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Chocolate: Tips and Extras

Happy Easter! To celebrate, I'm rounding off my chocolate recipe series with some tips and extras, including the all-important question of what to drink with it, although there is more on this in my blog Wines to Pair with Chocolate, posted on 23 March.

Chocolate’s savoury side There is a tradition of using dark chocolate in savoury stews and casseroles in Mexico, Spain (especially Catalonia) and Italy. But caution is the word. Just a small amount – rarely more than 10–25g in a sauce to serve 6 – is enough to give a slightly smoky depth which contrasts with any onions, prunes or sultanas in the dish. It works especially well with venison and hare, but wild boar, turkey, fish and octopus are all given the chocolate treatment in other parts of the world.

What to drink Chocolate is one of the great wine saboteurs. Its sweetness and dense, mouth-coating texture overpower wine – even most sweet wines - but a few, especially high-alcohol fortified wines, have what it takes.

Six wines that can usually cope with the richest, darkest of chocolate puds: Australian liqueur muscats (strong, brown, raisiny) Maury, Banyuls and red Rivesaltes (sweet reds from the South of France) Late bottled vintage port Pedro Ximenez (PX) sherry (dark brown, exceptionally sweet)

Tokaji Aszú 6 Puttonyos Mavrodaphne of Patras (sweet, strong Greek red)

Six wines that often work with slightly less dark, dense chocolate: Ten year old tawny port Tokaji Aszú 5 Puttonyos Asti Spumante California Orange Muscat

California Black Muscat Australian sparkling Shiraz

The beer option: Belgium kriekbier (cherry flavoured beer)

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