Chocolate Pavlova #SundaySupper

With its crisp shell and marshmallow interior, this Chocolate Pavlova with mascarpone cream and sweet ripe strawberries will thrill whoever gets a slice! Thanks to Gallo Family Vineyards for sponsoring this post. See details below.

Chocolate Pavlova | A chocolate meringue topped with mascarpone cream and luscious strawberries My First Pavlova

Sometimes the best recipes come from a place in the heart. I’ve been reflecting on how my mom inspired me. It was more by example than anything. She put her family first. She filled our home with art and music. I loved falling to sleep with the echoes of Bach rising through the rafters. Her love of food and a beautiful plate was a huge influence as well. Our dining room table always had a beautiful tablecloth and a hodgepodge of candles which were lit even for a weeknight dinner. Milk went into a pitcher and she made sure our meal was colorful. You’d never see white cauliflower served with pale mashed potatoes and a gray slice of pork loin. She remained an artist in all aspects of her life. She made us pavlova before I ever knew the culinary term. It was a large meringue covered with lemon curd and whipped topping. There was always a second pavlova hidden away in the deep freeze. My three sisters and I were never scolded for helping ourselves to the spare. 

Mom in the kitchen

The Melding of Families

In a way, Bill and I were raised in similar households–strong Catholic families, siblings, loving parents with over 100 years of marriage between the two couples, and Midwest values. But when it came to food, we were night and day. At the hubby’s childhood home, it was always meat and potatoes, and pizza was a snack, not a meal. His dad liked ordinary vegetables: peas, corn, green beans and carrots. My dad would eat nearly anything (but had nightmares about his mom’s oxtail soup), and my mom loved experimenting with ethnic dishes like baklava, moussaka, paella, matzo ball soup, profiteroles and eggrolls.  But there was one dessert where our worlds intersected: meringues. It took me a while to decipher his memories of “sham-tortes,” which ended up being plain ol’ meringues. And then you have my mom’s lemon on a cloud creation.

Chocolate Pavlova | A chocolate meringue topped with mascarpone cream and luscious strawberries

Fast Forward

The first pavlova I ever made was chocolate. I added some cocoa powder and semisweet chocolate to the meringue, then topped the crispy shell with a heavenly cloud of whipped cream and loads of ripe red raspberries. The family was instantly smitten. The recipe morphed. Any kind of berries were fair game. And then I added some mascarpone to the cream topping. It was now even more swoon-worthy. When I hit the market this week, the raspberries were sad and pale, but the strawberries were luscious and fragrant. A strawberry pavlova would be on our menu.

Tips for a Perfect Pavlova

  • Your egg whites must be at room temperature for the best volume.
  • Your bowl and beaters must be scrupulously clean. Any speck of oil will prevent the whites from beating properly.
  • In the same vein, there must be no egg yolk in the whites. The fat in the egg yolk will also prevent the whites from beating properly.
  • Use superfine sugar to help the sugar dissolve into the whites. You can make your own by whizzing regular, granulated sugar in a food processor.
  • Do not overbeat your egg whites (they should never look dry) or your pavlova will crack.
  • After the hour of baking, turn off oven, open the door, and let the meringue cool off in the oven.

Chocolate Pavlova (7)

Wine Pairings

A delectable dessert needs to be accompanied by a lovely glass of wine. Today I’m featuring two of Gallo Family Vineyards’ popular vintages, Chardonnay and Merlot.

Their fabulous Chardonnay is medium bodied with a touch of citrus and vanilla and a hint of oak. It’s perfect with seafood, poultry and cream sauces. I love it paired with salmon.

Gallo’s velvety Merlot has nuances of black cherry and plum along with some subtle oak undertones. It is ideal with grilled meats, pork, poultry and even pastas smothered in tomato sauce. I am a fan of Merlot paired with chocolate. It’s excellent to sip on with a decadent dessert!

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To find where to purchase Gallo’s wines near you, check out their handy dandy store locator.

