Lindt Chocolate & Wine Pairings Made in Heaven

Check out this amazing Lindt chocolate tasting party hosted by interior designer (and Cottages & Gardens favorite) Philip Gorrivan. Plus find out how you can host your own exclusive tasting party.

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Tasting chocolate is a lot like tasting wine.
With fine wine you simply don’t grab the glass and gulp it down; with premium chocolate you never chew—banish the thought—and swallow.

A proper chocolate tasting engages all five senses. The first is sight: Note that the chocolate is bright and shiny with no visible bumps or imperfections. The second is touch: Feel its smoothness and inspect it for flaws (there should be none). Next, listen: When you break the chocolate, it should have an audible snap. Then smell: Breathe deeply to detect an array of notes from berries and spice to earth and espresso. Finally, taste it: Let the chocolate melt in your mouth. Move it around your palate, give it a few moments and notice how it changes and releases flavors and complexity as it slowly dissolves.

Ann Czaja, a master chocolatier for Lindt—who trained in Switzerland and is also the company’s national spokesperson—described this sensual process to me. She also told me about a new program called Lindt Chocolate RSVP, which pairs the company’s premium chocolates with home entertaining. When you host a party, a Lindt Chocolate RSVP consultant will come to your home, help facilitate a tasting (and chocolate sales, from which you’ll benefit with free and discounted products). The RSVP program offers three options: a wine and chocolate tasting, brownie baking, and a chocolate and fruit fondue dipping party.

Recently Connecticut Cottages & Gardens held a wine and chocolate tasting in the home of interior designer Philip Gorrivan. Philip and his wife, Lisa, graciously invited guests to see what Lindt’s new program is all about. We decided to indulge our senses by tasting six chocolates instead of the usual three, and paired them with very special wines that I selected.

Czaja was our special guest, arriving in classic garb, her toque jauntily set to the side, and her arms filled with mouthwatering chocolates. (She would not attend a typical party; instead a Lindt Chocolate RSVP consultant would attend and advise on wine selection beforehand. Find out more at

Our tasting commenced with a five-senses demonstration and a taste of Lindt’s Excellence White Coconut Bar, which has flakes of coconut and is brightly flavored and textured. As an unusual pairing, we drank the newly launched Moet Ice Imperial, the first Champagne blended expressly to be served over ice. It’s a demi-sec style with a soft effervescence and balanced grapefruit flavor, which matched well against the Coconut Bar’s cocoa butter and tropical notes. A collective “mmmmmm” rose from the crowd during this tasting, as several guests confided that the coconut and chocolate combination was a guilty pleasure.

Next we paired Lindt’s Excellence Extra Creamy Milk Bar, featuring dairy milk and lovely caramel flavors, with a wine called Fynbos, an interesting Chenin Blanc from South Africa in the Xavier Flouret portfolio. The wine has dried peach and apricot aromas with a vivid acidity and minerality that worked nicely with the creaminess of the milk chocolate. The verdict: Surprisingly good.

We moved on to what might be a legendary pairing: A Touch of Sea Salt Bar with Block E Dessert Wine from Macari Vineyards of Long Island. The sweet wine worked brilliantly with the saltiness of the bar, which is 47 percent dark chocolate and contains fleur de sel French salt. Proclaimed guest Annie Kelly: “This is incredible. I am loving this!”

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