Wine and Chocolate have existed for centuries, with wine becoming segmented and classified over 100 years ago. Oenophiles and wine connoisseurs have a vast knowledge about the making and tasting of wine. By contrast, only in the last couple of decades have we begun to learn about “Dark Chocolate” and the percentage of cocoa we prefer. Chocolate has a long way to go for sophisticated chocolate lovers to be provided the knowledge of cocoa so we can appreciate fine pure chocolate in a similar way to wine.
So what are more similarities?
Genetics: There are 3 varieties of genetic heritage for Cacao (cocoa). Criollo, Trinitario and Forasterio. Grapes have many more varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and many others.
Terroir: The “sense of place” where the grapes or cacao is grown. Soil, rainfall, geographic location and other factors all effect the quality and flavor of each vintage.
Flavor Profiles: Everyone has heard a wine enthusiast describing their wine in terms such as astringent, buttery, earthy, hearty and more. Perhaps you know these terms. Interestingly, chocolate also has many similar terms that apply when you enjoy a pure chocolate. (Both have Flavor wheels that we will discuss another time)
Processes to make the product effect the flavor: Again everyone is familiar with the stories of how great wines take care with the pressing, fermentation and aging of grapes.
Cacao also goes through fermentation, roasting (coffee similarity), conching and tempering. Each step influences the outcome. Until recently, virtually all chocolate has been made using industrial methods, but now certain high end makers are using artisanal methods, much like premier wine makers.
If you do a chocolate tasting, like wine, these similar characteristics to wine will reveal the differences between each chocolate. We especially recommend tasting chocolates of the same percentage of cocoa to notice the different flavor profiles.
At Parré Chocolat we believe chocolate lovers will continue to become more sophisticated about pure chocolate. We hope to bring happiness to you, just as an exceptional vineyard appeals to their guests.