Chocolate and red wine pairing—with perfume

Following the success of our chocolate and white wine pairing (with perfume), it wasn’t long before my other half and I indulged in the red version last Saturday. We went with a 2017 Zinfandel from Northern California to complement 3 flavors of pralines by Neuhaus. It was the middle ground, fruity and berried but not spicy; a crowd-pleasing red.

Sommelier Earl Grey has a “soft, herby ganache filling of Earl Grey tea enriched with mango puree and a touch of acacia honey.” We had fun arguing about the pronunciation of “herby”—to H or not to H? I used to be staunchly pro–silent-H, but I’ve since switched sides, leaving my other half to fend for American sensibilities. I could taste the wonderful Earl Grey tea and the thick, floral honey, but not so much the mango. There was a bit of a tang, but it could have been from the dark chocolate or even the wine.

I honestly forgot about perfume until I’d eaten the praline. With its lingering flavor, I had to decide… what could fit this profile of warm and fruity? The closest one was Tauer Perfumes 08 Une Rose Chyprée by perfumer Andy Tauer, with a spicy cinnamon rose and mossy-ambery base. Generously juicy and maintaining a fine balance between heavy and light.

Sommelier Safran is made to be paired with berried wines: “Full, bold ganache filling with origin chocolate from Colombia (70% cocoa), enriched with blackberries, saffron, herby rosemary honey and a finish of white chocolate.” A spicy, bright Zinfandel was recommended for a “classic pairing” with this; alas, our Zin wasn’t spicy at all. I’m starting to get used to these “herby” chocolates that are deceptively savory. The white chocolate caused a bit of cognitive dissonance because it was, after all, encased in a dark chocolate shell and atop a dark chocolate ganache, which is mostly what I tasted.

Again, it was hard to match a perfume, but vintage Christian Dior Poison by perfumer Edouard Fléchier was a top contender for its sweet grape opening and the visual association with a bold white floral, tuberose. In retrospect, it may have had more in common with the wine than the praline, which works just as well!

Sommelier Cerises is recommended with full-bodied, smoky wines. “Distinctive ganache filling with origin chocolate from Costa Rica (64% cocoa) and cherries, with a finish of white chocolate and cassis-cocoa butter.” This tasted overall much more fruity and round, and burst into a bouquet of flavors when introduced to a sip of wine. Like it was meant to be.

For this, it wasn’t as difficult to choose a perfume. 4160Tuesdays Red Queen by perfumer Sarah McCartney has the perfect symphony of red notes in raspberry and rose coupled with deeper, resinous tones of opoponax and labdanum. The stars of wine, chocolate, and perfume aligned.

(The box has 2 layers of pralines, so next time we’ll enjoy the tasting without the multitasking of taking photos, etc.)

2 thoughts on “Chocolate and red wine pairing—with perfume

  1. If the brand still offers these interesting chocolates when the next holiday season comes, I might go for one of the boxes – love the idea. And I bookmarked the winery to check them out and decide by the next trip to the wine country whether I wasn’t to schedule a tasting with them.
    As to perfumes, I tried the first two at some point but none of them was appealing enough to go beyond that.

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    1. I believe these are part of their regular offerings. I would love to have more frequent access to a wine region… but the local wine stores will have to do for me. 😉

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