More Splendid Recipes and Wine Pairings

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Chocolate Pavlova #SundaySupper
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
A large cocoa meringue topped with whipped mascarpone cream and sliced ripe strawberries
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 8-10 servings
  • 6 egg whites, at room temperature
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1½ cups superfine sugar (I whiz granulated sugar in the food processor for a minute or so)
  • ¼ cup good quality cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon raspberry or balsamic vinegar (I used black currant balsamic vinegar)
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1½ cups heavy cream
  • ½ cup Mascarpone cream
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 cups sliced strawberries, gently tossed with a tablespoon of sugar
  1. Preheat the oven to 350º. Line baking sheet with parchment. Draw a 9-inch circle on parchment, the flip the paper over. Set aside.
  2. Beat the egg whites till soft peaks form. Add salt, then slowly add the sugar, while continuing to beat, until meringue is stiff and glossy. Sift cocoa powder over the meringue, then add vinegar, vanilla and chopped chocolate. Fold well till combined.
  3. Pile the meringue onto the baking sheet, keeping within the 9-inch circle. Smooth top and edges with an offset spatula. Place in oven and immediately decrease temperature to 300º. Bake for 1-1¼ hours till dry on edges and top. Pavlova will appear cracked. Turn off oven, open oven door, and allow to cool completely.
  4. To serve, carefully flip onto serving plate. Whip cream with powdered sugar, vanilla. Fold in mascarpone. Top pavlova with whipped cream, then sliced strawberries.

Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Disclosure: Compensation was provided by Gallo Family Vineyards via Sunday Supper, LLC. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Gallo Family Vineyards.Chocolate Pavlova | A chocolate meringue topped with mascarpone cream and luscious strawberries


  1. Lynn@Happier Than A Pig In Mud says:

    Very pretty! And the berries do look great too-enjoy:@)

  2. What a fabulous dessert and sweet story to go along with it.

  3. What lovely tribute to your mom and families!
    What lovely your mom.
    My mom cooked amazing (not now because she has problems in her legs)
    But I cook for her and she love it.
    She adore Pavlova!
    I will see your recipe.Have a nice sunday dear lizzy:))

  4. This looks SO heavenly, Liz! I love the stories behind it as well. My husband and I were also raised so differently in terms of food as kids. It always makes me laugh 🙂

  5. Diana @DandelionGreensBlog says:

    What a beautiful story of growing up… makes me want to take up the piano again! And a lovely dessert recipe. Thanks for sharing such wonderful memories of your mom.

  6. This is my definition of a perfect dessert. (And you’ve posted it when I’ve given up sweets for Lent – oh, no!) “Smitten” is the way I feel about pavlovas, too.
    The tribute to your mother is wonderful. We are all a product of our parents, and it sounds like you – creative, inspiring, talented – are very much your mother’s daughter.

  7. What an amazing woman! No wonder she raised such a wonderful and talented daughter. Love this delicious recipe!

  8. What a wonderful story and your dessert looks out of this world! It’s just gorgeous!

  9. What a beautiful dessert, Liz! I feel like a broken record saying that, but it’s true! You make the most beautiful things. Thanks for the great tips on making the pavlova. I look forward to giving it a go!

  10. Thank you for sharing memories of your sweet Mom with us…she sounds like she was an amazing woman! Love that you can make pavlova and remember sweet memories of her!!

  11. This is a beautiful pavlova!!
    I always have tons of whites in the freezer, and I think it’s about time I made pavlova.
    If the recipe is flour less, it will be great for Passover

  12. This looks so amazing! I am going to take it to my mom’s retirement reception next week. Of course, I’ll have to get some Gallo wine since you happened to mention it! Great recipe!

  13. Lizzy, I love your stories. What a great theme for this Sunday’s Supper. Your pavlova is beautiful! I have not had much luck with meringue. I tried making meringues once and the experience was so awful I never attempted it again. I should probably get over that, because I know I’m missing out on some great desserts! Well, I concurred my fear of baking with yeast, so I think I will try again.

