Healthy chocolate and wine pairings

January 22, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
We've all heard about the benefits to our heart that red wine and chocolate might provide. Dr. Nick Proia, a practicing pulmonologist, has actually created a line of chocolate formulated to be ideally paired with wine.

Featured in this segment:

Brix Extra Dark (70%) is specifically formulated to pair with the deepest red wines. Having a very high cocoa content, this Brix blend can stand up to the massive tannins found in these wines. While the label suggests Barolo, Cabernet and Bordeaux, Very Dark goes well with the heavier, peppery Zinfandels and Syrahs as well.

Brix Dark Chocolate (60%) is the most versatile of the Brix blends. While its cocoa content is high, it remains sedate enough to enhance the fruit forward wines it was designed to accompany. While its suggested pairings are on the label, it easily stretches upward to the lighter cabs and downward to the heavier pinots.

Brix Milk Chocolate is a chocolate designed for the lighter reds and dessert wines. The addition of high quality milk chocolate to the single origin Ghanaian product results in a milk chocolate like no other, both creamy and spicy.

Price: $12.95 retail.
Availability: Cost Plus World Market and online at

About Brix Chocolate
Brix is the first line of chocolates specifically blended to compliment wine. It is sold in eight-ounce bricks, meant to be fractured like a hard cheese.

About Dr. Nick Proia, Brix Chocolate Founder Dr. Nick Proia is a practicing pulmonologist in the state of Ohio where he is an internist with a sub-specialty in pulmonary diseases and critical care medicine. He is also a professor of Medicine at Northeastern Ohio University College of Medicine, where he completed his residency. He has been practicing medicine for over 25 years. It was during his medical school exchange at the University Di Catania in Catania, Sicily that Dr. Proia first discovered the pleasures and enjoyment of drinking wine. It was as part of a monthly tasting club where fellow friends and physicians gathered bringing a few great bottles of wine and cheese when Dr. Proia realized the irony of a lung doctor eating these fat-laden cheeses after dinner, while trying to benefit from the healthy effects of wine. While the battle of the blood vessels raged on, wine vs. cheese, Dr. Proia decided to try pairing dark chocolate with wine. Beginning first with single origin chocolates which proved too bitter or so complex that they overwhelmed the qualities of a fine wine; and then trying confectionary chocolate that was too sweet or too creamy that it masked the wines characteristics, Dr. Proia decided to create his own blend of chocolate that would pair well with wine and offer heart healthy benefits. After a series of endless tasting trials on both chocolate quality and wine pairing characteristics, he created three blends of Brix Chocolate. Despite the success of his new line of chocolates Dr. Proia keeps his day job, and continues to practice medicine and teach at the University Level. He lives in Ohio with his wife and two daughters, and still tastes wines with his colleagues once a month. Only now he enjoys chocolate and not cheese with his wine. Sadly, he does not prescribe chocolate for his patients.