With Valentine’s Day coming up, you might want to break out the chocolate – one of the world’s most famous aphrodisiacs. Why not team it with a luxury brandy to give your partner an amazing night? The Ideal Wine Company reveals which chocolates you should pair with different styles of Cognac.
Styles of Cognac
Before we get into that, first we need to explain what we mean by ‘styles of Cognac.’ The French brandy is an appellation d’origine controlee, so there are specific rules that govern its production. For example, it must be left to age in the barrel for one – two years in order to be called ‘Cognac.’
However, the drink is often left to mature in the barrel for far longer and age has become a sort of badge of honour in the Cognac industry. The sector utilises a classification system to tell consumers how old their Cognac is. The main classifications are as follows:
- VS: Short for “very special” this refers to Cognacs that have been aged for the minimum requirement; one – two years.
- VSOP: Meaning either “very superior old pale” or “very special old pale,” VSOP is used for Cognacs that have been allowed to mature for at least four years.
- XO: Shorthand for “extra old,” XO is used to label Cognacs which have been left to mature for at least six years. It’s often seen as the most prestigious of all Cognacs.
The Cognac Board, a trade association of Cognac industry professionals, has just released a guide on how to pair different styles of Cognac with chocolate. They suggest that the younger the Cognac, the creamier and softer your chocolate should be. Specifically, the guide suggests these pairings:
- Frozen VS: The guide advises you to team “frozen VS Cognacs” – which are the same as standards VS’ but served at sub-zero temperatures, with white chocolate. It’s subtle cream and buttery notes blend beautifully with this style of Cognac’s famously oil-based texture.
- VS: You might want to think about serving very special Cognacs with white or milk chocolate that contains caramel, fondant or hazelnut pralines. These products boast a gorgeous texture, which tends to lessen the bite of a VS Cognac.
- VSOP: Here you might want to embrace all things dark chocolate. Even better, you could go for dark chocolate which contains nutty, floral or fruity tones. The guide explains that the pure bitterness of these products pairs amazingly well with older Cognacs, allowing their complexities to shine.
- XO: The fullest and richest of all Cognac classifications, XO goes best with really intense dark chocolate. The roundness and simplicity of extreme dark chocolate pairs beautifully with the oak, black pepper, clove and dried fruit notes that are often found in XO products. These Cognacs also work well with vanilla and caramel macaroons.
Pairing our Cognac
So if you planning to buy the Delamain Pale & Dry XO Grande Champagne Cognac from the Ideal Wine Company for this Valentine’s Day, you know what to serve it with. Opt for really intense dark chocolate or caramel macaroons to give your partner a night they’ll never forget!