    Thank you for sharing this special recipe with us. Wishing you a very lovely weekend.


  14. Pavlova is one of my favorite desserts! I have yet to try a chocolate version, yours looks absolutely stunning and I can’t wait to try it!

  15. What a great story and I can read the love you have in your heart for your mom! This dessert is beautiful and I said it once before today, I’d any dessert you make! xo

  16. Hi Liz, love the stories about your family, your mother sounds like she really enjoyed raising her family. Beautiful dessert, your berries are gorgeous!

  17. The prettiest pavlova! I adore the mascarpone and strawberry topping!

  18. Hugs to you, my friend. And that’s it, I must make pavlova! Maybe for Easter!

  19. This post, this pavlova is filled with so much heart, Liz…It must have been a challenge writing this piece. But it is beautiful like your artistic, gourmet mother and you!

  20. I really enjoyed reading the story of your mamam. It is true that is fortunate to have had a mother loves cooking and the details of a pretty table.
    I try to do once Pavola and I’m not successful. It’s a dessert so pretty that I would love to do once ! yours looks gorgeous, I’m sure it was very good !

  21. I have often admired pavlovas, and eaten them once or twice, but now of course I must make one myself! Love your tribute to your mom.

  22. It’s beautiful & looks amazing!

  23. I haven’t made a pavlova since high school!

  24. Such an elegant way to end the day.

  25. I know your mom was an amazing woman, cook and baker. You’ve taken after her well. Your chocolate pavlova looks incredible!

  26. Pavlova always reminds me of a girl I became friends with one summer. She was married to a guy that worked with my then husband, and was from England. She taught me my love for red wine and most of all pavlova. I have never made one myself, but after seeing yours I really really want to!!

  27. One of my favorite desserts! Lovely!

  28. so fun to read about yours and your hubby’s culinary upbringings! Mine was more like his-not surprisingly. However, no pavlova for poor Kayle. I’ll need to rectify that because it looks AMAZING

  29. What a sweet story about your mom! 🙂 I’ve never had a chocolate pavlova, but this one looks fabulous with those beautiful strawberries on top. 🙂

  30. I loved this post, Liz. Great story, great photos, great recipe! xox

  31. Another show stopper! Mark and I grew up similarly but our mothers each had their own style and so we didn’t eat a lot of the same foods, except for those Lenten Wednesdays and Fridays…to this day we both decline tuna and fishsticks as both our families thought those were true Lenten sacrifice meals…and I guess they were…lol! 🙂

  32. I’ve been thinking of you Liz! Thank you for sharing your memories, and this pavlova looks wonderful!

  33. What a gorgeous pavlova! Simply perfect.

  34. What a beautiful pavlova! Gorgeous!

  35. Thank you for sharing your precious family memories along with this beautiful dessert. Love the wine pairings also!

  36. What a fun story about your mom and the likes and differences between yours and Bill’s families. Once you two got married, I bet Bill had to learn how to eat all over again. 🙂 Pavlova is something that has always interested me. It’s such a curious treat being that it’s a meringue but is so much more. Your first one turned out beautiful and I would love to have it gracing my table right now. Of course I would have the only fork. 🙂

  37. Beautiful dessert. Anything with strawberries is my favorite!

  38. Oh my gosh, oxtail soup! My mom used to make it all the time (I’m from the mid-west too) This dessert is beautiful!

  39. What a beautiful tribute to your mom! Ok, I have always be intimidated but you are inspiring me to try to make pavlova now! I love this!

  40. Liz,pavlova looks yummy.happy new year

  41. This looks lovely! And I love to hear your family history! So intriguing!

  42. Ok, that’s it. I NEED to try a pavlova this year!

  43. I agree — the best recipes come from the heart! Thank you for sharing this delightful treat with all of us!


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