I find the rich, sensual taste of chocolate hard to match with wine. It tends to pair beautifully with the honeyed richness of Rutherglen tokays, muscats and ports and I've been to several Melbourne Food and Wine Festival events where we sampled a range of chocolates matched with these Rutherglen wines, with some interesting combinations.
But I've tended to steer clear of matching chocolate with other wines. Now, however, I've discovered that the peppery flavours of shiraz can match wonderfully well with smooth dark chocolate - and it can happen without the need for separate glasses and plates.
Farm By Nature is a Melbourne-based chocolate company that makes the Cocoa Farm brand. I've discovered their range of Wine Chocolate: milk and dark chocolate combined with raisins that have been infused with shiraz, pinot noir or merlot. The latest release is shiraz wine chocolate barrel gift boxes. Cutely shaped like a wine barrel, the individually-wrapped chocolates are studded with plump raisins and have a distinctive peppery shiraz aroma. The first mouthful yields strong peppery notes on the palate, followed by a smooth wine aftertaste mixed with satisfyingly rich, but not cloying, dark chocolate. The aftertaste is long and you could almost believe that you had just had a sip of shiraz. I found it impossible to stop at just one chocolate and had to hide the box to ensure Adam didn't polish them all off. I hope Santa brings me some more of these in my Christmas stocking!
For stockists, see www.farmbynature.com.au