If you’ve ever bitten into a chocolate-dipped strawberry or enjoyed munching on a handful of potato chips while you partake in a bar of chocolate, you know the joys of pairing chocolate with other flavours.
Artisanal chocolate makers are masters at pairing chocolate varieties with new and intriguing ingredients. This creates unique flavour profiles that bring out the exquisite aspects of each item. But it’s not just guesswork. Matching the right kind of chocolate with a complimentary taste takes a lot of practice and a bit of educated experimentation.
If you are feeling adventurous and looking for new ways to experience the joys of chocolate, read on for some inspiring ideas for chocolate pairing.
Pairing wine and chocolate is not a new concept, but it is an art form. Because both cacao and wine can be very intensely flavoured, it’s possible they can overpower one another, taking away the best parts of both.
If you don’t match the sweetness of the chocolate with sweet enough wine, your beverage will end up leaving a sour taste in your mouth. Here are the general rules for you to experiment with:
- Pair white wines with milk or white chocolate
- Pair red wine or dessert wine with darker chocolate
Cacao and coffee beans have a lot in common. Different regions produce vastly different tastes, but pair them right, and you can enjoy a side of both you never knew existed!
Again, it’s about balance. It’s better to use black coffee, as milk and sugar can take away from some of those distinctive aspects.
Darker chocolate goes really well with bolder coffees like a Sumatran or Italian roast, while milk chocolate is enhanced by a medium roast such as Colombia or Kona coffee. Try white chocolate with a light roast like Costa Rican or Yemeni.
The aromatic nature of tea can totally alter the taste of your chocolate. Take a bite of chocolate, let it melt a little, then take a sip of tea and let the flavours mingle in your mouth. Don’t be afraid to experiment with herbal teas for something different.
This may not seem like such an obvious mix, but pairing the right cheese with chocolate can be delightful. Match like with like, pairing creamier, lighter cheeses with smooth, light chocolate. Stronger, more pungent cheeses go well with dark chocolate, but only use a crumb, or you will overpower the cocoa completely.
There’s just something so satisfying about eating something sweet and salty at the same time. Just look at the popularity of salted caramel, or chocolate-covered pretzels! Almost any kind of salted snack is delicious when eaten with chocolate. One of the more bizarre, yet hugely popular combos is crispy cooked bacon coated in chocolate.
While there’s nothing wrong with enjoying chocolate all on its own, there’s a whole wide world of flavour subtleties to enjoy when you start experimenting with chocolate pairing. Whether you leave it to your artisanal chocolate makers to come up with new combos, or start trying at home, let your imagination run wild and spoil your tastebuds — you may just find your new favourite taste sensation!
Here at The Chocolate Tour we specialise in taste sensations. In fact, we deliver new taste sensations to your door each and every month (or quarter). Head on over to the store and check out our chocolate boxes and more advice on chocolate pairing.