After years of teaching chocolate & wine pairing classes, I’ve come to the conclusion that the entire process is still somewhat of a mystery. The key is TIME. A person simply must slow down. No more half-chewed wads of food swashed down with coffee (Of course you’ve never done that, I’m sure).
Step 1: pick up the chocolate and hold it for a few seconds so it starts to melt. Step 2: take a good, long smell. 90% of what you taste comes from your sense of smell. There’s simply no skipping this step. Step 3: put the chocolate on your tongue and note the early flavors. Step 4: as you begin to chew, swirl the chocolate & breathe in (taking care not to choke, of course). You’ll get different flavors on the inhale and the exhale. Step 5: when the chocolate is melted, add the wine and note how the wine changes the chocolate.
Of course you can add the wine first…that’s what the “wine guy” says to do. But I’m all about the chocolate, so my advice is to put that in first! It’s far easier to melt the chocolate while you’re not trying to swirl it through a mouthful of wine, not to mention you might want to have a bib in case your coordination is somewhat lacking. It can take a bit of talent to add the chocolate without allowing the wine to dribble out. The problem is easily solved by putting the chocolate in first.
All that said, the only way to truly understand the concept is to get a bottle of wine and a box of chocolates and start practicing. I never said it was going to be easy.