During the holidays, there are three food items that are almost always present in every party and dinner - chocolate, cheese, and wine. If you are running short on your menu, why not combine these three into one incredible dessert basket?
Aside from being different, this dessert idea is guaranteed to take away the stress of spending an entire day in the kitchen trying to whip up something special for the occasion. And since most wines and cheeses are best served at room temperature, this party basket can be made well ahead of time before your guests arrive.
While wine and cheese baskets are a common sight to every party, adding a box of gourmet chocolates in the picture will definitely excite your guests' taste buds. A chocolate, wine and cheese basket is also perfect if your dinner involves the younger crowd. Really, who can say no to chocolates?
To keep you from spending a lot of time thinking which item goes well with what, it would be better if your focus on one item first and then use the other two to emphasize that item's unique flavor. Remember, you are serving this platter as a dessert, which means that the chocolates should be your main feature. Pick the kind of chocolate that you want first, then the kind of cheese that goes well with it and then the wine that will sum up all the taste.
The secret to making an excellent chocolate, wine, and cheese basket is to keep things simple. Avoid mixing an elaborate selection of wines, chocolates, and cheeses. A basket full of overwhelming flavor will do everything except impress your guests. Here are some pairing suggestions for a great chocolate, wine and cheese basket:
Dark chocolate is practically contains at least 50% cacao, hence having strong and complex flavors - nutty, spicy, floral, earthy - and has a balanced aftertaste that is not too sweet. Given the strong flavors of dark chocolate, a tasty Brie cheese or a mild blue cheese is great to enhance the undertones of dark chocolate. Strong flavored chocolates pair well with full bodied red wine like a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon, which will highlight the fruity and spicy notes of the chocolate.
Chocolate caramels inspire a universe of options. A buttery caramel chocolate will taste perfectly with a fresh goat cheese and wines like a Demi-Sec Champagne - these wines have a honey and floral flavor, which complements the sweet taste of caramel.
Chocolate Covered Nuts
Adding nuts on the pairing means going for hard aged cheeses, like an aged cheddar or Gouda. And a bottle of Pinot Noir, with all its toasted and spicy berry notes makes a great pair for chocolate and roasted almonds.