Dark, tannic, and single varietal. The language of wine applies as artisan chocolatiers expand into premium drinking chocolates, leaving Hershey’s in the dust. Since there are few Hot Chocolate Sommeliers (though there was once one at the Ritz Carlton in Philadelphia), here are some guidelines for experiencing this new world of cacao, for all variety of palates.
You like balanced older Bordeaux with dusty fruit.
Search for medium-dark to dark sweetened drinking chocolates from premium producers.
Our Pick: Moonstruck Double Dark.Roasted cacao nose. Soft lush mouth. Creamy balanced sweetness. Mocha, chocolate finish.
You like fruit forward wines.
Look for 60% cacao and makers using French and Belgian chocolate, or emulating their style.
Our Pick: Recchiuti Dark Hot Chocolate. Mocha and cherry on the nose. Smooth and rich with dark cherry mid-palate. Finishes with dusty cacao.
You like spicy Syrah.
Look for Single-Origin chocolates, South American particularly.
Our Pick: Allegro Coffee Drinking Chocolate Ghana 80. Heavy roast on the nose. Tannic, off-sweet, with a sprinkle of spice in the mouth. Lingering finish of cacao dusted in espresso powder.
You like pronounced tannins.
You’ll enjoy ultra-dark chocolate served unsweetened or with sugar added to your taste.
Our Pick: MarieBelle Maya Unsweetened . Lightly bitter with roasted cacao notes, pronounced tannin, and no sweetness in sight.
You like dessert wines.
Sweetened, milk to medium chocolates, often with additions (caramel, mint or marshmallow), will appeal to your sweet tooth.
Our Pick: Chocoholics Divine Desserts Old Fashioned Marshmallow. Insanely thick (like molten marshmallow) with a glorious dark sheen. Thick, viscous, rich chocolate and marshmallow flavor. Use a spoon.