mouth and chocolateEaster means eggs. Chocolate eggs. And there's lots out there in the shops at the moment. Dark chocolate eggs, milk chocolate eggs, eggs filled with Smarties and even chocolate eggs filled with liqueur chocolates. But come the final egg count this Sunday there will be two important questions to answer: “Which one to unwrap first?”, and “What wine will match all that chocolate?”.

eggs in wire cupsThat's a difficult one. Wine isn't a natural match to chocolate. Its mouth-coating intenseness can overwhelm many wines. Once the tongue has tasted anything really sweet it's difficult for it to identify subtler fruity flavours, like those found in wine. And should you prefer your eggs made from dark chocolate then finding a suitable match will be all the harder – choose unwisely and both wine and chocolate will clash leaving behind an unpleasant metallic taste.

But there are wines that elevate both food and drink to the next level of taste experience.

Cockburn portVintage port and Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon harmonise wonderfully with dark chocolate to produce deep spicy notes. While milk chocolate reduces the acidity of oaked whites making the resulting blend taste smooth and yoghurty.

Truffle and liqueur fillings need matching with equally rich wines: try Sherry, Marsala and Madeira. With a higher alcohol content than normal, these Mediterranean wines taste naturally sweet and so your palate will taste both wine and chocolate equally well.

supermarket winesPG Wine Tips

Try these readily available chocolate matching wines.

£5.99 and under
Arrogant Frog Vins De Pays Ribet Red, £5.33
(when bought as 3 bottles, single bottle price £7.99) Thresher and Wine Rack

This blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot is the perfect match to high cocoa-content dark chocolate Easter eggs. Blackcurrant with a hint of cherry fruit pastille flavours will smooth out the bitterness from the 70% cocoa chocolate, while the slightly earthy and cocoa after-taste will add an extra dimension to the enjoyable union.


Costs a bit more, but tastes great
Naudin Tiercin French White Burgundy, £7.49
Wine Rack (down from £14.99 until April 28 2009)

When you drink the contents of a bottle labelled 'white Burgundy' you'll be enjoying wine made with the Chardonnay grape. Lucious creamy aromas of hawthorn blossom and hazelnuts match the candied barley-twist flavours. Not an obvious chocolate matching choice, but the wine's rich flavours will stand up to milk chocolate and nut filled fillings.

Morrison The Best Chilean Carmenère Reserve, £6.69

I recommended this wine for Mother's Day. And it's so good it needs recommending again. A superbly refined red for under £7. Aromas of seaweed and tar light up memories of walking down Hasting's shingle beach behind the tarred fishermen's huts. Its flavours are just as enjoyable: blackcurrant and bramble jelly with a hint of cocoa at the end.

Marananga Dam Australian Old Vines Grenache Shiraz Mourvèdre, £7.49
Marks and Spencer (down from £8.99 a bottle)

Not only is the name a bit of a mouthful, so is the wine. Blackcurrant jam filled chocolate sponge flavours matched with almost Sherry levels of alcohol (a whopping 14.5%, but that's pretty normal these days with Ausssie wines) means it'll go down nicely with chocolate. Any sort of chocolate. Chocolate Easter eggs, chocolate Hob Nobs, squares of chocolate...

Villa Maria New Zealand Private Bin Pinot Noir, £9.99
Tesco and Sainsbury's

Expensive, but worth it. A high alcoholic level of 13.5%, along with flavours of Black Forest gateaux means this unusual New Zealand red is the perfect match to liqueur chocs. During any breaks in chocolate munching just sit, sniff and enjoy the wine's rich fruity aromas of cherries, blackcurrants and under-ripe blackberries.

Reyneke South African Organic Sauvignon Blanc, £9.99
(when you buy 2 bottles, single bottle price £12.49) Majestic

Rich floral aromas and oaky, buttery flavours will match milk and white chocolate as well as plain cakes and biscuits. Expensive but slurpable.

This first appeared on Paula's Wines of The Week on Mature Times and the UK Food Bloggers Association.

PaulaMy new weekly wine column Paula's Wines of the Week for Mature Times website is now live. Each week I’ll be finding and recommending tasty wines. And if these have been marked down by a couple of pounds a bottle, even better. Because good wine needn't be an expensive business, but working your way through the bland and disappointing can be. That's where I come in.

wine pourDespite the recent duty increase on wine there are still some good bottles to be found that cost the same as a couple of National Lottery tickets. The £3.99 and under price range is dominated by German wines and 3-litre boxes, where you pay more upfront but the equivalent bottle price is always less than you'd pay for a separate 75cl glass bottle.

orangesPaddington bear is celebrating his fiftieth birthday. Yes it's been five decades since the Peruvian immigrant with a love for marmalade sandwiches arrived at a certain railway terminus and took up residence with the Brown family. Their housekeeper, Mrs Bird, instinctively knew that bears need plentiful supplies of that bitter-sweet breakfast jam if they're to maintain the shine on their fur. And so a message was sent to the local grocer for top up supplies. How times have changed. Now finding and purchasing a decent pot of marmalade suitable for south American bears and Wiltshire-born writers with a penchant for chunky, dark and sour marmalade is virtually impossible.