Ogden Nash’s mini-poem, “Reflections on Ice-breaking,” posits as follows:
Candy is dandy
But liquor is quicker.
Clever, yes, but why must it be a competition? Why not have candy and liquor — especially if the liquor is a red wine and the candy is dark chocolate?
Never were two basic food groups so perfectly paired. And is there a better moment to explore the possibilities than Valentine’s Day?
But first, for the sake of clarity, this message: MILK CHOCOLATE IS NOT DARK CHOCOLATE. The subject of today’s aria is dark chocolate made from cocoa butter, not milk chocolate made from milk-based butter. Dark chocolate has a higher percentage of cocoa and, in the upper reaches, can be a tad bitter. But better a glass of red and a bitter bar than matching a merlot with a Milky Way.
That said, the dark chocolate sea must be navigated with care. Check the cocoa level. Anything below 50 percent is too sweet, and even 50 is insufficiently committed. Sixty percent is ideal, 70 can be chalky, 80 is arid and 90 is indistinguishable from a Kingsford Charcoal Briquette.
Rooster Brother and John Edwards Market have brilliant selections of dark chocolates. They also have brilliant selections of red wines. Luscious chocolate requires a luscious red, which means a cab, merlot or syrah but not a slender, delicate pinot noir.
One worthy possibility is Wild Horse 2013 Central Coast Cabernet Sauvignon. With red and black berries and accents of vanilla and cocoa, Wild Horse will take you and your sweetie on a rewarding ride.
Unless you try pairing it with a Three Musketeers.