Easter eggs or chocolate eggs? I’m not about to get involved in that absurd dispute. I’ll leave that to our politicians, who clearly don’t have anything more pressing to worry about. I’m more concerned about what to drink with them on Sunday.
Of course a lot depends on the type of chocolate the eggs are made from. Sweet creamy white chocolate is a very different beast from the bitter high-cocoa content dark stuff, while milk sits somewhere between the two.
So let’s start at the pale end of the spectrum. The sweetness, lightness and vanilla flavour are the main elements here, which means something sweet, light and floral – hard to think of a wine that matches that description better than Moscato d’Asti, the ebullient gently foamy, super-low alcohol white from Piedmont that is like spring in a glass. The Wine Society was showing a beautiful example at their press tasting earlier this week: Elio Perrone Moscato d’Asti 2016 is full of blossomy, grapey-peachey new-vintage charm (£8.50).
For milk chocolate, where bitterness begins to make itself felt but where the emphasis is on soft mouth-coating mellow creaminess, I tend to look for sweet whites with a bit of luscious presence. The Gang’s in-house chocolate and wine (well, any food and wine really) expert Joanna Simon suggests Tokaji is “almost failsafe” – provided you have enough sweetness (5 to 6 puttonyos on the Hungarian wine’s famous scale). And personal experience suggests a brilliantly tangy example such as Royal Tokaji Aszú 5 Puttonyos 2009, which you can get in a mini 25cl bottle from Waitrose for £12.99, works at both complementing and cleansing a mouthful of milk chocolate. (For a little more generously proportioned 50cl bottle try the thewinesociety.com, £23.50, or slurp.co.uk, £24.95).
Another style with the requisite sweetness, and which, in the best examples, creates a kind of upmarket Cadbury’s Fruit 'n' Nut experience in the mouth with milk chocolate, is PX sherry. Marks & Sparks has a very good example; the retailer’s Rare Pedro Ximenez is dark, syrupy, with flavours of molasses, fruit cake, even chocolate (£9).
Once things get darker and the cocoa content goes up you’re dealing with drier textures and more bitterness. That means the tannin of red wine, but, given that there’s still sugar involved, it still means sweetness. Port, either a vibrant Late Bottled Vintage such as the Taylor’s-made M&S LBV 2011 (£14) or, if you’re feeling flush, the bold and intensely satisfying Graham’s Quinta dos Malvedos Single Quinta Vintage Port 2004 (around £32 at Oddbins, Tanners and many other merchants on wine-searcher.com), is one possibility. A bright and youthful fortified sweet red from the Roussillon, such as Mas Amiel Vintage Maury 2013 (Lea & Sandeman), is a slightly lighter, crunchier, spicier alternative.