If you're ending your meal with a cheese selection (or if chocolate is more to your liking), the perfect pairing with wine or beer can elevate the enjoyment of both the food and drink. Chocolate and cheese each pair exceptionally well with both wine and beer. Whether it’s cocoa or curds, pinot or pilsner, we have you covered with this handy guide that helps you perfect the art of wine, beer, and food pairing.
Wine, Beer, and Chocolate Pairings
Milk chocolate is far less bitter or complex than its darker counterparts. A simple cream sherry from Spain possesses the perfect sweetness and roundness to accompany the chocolate’s softer, creamier flavors. The same principle applies to a smooth imperial stout, whose lovely chocolate tones are an ideal complement.
Dark chocolate, especially when not terribly sweet, doesn't need a dessert wine. But a big, fruit-forward zinfandel picks up on the natural cocoa flavors. Another great option: the barleywine (or barley wine) style of beer from England, which shares many of the same bittersweet flavors.
Chocolate with Nuts
When it comes to chocolate and nuts—whether almonds or peanuts—a tawny port has a deliciously nutty quality. A classic English brown ale offers nutty, malty accents as well.
Chocolate with Berries
Prosecco, a sparkling wine from Italy, offers a sweet-enough counterpoint and contrast to chocolate with berries. A raspberry-infused beer ideally complements any berry-based chocolate dessert.
Wine, Beer, and Cheese Pairings
Pair a hard cheese, such as Parmesan, with a light red wine, like lambrusco (made in the same Italian region as Parmesan cheese) or Beaujolais. The wines allow the saltiness of the cheese to shine through. For a hard Gouda or cheddar (try Publix Deli Imported Aged Cheddar), the ideal beer is a hoppy India pale ale, which shares some of the same sharpness and bite.
The big flavors of blue cheese require bold wines or beer. The mouth-coating unctuousness of an English porter is a classic pairing, particularly with Stilton cheese. And riesling, a moderately sweet white wine, offers a honeyed richness for a sweet and salty harmony.
The classic pairing of chèvre has always been a sauvignon blanc such as Sancerre. But New Zealander
or California expressions do just as nicely, with grassy notes and citrusy acidity to match the cheese's tart tang. For beer, the fresh citrus flavors of a Belgian or wheat beer give a similar effect.
Champagne's bright acidity and bubbles cut through Brie or Camembert. Try cava or prosecco for value-driven options. Drinking a light-bodied "saison," or farmhouse ale, with its refreshingly fruity and malt-forward flavors, also balances those cheeses' creamy textures.
An intensely aromatic Gewürztraminer from Alsace, with bold, tropical flavors and scents of lychee, counters the pungency of Muenster or Époisses. Beers such as lambics, which are fermented with a wild yeast called Brettanomyces, share earthy and funky flavors that complement those of the cheeses.
If the mozzarella comes on a pizza, a crisp pilsner cuts through its melted goodness as well as matches the acidity and spice of the tomato sauce. So would a bright, herbaceous chianti. If you eat mozzarella on its own or in salads, a pristine pinot grigio or light rosé doesn’t overwhelm the cheese’s subtle flavor. Nor does a delicate and floral Hefeweizen.
Check out the Publix Deli Specialty Cheeses for every flavor pairing, including Publix Imported Aged Cheddar.