Wine and Chocolate: The Lost Art of Wine Tasting

By , Contributor

So you think you know wine?

This is a question that has come to mind more frequently, as people tell me the types of wines they pair with foods. There is a movement which is trying to eliminate the "old school" rules of pairing white wines with seafood and reds with meat.

I spent some time recently in the scenic hills of Chianti and spoke to Alessandro Gallo, the head winemaker at Castello D'Albolla (well known for its Chianti and fragrant Vin Santo). He told me that "the world is unfortunately transforming what used to be the art of wine making into a quickie Coca Cola style beverage that is more or less a fast food."

Historically food and wine were paired together to enhance or soften or sharpen each other's taste. And when one is paired with another there is a culinary reason for that.

I had to cringe when I was sent an article about someone who is pairing wine with hamburgers, hot dogs, French fries. I just can't imagine a fine Amarone or Brunello di Montalcino crossing my palate with a hot dog! Wine coolers, on the other hand, are most likely only good for one thing and that may be losing your virginity, as in Bristol Palin's case.

If you don't have the space nor enough bottles of wine, WineAlign now lets you keep a virtual cellar, shop for wine, ask questions about wines, and watch some wine videos.

braccheto d'acqui.jpgAnd if you want to really experience the fine art of wine pairing, here are some tips:

A glass of wine should always be accompanied by a food that coordinates with its particular tastes. Pair that wine with an appetizer or meal. And really concentrate on the taste that is on your palate so that you really understand what you are experiencing.

If your budget allows, even if just once or twice, try a wine with history, a wine with a DOC, like a Brunello Di Montalcino, Amarone, Montepulciano, Chianti, wines that are works of art, not just a social beverage. ( A DOC means that the wine is made according to the regulations for that particular wine.)

Educate yourself on the fine art of wines; with so many apps and sites anyone with a computer can easily get a basic wine education.

For a yummy pairing try a bubbly bottle of Braccheto D'Acqui with a chocolate dessert like Ciccolata e Amore.

Cioccolata e Amore (Chocolate & Love)

(from the The Basic Art of Italian Cooking: Holidays & Special Occasions, 2nd edition, winner of Gourmand World Cookbook Award)

2 eggs

8 ounces dark chocolate

1 tablespoon (15 gr) liquid coffee

1 tablespoon (15 gr) butter

1 tablespoon (15 gr) sugar

6 ladyfingers or savoiardi

2 ounces shaved dark chocolate

Separate eggs into two bowls, one for egg whites, one for yolks. Beat egg yolks with fork till frothy. Beat egg whites with wire whisk till soft peaks form.

Melt chocolate in double boiler, stirring constantly with wooden spoon. Add in liquid coffee, butter, stir. Then with wooden spoon stir in frothy egg yolks. Fold in beaten egg whites and sugar. Stir till blended well and remove from heat, set aside.

Cut ladyfingers in half lengthwise. Cover two small molds with parchment or baking paper. Arrange sliced lady fingers on sides of molds. Pour in chocolate mousse mixture. Place in freezer for 30 minutes.

Remove cakes from molds by pulling on parchment paper. Place each on serving dishes, garnish with shaved dark chocolate.

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Celebrity chef and award-winning author Maria Liberati is considered one of the foremost experts on Italian cuisine and culture in the United States. Winner of the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards for her best-selling recipe novel series The Basic Art of Italian Cooking and her blog. Maria divides her…

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