cheese board is always a good idea. Some crunchy and salty snacks (think apples slices, pretzel crisps, crackers, nuts, or rye chips) sometimes make for a nice contrast before or after the smooth, creamy chocolate-tasting portion of your party they help refresh your palette so you can continue tasting more deliciousness. Here is a great guide for helping you create your own charcuterie board.
5. Taste & Rate
This one is easy; look, smell, taste and repeat. When you are setting up the tastings you can set it up any way you would like. For example, set up the chocolate from light to dark and same with the wines, white to red. Or ditch any plans and mix and match it all. Let your friends pick and choose the combinations that they want to. It’s an fun and interactive tasting that is just so relaxed you can’t go wrong!
6. Pick & Share Your Favorites
It’s wild how everyone tastes are so different. It will be so cool to share and hear all your friends opinions about the wines and chocolates. See how alike and different your tastes are! Your goal for the night is to find a wine that compliments the chocolate to your tastes!
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For the love of chocolate! Gather your friends and family for a decadent wine and chocolate pairing tasting party.
It might be a little bit of a set up but it is well worth the effort. Luckily, you and your friends are up for the challenge! Try these tips to ensure your relaxing “Chocolate & Wine Tasting Party” is a success!
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