The ‘dark arts’ of pairing wine with candy
November 16, 2018

The ‘dark arts’ of pairing wine with candy

In the aftermath of Halloween, if you’re anything like us, you may somehow find yourself with candy on your hands…even as late as a week after the holiday. Either you bought too much and didn’t give it all away, or (don’t worry: this is perfectly normal) maybe, just maybe, you snuck some from your roommate’s—or children’s—haul. After all, a shocking 90% of parents admit to stealing their kids’ Halloween candy.

If you find yourself wanting to eat leftover Halloween (or let’s just say holiday) treats at the same time that you also want to drink some wine, don’t be spooked! Even Bordeaux Wines endorses the potentially fear-inducing practice of pairing wine with candy.

The basic key—no big surprise here—is to match each candy with the main aromas that you detect in a wine. For example, a white wine with notes of tropical or stone fruits will pair well with a banana-flavored treat. A Clairet (a delicious but lesser-known light red wine from the Bordeaux region) or rosé, with red berries on the nose will go hand in hand with strawberry or raspberry candies. Licorice might seem trickier to pair, but it turns out it tastes even better with a well-structured Bordeaux red in the other hand.

When it comes to chocolate, however, things are not so clear-cut. Dark chocolate is well known to pair well with red wine but, when other ingredients such as almonds are integrated into a chocolate, a white wine can actually be a better drinking partner.

Here are some of our tips to get you started: pair sweet white wines with fruit candies or light milk chocolate (without any added ingredients). A rich white will work well with these same types of candies and can even match a crispy peanut and wafer treat. Sparkling wines play nicely with soft coconut and darker chocolate or effervescent fruity candies. Light reds go well with soft fruit chews and soft chocolate and peanut butter cups. Crack open a bottle of Merlot for milk chocolate and peanut butter, or try a bold red like a Malbec or Cabernet Sauvignon for richer chocolate and caramel candies.

Finally, break out the true dessert wines for dark chocolate or toffee candies.

In general, however, when it comes to pairing wines and candy, the “rules” of what to drink with what are not set in nougat, so our advice is to serve many varieties of flavors and textures, enabling your guests (or—let’s be honest—it might just be you alone in the kitchen) to try things out, mix and match to find the best possible pairings, and—most of all—have fun!


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